The Insanity of the London Underground
Working in London was enough for a touch of insanity to start to set in. I was living out of a suitcase in a hotel room in north London for fifteen months. I left home on a Sunday night, as I couldn’t face Monday traffic into London and came home on Friday afternoon, after many arguments on the M25 and M1. In between, for most of the week my car would remain stationery in the hotel car park and I would be dependent on either walking or the Tube to get me around the city.
The Northern Line on a Monday morning is not the best start to the week. By the time I’d added any combination of the Bakerloo, the Hammersmith and City, the Central or the Piccadilly line and at times the Jubilee, I had the makings of a troubled mind.
Trying to survive
There was only one way to survive the torment and that was to write it down. I’d carry my notebook with me and make notes of the strangest things at the strangest times. I didn’t always write things down the minute they occurred; sometimes it was preferable to wait to be in the comfort of my hotel room to transfer the incredible events of the day.
Those who have read the book sometimes ask me, with a hint of embarrassment, did some of the events really happen. The answer to that is yes, I really was trying to wave down a cab while a couple were fulfilling their carnal needs on the pavement next to me! That and the many other stories are true, I regret to say.
There were hundreds of things to tell the world about the Tube, an alternative guide to what to expect when they travelled. Not a guide that tells you which train to catch from A to B, or what sights are near which station, but a real guide of what it’s like to use it on a day to day basis. What the grades of delay really mean. Why the map became so distorted. Which part of the platform to stand on to make it more likely to get a seat.
There were aspects in which my fiction writing may have taken over and I cannot guarantee, for example, that my rendition of the Tube’s history is in any way accurate – but it may well have been like that!
Then there are the games. I had hours to devise new games to play on the Tube…too many hours! Now I hope they can bring enjoyment to fellow sufferers, while I thankfully spend my days a long way away. No longer a commuter on the Tube, but there are some things you never forget!
If you haven’t read the book yet it is available HERE