Tuesday evening didn’t start in the best way. I left work at 17:50, determined to make it the 15 minutes across London and still make my 18:10 departure. Navigating my way past a few protesters on their way to/from Moorgate (from the Finsbury Square protest), I made it on to the platform to see the next Tube was 3 minutes away. Resigned to the fact that I’d be half an hour late home, I relaxed and tuned into my iPod.
When the train arrived (4 minutes later) I duly got on and fixed myself near the rear doors in order to be first off at Kings Cross. Little did I know, that the driver had other ideas. To explain, Barbican and Farringdon are short platforms. This means that the Metropolitan Line trains leave their rear doors closed. This is not the case at Kings Cross.
Bags, laptop cases and several commuters went flying through the carriage as we headed to the second to last set of doors, all anxious to get off the train before the hoards of passengers tried to get on. I powered off the train and up the stairs as fast as, well, the man in front would allow.
I made it on to the concourse, running as fast as I could to the platform where the train was waiting to leave. The best part of being a seasoned commuter is the ability to see oncoming traffic (tourists) and gracefully avoid them. I can only assume that the young child holding on to his mother’s hand had less faith in my ability than I did. I ran, coat flowing behind me, heading for the gap developing between him and the person to his right. As he saw me approach, he jumped to his mother’s side and promptly screamed. I swiftly turned, apologised to both him and his mother and arrived on the platform with less than 3 minutes to spare.
My usual 12 carriage train is a packed commuter service. Tonight, it was an 8 carriage cattle truck. It never ceases to amaze me that they will allow people to travel in conditions deemed unsuitable for animals. Especially, as most of us pay in excess of £4000 a year for the privilege. To say I feel let down by the entire railway network at the moment, is an understatement.
I ran to the front of the train and spied a 3 man gap down the middle of the carriage. Squeezing myself on to the train, I promptly instructed the man in front to shout at the people in the carriage to move down. As I expected everyone ignored him. Eventually two of the gentleman around me explained to those further down the carriage that if the guy in front wasn’t listening, a tap on the shoulder should make him aware of you, then you can request that he move. Give or take 5 minutes into our trip, the people in question moved, allowing us all a little more room.
The journey was painful but the entertainment from the passengers around me was brilliant. Soon many of my fellow commuters got off and I made a bee-line for a seat for the last part of my journey. It’s at this point that I realised how much I actually enjoy commuting. I’d made a new friend with one of the men who’d been stood next to me. We spent the remainder of the journey discussing Chelsea, Liverpool, Cheltenham Town and St Neots Town before I started demonstrating Twitter to him on my phone.
As it was Tuesday I decided it was time for another trip dancing. Yet again, I decided to wear a football shirt. My reason being that they allow ease of movement, are very comfy for classes and it’s what I want to wear. As they were at home to Crewe, it had to be Cheltenham Town this week (match report).
To say that the dancing men of St Neots have no clue on football, would be an understatement. One looked at me as if I’d verbally abused him and another just stared. The women looked just as confused.
It’s times like this that highlight just how society perceives us. A man could turn up to anything (which didn’t have a dress code) in a football shirt and trousers and be greeted in a normal manner. A woman turning up in a football shirt, to anything other than football, however, causes people to stare, whisper (with some pointing) and then to be approached with caution. Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t offend or bother me and I’m not about to jump on some sexist bandwagon, but I am finding people’s approaches to me somewhat confusing.
In another way, this may be an understandable reason why I don’t tend to get approached by member’s of the opposite sex. I guess I need to be on the look out for a guy who has no concerns on being around someone who goes through her days reluctant to be bothered on other people’s views on her life. Not to say that I don’t get bothered by people’s opinions, comments or actions towards me. I’ve not perfected the ‘water off a ducks back’ attitude yet, but I won’t conform with society just to appease those around me.
I’ll dress the way I want and live my life to make me, my friends and family happy. Most of all… I won’t apologise for it.