A Typical London Morning Commute

That’s me in the back row, third from the left, getting ready to head into the office. Press releases won’t edit themselves, you know.

I’m an idiot.

In reality the morning commute looks like this:

I spent like 10 minutes drawing that picture, so you better enjoy it. Notice how I put dirt marks on the carriage and added little green stench waves. Realism.

In the summer it’s so hot you sometimes worry about suffocating when you get stuck in a tunnel for half an hour with no air conditioning, no air flow, and you are squashed in the middle of the carriage as the above picture illustrates.

If you are lucky enough to get a seat you won’t have to stand in anyone’s armpit, but you’ll still have to smell the fumes of nail polish as the girl next to you decides a busy tube is the right time to paint her nails. You’ll still have to breathe in the cough of the guy next to you, and watch as spittle flies out of his mouth and lands on your coat because he was too busy reading his Metro to cover his mouth. 

Even if you are lucky enough to get a seat, by the end of the commute you probably won’t still have that seat because all the people sitting in the disabled/pregnant lady seats refuse to give up their seat for people who are actually pregnant or disabled, so you will give up your seat to the 8-month pregnant lady or the elderly man who can hardly stand and has had to walk to the end of the carriage before anyone would kindly offer a seat.

Before you get on the train you might get punched in the head so hard you have a headache for two hours. The commuter may or may not notice he’s hit you as hard as he can in his rush to get to work.

This isn’t even taking into account the insane people who sometimes find their way into the London Underground. We’re talking about the people who growl like a tiger and stare at random people, the people who stare at £10 notes and continually punch themselves in the face, the people who sit there and cackle at nothing, the people who light up a cig and start cussing to no one.

I’m making the work commute sound bad. You don’t always sit by people like these. I like to think of these people as wild cards. There’s four in a deck, so you’re bound to draw one every few cards.

The worst time was when I saw a woman who looked like that fat zombie in the wheelbarrow in Dawn of the Dead:

Seriously. I’m not lying. She was that scary, and I was worried she’d turn into a zombie at any moment. She kept growling,  had cuts and scabs all over her body and had no clue what was going on.

As long as you avoid rush hour or traveling in Central London on the weekend, you’ll be fine.

Don’t let this scare you out of coming to visit me. Please visit me. I like visitors.



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6 responses to “A Typical London Morning Commute

  1. I for one really enjoyed that drawing so I commend you for all the little touches. I love your drawings on Paint (Is it paint?) because while everyone I know uses photoshop and while I use it at work, I stick to plain old Paint for when I want to illustrate a point in photographs. It’s so much more charming.

    Your commute sounds…interesting. I won’t say awful because I think all commutes with public transportation suck at times. Have you ever been to NYC and used the subways? I’m always the unfortunate person who ends up with the homeless man in a wheelchair rolling down the cart and onto me as the subway moves in a direction that surprises him. My boyfriend loves telling this to people.

    I actually once witnessed a man jump in front of an oncoming subway in the city. It was pretty traumatizing and depressing, especially since they tried to brush it off and say all the delays were due to construction. Oh, New York.

    • Oh crap. Yeah I should have put that in my blog. They tell us it’s delayed due to “A person under the train.” I think they think people are less likely to freak out if they think someone has died. That, or a lot of people really do kill themselves. I can imagine that would be difficult to forget.

  2. Kim Pugliano

    I am TOTALLY laughing out loud right now. Awesome post. And to think I was looking forward to visiting one day! Places like the metro are have a plethora of writing material just staring at you day in and day out, doesn’t it? Good times. Stay safe my friend. And start taking pictures. That would be great. Or as Hot Joe would say, “HIT RECORD!!”

  3. Great blog, and picture, thank you.

    I used to commute to London for college, I managed three years then moved to Hackney for the fourth year. At first, when I began commuting (I was 16 and had never been to London, my biggest and very real fear was how I was going to manage to jump on a moving bus. I had only seen them in movies where people leapt on and off without the bus ever stopping – I practised athletics for weeks before going. The relief was enormous when the bus, wait for it, STOPPED for me! After that, the huge and daunting underground was a breeze), I used to wonder why all the commuters looked so miserable when they were so lucky to be out in the world every day, travelling to ‘London Baby’. I was determined never to join the grey group who hated up to four hours of every work day, so I took pleasure in noticing the little things; the people, the nutters, the mice in the tunnels, the funny handbags stuck outside the carriage doors, the ticket evaders being caught, the fury when a chocolate vending machine refuses to give out the chocs, etc. I have many, many tales of the underground. Of friends I made, of flashers and drunks, of mad americans and insane old people. During the time I was commuting, 1995 – 2000, the IRA were bombing London and sometimes I would be stuck on a packed, hot underground, slowly suffocating for hours. It could be hell.

  4. Very true post. and this wonderful voice announcing all sort of troubles that are happenning in all London underground lines. Nowhere in the world, I think, it is announced that “all lines have a good service”.

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