There were tube strikes in London for two days of this week. I completely rely on the tube to get from my flat in West London to my office in King’s Cross, North London, so I knew it was going to get tricky. I was prepared for that. And I’m well aware that coping with slightly-inconvenient-public-transport is definitely up there on the list of First World Problems, so I’m not after sympathy for what followed 😉
I’ve gotta acknowledge that it was a bit of a ball-ache for many people. But one upside of a longer commute is that you get extra headspace from all that standing around
wanting to maim people waiting patiently. And I like me some extra headspace, because I can get all self-indulgently introspective a la Angela Chase.
- Sometimes, your plan just sucks. I attempted to use the London Overground (which was still running) on day one. And I couldn’t get onto a train despite heading to the station early: it was like a mosh pit. So I had to wait for a bus, along with ten million other people. And when I finally got on a bus, it took almost an hour for a journey that usually takes 20 minutes. Coulda been worse, coulda been better.
- Being real with yourself and your freaky little neuroses ain’t a bad thing. I work in the rail industry but I really, truly hate a crowded train. I get anxious and tense and I arrive at work a bit wrung out on days that my line’s been busier than usual. If it didn’t take so much longer I would bus from home to work. Oh how I love the London bus! The seating arrangement is designed for people like me who need a protective personal bubble. If you get a window seat it’s very rare that anyone’s going to get all up in your face, unlike the tube where it’s rare if that doesn’t happen. Anyhoo, I digress. On strike day I was actually quite relieved that I ended up having to bus for one leg of the journey, despite it being super-slow. I got a seat. I admired the view over Hyde Park and was able to ignore how packed the bus was. I realised I should have just gotten up extra early to catch the damn bus in the first place.
- Sometimes the things you don’t plan are better. I hadn’t planned on the 4km walk from the bus stop on Bond Street to King’s Cross. It was a beautiful morning and it was a really nice walk. And I was wearing flat boots! #win
- Exploring is fun. I’ve lived in London for 4 years and had never wandered the back streets of Fitzrovia. I liked the area. I saw some cute cafes. I want to go back and check them out. Once I’d realised I was already hella late I slowed down the pace and enjoy ed my morning walk. I noticed other Londoners moving around me in 2 modes: Sweaty Panicked Jog or the Laidback Stroll of someone who’s decided not to get stressed. Screw stress.
- A change in routine can be a good thing. I was prepared for day two of the strikes. I got up stupidly early and was at work by 8am. Funnily enough I had a really productive day at work and an even more productive evening working on a few projects at home. Probably because I got home earlier than usual and was feeling good about myself for having a productive day at work.
So that’s how I felt about the first wave of tube-strikes: they were inconvenient but I enjoyed the extra headspace and the change in routine.