LOVE it or hate it, the Tube in London is… well, it’s the Tube! And having just spent over a week away, I couldn’t wait to come back to my everyday intimate relationship with it.
Living in the UK, I have come to learn a lot about this new‘man’ in my life.
I spend lots of time with him. Together we discover new things every day. And he keeps me nice and warm. Yes, I am still talking about the Tube…
Every morning it’s a race to get on the Tube and just like a rugby union scrum, I find myself pushing and shoving with unbridled abandon, just to make sure that the doors don’t close on me. And while each morning I narrowly avoid loosing an arm, a leg or as us girls know too well, a ponytail or a handbag… (oh the embarrassment!), I’m not fooled – I know I am definitely not the next Wallabies star.
In my head I hear the voices telling me to squeeze in or push that guy just a little bit more so I don’t get stuck but as I have a quick look around… no seats… DAMN! Ok, Plan B – duck under her arm and squish yourself in that gap, face the door and get your balance. Being so small – almost five foot tall – on a good day this plan mostly works in my favour (just remember to make sure you find your space and REMEMBER to breathe). However, it doesn’t take long for the deafening silence of the Tube to set in.
It’s almost taboo to talk to anyone on the Tube and sometimes it can feel awkward even coughing or clearing your throat because that is a form of noise coming from a human (I don’t even want to imagine the shame if you had an empty stomach!).
I try to smile at people that I lock eyes with; and they look at me like I’m crazy or on day release from the local mental institution. But why is it so awkward? Would it be so awkward if I was at the local Walkabout and smiled at the same person there?
Basically, the rules are – DON’T even think about eye contact. It’s like a game of ping pong but instead it’s your eyes that do the bouncing when someone catches you staring. You look down, they look down, then you look up and oh… there it is again, eye contact! Quick, look down again, and it goes on and on until finally it’s your stop and you rush off probably never to see that person again. So again, why was it so awkward?
Yes, I know – the Tube can make me feel insecure, so why do I choose to take it every day? Is it that I secretly like the hecticness of that peak hour rush? I’ll leave you to ponder this very question the next time you’re on the Tube… (Maybe you’re on the Tube right now. I dare you to make eye contact. Go on, do it!)