This morning – like every morning between Monday and Friday – it was rush hour for the humans of London. Rush hour: the hour when there is a rush, when humans must get to their jobs to work and for some reason must go pretty much exactly the same way, very fast (they’re in a rush you know). Man, it’s frustrating, that hour of rush.
I used to pity these humans crammed into little metal boxes, hurtling towards what was set to be an altogether disappointing and substandard day. Before employment, I could set off whenever, heck, maybe 11.28am….??!?!!?! Sure, I hadn’t any money to go anywhere but if I had, my journey would have assuredly been a blast, or pleasant…
or at least during that journey I wouldn’t have been susceptible to deep burning rage for fellow passengers and inanimate objects, like doors, stairs and bags … or at least during that journey it was unlikely that a total stranger would sigh at me like I had just ruined their day by being me.
That’s the thing that’s terrible about rush hour: the hatred. The unfounded, unsupported hatred that one must endure and one must feel.
Everyone in rush hour is an idiot, except you, but anyone who makes you feel like you’re the idiot is a complete bastard.
I don’t wish to be part of it, really I don’t. I am a good person, in life I have been known to smile, to say sorry and excuse me. When travelling I even carry my rolly bag, stick to the correct side, board swiftly, alight quickly. “Be. Space. Efficient!” is my mantra.
The trouble is, the better you get at this, the less patience you have for someone whose mantra is so obviously “Be A Really Selfish Person”.
Today I realised I am all out of goodness. In this glorious sun, on this happy Friday morning, I speed to the tube’s entrance. Three humans are enjoying a conversation on the stairs, how nice for them. Are they going to move? I hope they move because it’s 9.07, so… yeah it’s seven minutes past the time we’re all supposed to be at work guys. Oh right no, they’re really enjoying their conversation and friendship and they’re not moving. Woah Julia, you’re getting tetchy just say excuse me in your most balanced tone–
“YEAH. YOU ALL NEED TO MOVE”
Hm. Not quite the plan. Well, it’s had the desired effect.
“I have a boyfriend! Oh wait, no. No. That’s a fridge. I have a fridge.”
Boss (on phone to me): Have you finished your report?
Me (now flustered): Um yes, um yeah no I sent it to you, about half an hour ago?
Boss: well, my emails not working (I feel like he thinks this is my fault, wait, is it my fault?) I’ll come up and read it at your desk.
Me: Right okay great thanks yes right. Okay. (Yeah, he hung up ages ago)
Boss (at my desk): Hi.
Me: Hi, sit down, would you like-
Boss: No. Just let me sit down.
Me: Right yes, okay, right.
We sit awkwardly close to each other. In silence.
***EMAIL POP UP MESSAGE***
Oh who’s that fro— Wha-aat…. Nooo-
**”POOLIA YOUR BLOG’S WELL LOL”**
Is there ANY way he didn’t see– oh, yup, he’s seen it. He knows. He’s registered it all:
I have a blog
I hang out with people that say “well lol”
My nickname is POOLIA
BASTARDLY BOLLOCKY BAAAAALLS!!
1. My middle toe got INFECTED.
2. I let my toe get so infected I could no longer wear SHOES
3. I let my mum take me to A&E over my infected TOE
4. My mum explained to the nurse about the infected toe FOR ME
5. I gave my mum evils as she spoke because I felt SHE was taking away my DIGNITY as an ADULT HUMAN for I wanted to tell the nurse MYSELF about MY TOE.
Boss: Yep so we’ll be working on this project together; I’ll need about a week of your time. I think it’s going to be quite an interesting case, I did some scoping around on the guy yesterday and found out he’s linked to Manzano so..
Me: Really? Right, yeah, wow… gosh.
Boss: Mm. You know who Manzano is?
Me: ……….. No. No I don’t.
Boss: Okay, because you just really pretended like you did.
Me: ………Right yeah no, I did. I did do that.
BASTARDLY BOLLOCKY BAAAAAALLS!
I am relatively normal. I can hold a conversation with strangers, I have friends, I understand social boundaries.
But with the advent of a socially connected world even the most normal of persons transforms into an ugly werewolf at the sight of a wi-fi symbol. I MUST CHECK FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GMAIL, WHATSAPP!!!
Why are we so consumed with our online reputations that we forgot how to behave in real life? And, the sphere where it really takes a turn for the worse is…the realm of romance.
In the rose-tinted olden days we would have spoken a few sentences to our boy-school-crushes under the eaves of church on a Sunday then spent a tormenting seven days until the following Sunday waiting to speak another few sentences. After this dizzying encounter had occurred at least three times our parents would have arranged a marriage and we’d be walking down the aisle.
Today, you give your number to someone who grinded up behind you while Au Seve played on a depressing dance floor reeking of stale sweat, MDMA and forgotten dreams. On the night bus home there will undoubtedly be some flirtatious dalliance and the promise of a post-work negroni.
And then…….the wait.
The excruciating wait. Not because you actually like them or care but because you can see when they were last online, read your hilarious Facebook message, last checked whatsapp. Forget waterboarding, social media is the modern day communicative torture. Our technological Guantanamo.
Our generation dictates that we have to paint a self-portrait of hilarious hedonism and frivolous fun. We measure ourselves in updates. You’re worth your weight in photos. We’re always trying to outdo the person in the feed below us. But whilst we’re choosing our filters we’re forgetting to actually like people.
Does it matter the boy from Dogstar didn’t reply….NO because he can (potentially, probably doesn’t even care) see that you totally smashed it at Birthday’s this weekend thanks to your Nashville tinted Instagram. Then he’ll see how young and fun I am and totes hit me up next time he’s in Brixton.
Oh shit, he’s just been tagged at Dance Tunnel. You mustn’t reply to his next 5 messages. Where does it end?
I’m fed up with the whatsapp warfare and I’m tired of being locked in a constant battle of social media oneupmanship. I’m out. Write to me when Instagram is ohhhvaaaaahhhA.
London Bridge. Tuesday night, about midnight. I’m drunk (whatever).
I’ve also just eaten a generous three course meal but for some reason I’m still really hungry, as in, really hungry. Hmmm before I go home I must get sustenance for the ten minute tube journey or… I might faint?
However, I have a serious problem: All shops in London Bridge station are… CLOSED.
Wait, apart from that light, over there, in the distance. A kiosk!
Hello kiosk! Ah. A second problem. Money. I don’t think I have any. I root around in my pockets: receipts, old train ticket, lip balm… Oh why must there be so many obstacles?!
Wait, what’s that? A shiny one pound coin? Huzzah! Now, to peruse:
Oh yummm, no, damn that’s 59p out of budget. Oooo, no, one pound FIFTY? Wait. I see a treat for £1! I have £1! It’s like, meant to be. What is it? It’s, it’s… an Eccles cake?
An Eccles cake.
Okayyy. Slightly left field. Meh what the hell, “kind sir, I’ll take th—”
"Excuse me love you couldn’t spare a pound, could you?"
Obviously now can’t buy the Eccles cake. Obviously really want the Eccles cake though. I know, I’ll pretend I don’t want the Eccles cake. I’ll walk away, but really, I’ll go once around the block. Then I’ll come back and then I’ll buy my Eccles cake.
Yes. This is what I did.
"Excuse me love —"
Oh! Does he hang out here?!!
Once around the block again? Yes. I paced the station twice. I KNOW.
Yet I still didn’t manage to rid myself of the awkward dilemma. There he stood, waiting, knowing.
What was it to be? Ethics or Eccles (arguably two of the most important words beginning with E).
Ten minutes later, I’m staring at my sorry reflection on the tube. Drunk; alone; minus a moral compass; plus an Eccles cake.
Would I make the same decision again? Admittedly, still unsure.