Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Tube boob - dark thoughts on the Northern Line

I had to travel on a crowded Tube during the morning rush hour into central London today. My destination was Moorfields Eye Hospital in Old Street for my half-yearly glaucoma check-up. Situation stable; keep taking the drops was the verdict. The turn-round at the hospital was so swift, that it was still standing room only on the train home.
It's only just over a year since I retired but I was dismayed that I had lost my street-smart skills required in ‘surviving’ rush hour journeys in London.
I had quite forgotten where to position myself on the platform; how to shoulder-charge when the Tube doors opened; and where to stand once inside the carriage.
It remains a gamble whether you eventually get a seat with these tactics but you narrow the odds on finding some personal space. The aim is to avoid having your face thrust into the armpit of any tall straphanger. At best you get a chance to read your newspaper.
But what most appalled me was the degree to which I have rapidly been institutionalised - the journey hardened City worker mentally had become the frail pensioner. I expected some kindheart to suggest I took their seat.
Where not so long ago I would politely decline such on offer on the few occasions it occurred – usually by a foreigner from a country where age is properly respected – now I was eager to accept. None was forthcoming.
Perhaps it was just as well. While I agree that senior citizens, or whatever you want to call us, have earned the right to favourable treatment it doesn’t mean that we have to think like old farts.

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