Look, I'm from Cape Town. I've enjoyed a nice comfortable 10 metre distance on average between me and the next bergie my whole life - so this crap about morning tubes and Waterloo side-steppping all came as a bit of shock to the system first icey morning out on the job.
Working in Marlyebone for the first year of Londonism was a bitch. District line all the way from Southfields, 9 times out of 10 you never get a seat - period. So for a good 35 - 75 minutes (this is the District line people!) I was a sardine in a cruched tin box. Needless to say, after 6 months I was a jibbering wreck, I'm not too proud to say I actually cried a little in front of my sweet German manager in our weekly one on one:
GM: Zo, Mike... How iz ze verk load zis..... oh shizza...you ok...Mike...Mike... (head in hands - I can't deal with this anymore mania) umm, Mike - take ze rest of ze veek offff...
So at least something came of my vulnerablility... 3 days off and a head full of pills that put me nicely to sleep on the train - Arm pit anyone? Hmm don't mind if I do Sir zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. After waking up in some granny's lap at around Earl's Court one morning I decided maybe these things weren't so great, but lucky summer was coming around and well, London is actually all right mid year.
Anyway, this year I thought there had to be someway I could beat these waves of anxiety, and actually do something with the hour plus most people waste on the trains, either staring at eachother (then quickly looking away when caught gazing maybe a little too hard at the brunette's impressive...) or reading one of those rags those vendors shove in your face on your way Underground that are worth less than the paper it's printed on (and I believe even worse for your brain and overall social perception - argh!). I realised in London your mind is literally raped daily by all the advertising, you can't look any where without being bombarded with signage telling you how worthless you are without 'such and sucha' product. No one asked me if I minded getting smothered with that crap - but I digress. I found this little podcast site on iTunes - Meditation Oasis, I've literally been listening to the episodes while riding the tubes and trains on my communte for only the last say 2 weeks and I can say that I actually look forward to my trip into work now. Infact I enjoy it so much I take a longer route in now (Earlsfield OL, Vauxhall (Vic Line), Oxford Circus and then I walk to Tottenham Court road as apposed to straight into Waterloo and Northern line to TCR, just so I get 10 extra minutes in! And the best part about it is that like most iTunes podcasts, it's free and there are about 40 episodes so far. I feel fantastic when I get to work and when I get home... Please, if you are having trouble with your communte, or just want to chill out a bit, download this podcast, you won't regret it. London is kak enough without the miserable weather so give it a bash fellow 'mense'. The only draw back is that people might think you are a little nuts just standing there, motionless on the train with you eyes closed and a slightly goofy smile on your face. But in the words of Mary Maddux, "just let that go..." Here's to kicking miserable London's ass this winter!