Where there's a Willesden there's a way

Monday, August 16, 2004

A flash of the city

Ambling between two slow-paced London satellite towns in the early morning, I don't have a huge amount of contact with the hectic commuter lifestyle.

But because it gives me an extra 30 minutes in bed for just double the fare, once a week I like to travel in via St Albans Thameslink. It's a brief immersion into a totally different world.

For a start everyone's in a hurry. With Arriva buses you come to an acceptance, with time, that your journey time is not in your own hands and the act of hurrying and sighing frustratedly is soon exposed as the impotent sham it is. On the commuter line, frustration and high blood pressure are virtually local dialects.

Hand-in-hand with this is the walking pace. I like to walk quickly, but only over distance. People here steam down the platform, and it becomes impossible to stop, however carefully, without the person behind you clipping a shoulder and mumbling an insincere apology.

I looked at the breakfast selection in Smith's, and turned around to find a queue behind me. Maybe London knew what it was doing when it spat me out.


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