Challenge Betsy, Writing

A novel in progress – Live in Five – Stella’s (Revised!) Guide To The Tube

  1. Most important thing to note, if at all possible, do not use tube at rush hour. Use bus. Or feet. Or bike (or maybe not bike if value life and hairstyle). Or skateboard. Or boat. Or anything other than Tube. Trust me. (Note: when desired location isn’t accessible via Tube, spit dummy out. Brand said location ‘uncivilised’.)
  2. After resigning self to unavoidable torture of getting Tube in rush hour, refer to smartphone underground map app so can look like know all tube lines by heart and stride past loiterers thus avoiding looking like tourist.
  3. Vital to memorise route so don’t have to constantly check app, thus avoiding looking like tourist (again) and cursing when can’t access when actually on Tube. Dammit.
  4. Arrive. Have Oyster Card* on hand so don’t have to queue like tourist. Avoid rookie error of insufficient credit, yet still do silent and motionless happy dance that have enough credit so can be on way with nary a delay. Demonstrate Oyster Card swipe (can be practiced at home) – smooth single movement of card’s retrieval from bag/pocket to presentation at barrier and successful passageway through without noticeable decrease in pace. Sigh and tut at stupid tourists fumbling with travel cards.
  5. Hit escalators; right hand side for tourists and people with nothing exciting or important going on in lives. Left hand side for life’s winners. Go left, walk briskly.
  6. Reach platform and head for emptiest, least-tourist-y spot. Check digital arrivals board. Check watch. Sigh loudly when realise have to wait two whole minutes.
  7. Train arrives; do not stand behind yellow line. Real tube experts able to suss exactly where doors will come to standstill. Imaginary fist pump when correctly judged. Don’t wait for ‘passengers to alight’, get hell onboard as fast as possible in pursuit of seat.
  8. Ignore woman laden with shopping bags as rejoice in grabbing only available seat (however, proudly and ostentatiously vacate seat for elderly and pregnant women). Whip out kindle, iPad or copy of Evening Standard to further avoid eye contact. Put in headphones for greater effect.
  9. Arrive at destination; fume silently when people getting on don’t wait for self to get off. Rude.
  10. Reach escalators. Decide too tired to climb energetically. Shake head sadly at commuters rushing past. Think life too short. Congratulate self on calmer, more chilled attitude.

*Oyster card – secret society membership club card


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