There, I’ve come out and said it: I love my commute!
Non-Londoners may think I’m insane: how could he possibly enjoy an enforced 2.5 hour journey every weekday, you say? Surely an extra hour in bed would be infinitely preferable? Isn’t he just trying to make a virtue out of a necessity?
But honestly, I’d be a bit lost if I didn’t have my daily work commute. Working from home, as I did for six months in 2014, had its own rewards, but was ultimately rather lonely. Starting my current job and being back in an office, I was initially relieved just to get out of the house (then disappointed that most of my workmates weren’t more sociable…)
My daily commute to King’s Cross is ten minutes of walking, 35 minutes on the train and another 15 minutes on the Tube, rounded off with another ten-minute walk. It’s the perfect mix of exertion and introversion: an hour of enforced relaxation with no responsibility whatsoever; stretching the legs, waking the brain and preparing for the day ahead.
Similarly, the journey home to leafy Bexley is a chance to wind down and think on a comfy seat on a warm carriage whooshing through the metropolis.
Outside the windows are a surprising number of unbelievable sunsets.
Inside, I might choose to read and enjoy an endless amount of wonderful literature.
If I don’t feel like reading I can people watch: wondering where the person next to me bought that shirt; watching the lovely lady opposite put too much make-up on; marvelling that the rough-looking chap by the window is reading Dostoyevsky; eavesdropping on the endless conversation the older lady behind me is having with someone called Claire.
If I was out the night before, I might take a nap. Listen to music. Stare at the clouds.
I can simply sit and think – I did this a lot in the weeks after Trev died.
Wouldn’t I much prefer to be home? No. At home I’d be distracted by my lovely family, by the lure of the TV or the computer; there would be jobs to be done, things to be fixed, washing, cleaning, children, writing – all unavoidable!
On the commute there are two hours of the day that are mine alone; surrounded by people, I’m left blissfully alone, free to do anything – or nothing.
(thanks my old colleague Brooke for her excellent post on the joys of commuting…)