Friday, February 08, 2008

We are a beautiful cosmos, you and I

As you all probably already know, I’ve finally left the happily snoozing ranks of unemployed graduates. I’ve hung up my headphones, taken all the guitars out of my bed, and started the morning walk to the station with everyone else. I’ve worked before, but this time it’s not as a temp, but as a proper salaried member of staff. I have a desk, a phone, passwords for the servers, and a work email address.

And I like it.

I’m not sure whether this means I’ve sold out, or that I have an interesting job, or just that after 6 months of dull unemployment, anything would seem good. I suspect it is a combination of the three.

The most surprising thing I’ve found is how very calming and meditative commuting is. I don’t find it stressful, even when I’m running late, or getting shoved about. Many people (including myself) have said that commuters move like automatons, just unthinking drones, but now that I’ve been doing it every morning I see things from the inside, which gives you great insight. I give no more thought to my commute than I did to my walk to school, but, importantly, this doesn’t mean that I’m not thinking. My feet know the way, my hands know when to take the card out and pass it through the machines, leaving me to sit back in my own head and think about whatever the hell I want.

It sounds weird, but I really like watching all the people on the tube - people in their thousands, all consumed in their own thoughts or chatting with all their friends. There is something about the completely, unavoidably public nature of the tube, which, combined with its anonymity, creates a peculiar sense of uninhibited privacy - people will gladly chat away as if they were in their own homes, because they know that no one knows, or will ever know, who they are. I don’t ever listen to what they say, I’m not really interested in that, my music provides my sound, but I like to watch faces and expressions, marvel at how people can look so incredibly different and yet all share the same recognisable expressions of anger, happiness, affection, etc.

So that’s how I spend my mornings, inescapably fascinated by the mute lives of complete strangers, collecting irrational dislikes or crushes on women who I will only see for a few busy minutes of my life.


Also I think I have the coolest intimate strangers* ever – four big Sikh men who come out of the station together and walk down Grangehill Road at about 8:15 every morning. I have named them Purpleturban, Blueturban, Whiteturban and Greybeard. I wonder who they are…

*people you see everyday with clockmaker regularity, but never speak to