Doors opening. Feet shuffling. Seat grabbing. Bags brushing. Headphones in. World out. Newspapers up. Doors closing.
Tube journeys are always going to be a mad uncomfortable rush. Hundreds of stressed commuters overloaded with bags cramming into an ill lit metal cylinder that crawls along a darkened track ,isn't going to be a journey of enjoyment. We bare through it, and if we're lucky, we get to do so, SEATED.
The only problem that I've found with seating, is the overwhelming desire to study the passengers sitting opposite you. It's that unrelentless urge to examine their clothing, facial features, mannerisms and just soak up the essence of them...but you can't. The risk of them catching you looking is just too high. Thing is, if they do, you have to force a embarrassed smile then naturally, in gushes the strawberry cheeks and the rest of the journey must be spent looking at anything at all but at them. So can you not look at them at all?! No,fear not- there's a solution. Shoes.
Look down and you'll see them, a beautifully long line of colours, shapes and sizes all for you to examine. You can imagine up scenarios for each type, conjure up an image of the wearer and his lifestyle-all from just the shoes. It's a beautiful game.
Then again, perhaps you're not lucky enough to get a seat? You're traveling in the rush hour and have ended up a tinned sardine, captured in hot and agitated huddle with passengers from all walks of life. You're so close you can feel their shuffling feet trampling on your toes , hear their hearts thudding, feel their hot breath settling on your skin. But it's OK. In this uncomfortable, baked beans scenario, a game can be played. Just follow the steps:
1. Source a near passenger with headphones in (it's probably harder to find one without them in to be honest...)
2. Lean in and listen closer to the song they're listening to, but make sure you're discreet.
3. Make sure you know the song, if so BINGO.
4. Now, making sure they can see you, begin mouthing the lyrics of the song they're listening to (if possible in sync)
5. Watch their facial expression
They either assume by some massive coincidence you're listening to the same song at exactly the same time on your respective i-pods or ,if you're without headphones yourself, that you just happened to have that song in your head. Either way, the look on their face is utterly priceless. In fact, that expression change from 'sick to death of this stinking monotonous journey' to 'OH DEAR LORD, WE'RE LISTENING TO THE SAME SONG AT EXACTLY THE SAME DARN TIME' is reason alone to get the tube.
So, there's just a couple of tips to help ease tube journeys. Maybe you'll find them useless, maybe life altering, who knows? But hey, all I can say is try spicing up your tube journey and give it a go...