London, England: Capital city, hotbed of creativity and activity, birthplace of war heroes, musical legends and afternoon tea! You would be forgiven for assuming that with so much going on, never a dull moment should pass. Well, for all of us time-worn Londoners, the sparkle and shine of the big city quickly fades upon instant contact with one horrible, scum-ridden monstrosity – public transport.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not made of stone – when I first arrived in this fair city, the joy I experienced upon running to catch a big red double decker bus was immeasurable – for about five minutes. The novelty of journeying underground to ride the maze of the city’s tube tunnels next to new and exotic people was exhilarating – until I realised the sheer volume of highly contagious diseases that it meant I could come into contact with. The sad fact of the matter is that commuting is a chore. BUT it doesn’t have to be like that.
In order to combat my boredom and keep things fresh I’ve begun trying to find ways to bring fun back into the commute. So, without further ado…
1. If you have to fight your way through busy tube stations on a regular basis, why not spice things up a bit? First step, pick a random person slightly ahead of you in the crowd. Then, imagine that you are a plain clothed agent (London’s version of Jack Bauer if you will), on a mission to track every move of this mystery stranger. You’ll soon be vaulting over ticket barriers, running down escalators in hot pursuit, and diving through train doors at the last second, elbowing men, women and children out of the way just to keep tabs on your chosen ‘victim’. It’s seriously fun, in a very James Bond way.
2. Living in London, rainy days are annoyingly a regular occurrence. On days when carrying an umbrella is a necessity, use this as your opportunity to kick things back to the old school and use your imagination to travel back in time to the Victorian era. Your brolly becomes a cane, your glasses are now a monocle, and you’ll find yourself tipping your imaginary top hat to your fellow commuter acquaintances. Try and ignore the strange looks, you’re the winner because you’re having fun… and wearing an imaginary top hat!
3. I believe that there is nothing more worthwhile and rewarding than competing against yourself. Set yourself the challenge of completing your journey as quickly as possible. Time yourself from the moment you set foot outside your front door, to the moment you arrive at your desk. Keep a spreadsheet of your efforts and award yourself homemade medals if you beat your PB. It’s the small things in life that we take pleasure from.
4. Do you find yourself getting lost in the faceless sea of commuters traipsing across London’s streets? I do. Now I know that most Londoners shy away from conversation and eye contact before 9am, but there must be some people out there who relish it. I have made it a personal mission to find them and engage them in fun commuting games – the stare-off, the I’m-going-to-stare-at-you-until-you-look-at-me-then-look-away game, the read-over-someone’s-shoulder-until-they-get-angry challenge. If you look closely enough you will see a wealth of other commuters engaging in these games every day. They are nothing more than a bit of harmless fun and maybe, just maybe, you’ll make a new friend!
Now, I’m not suggesting that you risk life and limb to get to work but when things start to get too much and the fun seems to have been zapped out of life, seek pleasure in the small things. You’ll be laughing manically and arriving early to work in no time.
Image by LAphotographer.org courtesy of Flickr