Enjoying your commute


It’s a Monday morning. You’ve fought off the guy with the 3ft brolly, pushed the little old lady down the gap and are now pinioned beneath the untreated armpit of a fellow commuter. Rush hour rage has been known to transform respectable M&S shoppers into savage beasts. It’s true. A friend recently told a disturbing story of a woman who after a tetchy argument on the tube was hit by her antagonist. As she fell to the floor she was kicked and shoved by the bystanders – most of whom were pin-striped businessmen and women. There are ways to avoid this madness. Here are our tips for a more relaxing start to the morning:

Distance yourself from the surrounding crush by closing your eyes and imagining a force field round your body. Gradually expand the projected space around you until you are completely untouchable within your imaginary cocoon. It may not work first time – but if you accompany it with some deep breathing and a yogic hum people might start moving away.

Take a book and immerse yourself in a fantasy land where the grey suits cannot follow you. Or take a newspaper and wrap it around your head. A copy of the Financial Times or any other broadsheet with multi-sections is guaranteed to win you space (if not friends).

Sniff the floor in the tube station. No, go on, do it. London Underground has recently begun laying industrial fragrance (a floral perfume with a hint of jasmine) on platforms to sweeten the bitter pill of tube travel.

Think philosophical thoughts as the bus drives past without stopping. Pray for the bus driver’s soul. Next time you catch that bus, present the bus driver with a £20 note to change.

Lighten the other passengers’ day with a spot of in-transit entertainment. Tell your travelling partner outrageous stories in a moderately loud voice and everyone will listen. Heighten the interactive experience – ask the person next to you what they would do about Mandy’s kleptomania.

When hailing your taxi, imagine that you’re in a romantic comedy and tell the taxi driver the love of your life is about to marry someone else. When he hears that you only realised your mistake when you caught sight of her copy of the Velvetine Rabbit on the floor, he’ll have his hankie to his eyes and his pedal to the metal.

If you are a keen cook, use your travelling time gainfully. Fill your pockets with dough before you board the train. Find a point of maximum inconvenience so that people must continuously squeeze past you, and arrive at work with dough freshly kneaded. Try out different types of bread by travelling on different lines (it is said the northern line does not make good foccacia).

Start the day with a smile. Give a tenner to the homeless chap you pass by every morning. Don’t ungenerously assume he’ll ‘spend it all on drink’. What were you going to do with it anyway?

Count how many people are squeezed in your carriage. Be amazed. Arrive at work still marvelling at the bendy capacity of the human body.

Compliment the person sitting next to you on their appearance. ‘You’re looking lovely this morning’ will not only give them a kickstart to their day but may lead to friendship, romance and marriage. Well, it’s worth a try.

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