I think I have hit upon the answer to commuting. This morning James and I happened to coincide on the Central Line. As usual there were delays, something about track problems further in towards the city, and as we waited the platform started to overflowl with people. Oh joy. Barely any week goes by where there is not some kind of issue, and indeed some weeks there are more problematic days than smooth days. Even on a day with no problems it is an absolute crush at peak time, so this morning I looked forward even by Central Line standards to a particularly cramped journey.
train duly arrived and James and I somehow managed to squeeze on, but in the
scrum we ended up with a lady between us. It was awful, no room to move, I
couldn’t even wriggle to take my coat off and of course the train then didn’t move. Ugh. Still,
this was no reason not to continue our conversation, which naturally was about
birds. “Have you seen Wallcreeper?” James asked. “No, dipped it twice in Les
Baux. Is it at your place in France?” I replied. “No, but close by.” We
continued to be held in the platform, and so dialogue continued back and forth,
whether it was year round or just in winter, what a great bird it was and so on,
when suddenly the lady bolted for the doors leaving behind a much-needed gap
that we could all take advantage of. But what had prompted this? Surely she had
needed to get to work too? The answer is simple. Middle-aged men talking about
birds is simply intolerably boring and normal people cannot cope with more than
about 30 seconds.. James and I are so mind-numbingly dull that the lady had no
choice but to get out before she died.
What a fantastic discovery! Being a
birder makes it possible to be so tediously uninteresting that fellow commuters are forced to change carriages. And as I remarked to James, even if we rarely
meet on the commute this strategy ought to be even more effective when
travelling alone. Especially for James as he has a beard to mumble into. We just have to
remember not to talk to any TfL staff, and particularly not the driver.