As I slowly get used to my new commute on the Metropolitan line from Aldgate to Finchley Road, old habits recycled. I took out my Kindle book reader, all eye contact averted, sat down and enjoyed the pleasant albeit slow journey back home. It was definitely a lot less crowded than the same trip that very morning…
Visitors to London may amuse themselves with the “mind the gap!” announcement or cheap tourists memorabilia with the ubiquitous London Underground logos imprinted on, but what the tube represent to Londoners like me is not only that of a transportation mean; it defines habits, familiarity and a phase in life.
When I first moved here almost 3 years ago, having resided in East London, I could never get anywhere without the Jubilee line, which despite being one of the newest, had developed some sort of propensity for breakdowns and delays. My work place at Embankment station made me an expert with the Circle and District lines, easily distinguished by the colour of the handle bars (yellow and green, respectively). Lovely weekend weather meant trips to Greenwich park were hard to pass on, easily reachable on the unmanned DLR line.
Whilst training as an accountant, the morning rush hour trips to Angel tube station for classes meant battles have to be won to get into the crowded on the Northern line, which when stops at the busy stations Bank and Moorgate, offers much relief (and space!). And of course, whenever it is time for home holidays, I would drag my luggage to Heathrow airport using the Picadilly line, swapping a 40 pound taxi ride with something 10 times cheaper (albeit less enjoyable!).
There are too many of such stories to tell, each defining a phase of life, what I was doing, and what I was about to do. The London Underground is not just the world’s oldest, it is one of its most endearing.