By Maria Raduga : –
“Recently, I have been lucky enough to ride the Tube during rush hour. And what I have to say is that it was absolutely unforgettable! After five years of living in London you get used to avoiding any contact with strangers. I have noticed that the English, in their everyday life will be careful to avoid any and all accidental contact with any part of your body (remember, any physical contact with strangers is very unwelcome).
Living in the metropolis forces you to adjust to its rhythm quite quickly, but alas, even the risk of losing their well-paid jobs in the City, the English won’t change their good manners. Hearing people complain about human traffic jams on the tube made me chuckle. I always think myself: “try surviving the Moscow’s Vykhino early in the morning, moaner!”.
But surprisingly the reality of London’s underground travel turned out to be even worse. The Vykhino’s bustle in the early hours is a child’s play compared to what is going on at 7.30 am at Clapham Common. Just imagine: people standing in rows upon rows in the crowded space of the narrow platform. Squeezing through the crowds while simultaneously avoiding looks that could kill is impossible – it’s England after all, damn it!
So you obediently attach yourself to the queue. The train arrives and the doors open. You see an empty space in the middle of the carriage and an entrance which is tightly blocked with people’s backs. Surprisingly, no one has an inclination to shout out “Just move forward, why are you blocking the doors?”
One or two people desperately attempt to board the train, blushing and turning pale at the realisation that they have to invade someone else’s personal space, but almost immediately fall back onto the platform.
Meanwhile the second train arrives, and then the third one follows shortly after. Suddenly I realise that though politeness, personal space and all that sort of things are indeed a good thing, but if I don’t apply my Russian assertiveness I’ll be stupidly late.
So I give a little nudge to the wall of backs in front of me and taken by surprise they give in and submissively move forward. A gap opens up and it is just big enough to encompass another single passenger of Indian origin who, like me, managed to recall his skill of fighting for a place under the sun.
The rest of the human mass is left on the platform, obediently waiting for the end of the rush hour.”
(Maria Raduga is Blogger at ru-uk.net based in London)
Disclaimer: View Expressed are not of The London Post