Thursday, September 24, 2009

London Underground - Mind the Gap! Mind the Gap!

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Mind the gap! Mind the gap! Now, that's tempting, isn't it? (image source)

Londoners have got this love-hate relationship with London Underground (more affectionately known as the Tube). The Tube ranks just second in the list of most often complained about topics at the office water cooler. No prizes for guessing what's right at the top. Fine, it's the weather - I hate to keep people in suspense.

Everyday thousands of people are late for their work because their train was late for a couple of minutes. You would think that any normal being would simply turn up earlier on the platform the next day just so that they could catch the earlier train. But hey, we're talking about Londoners here, they live dangerously, and timing their arrival time to the very second gets them into a high.

Even though Londoners do blame the Tube for them turning up late at work, I can assure you that every single soul secretly wish that the Tube will break down or the unions will go on strike so that they can call in and inform the office that they will be 'working from home'. Come on, who are they kidding?

Then again, there are many who are determined to get on the train even at the expense of their body parts.

I was happily reading my two days old newspaper on the Northern Line when the train pulled into Moorgate. No one boarded through the door closes to me and the alarm (the irritating one that goes "beep, beep, beep...") sounded. Then I saw a leg jutted through the door. Well, three quarters of a leg actually. The leg had a pair of well tailored pants on and was adorned with an expensive looking left shoe. For a spilt second, I thought of the zombie show that traumatised me when I was a kid. That leg (the zombie's that is) was horrifying.
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The woman sitting next to me reading a pink coloured novel exclaimed,"Oh my god!". The t-shirt guy sitting opposite me looked incredulously at the leg. "Damn!", the leg swore. It then twisted to its left, which miraculously caused the door to give way an inch and that was all the body attaching to the leg needed to cram through.

"Argh!" The door decided to give it another go and rammed into the sorry chap. By that time, the woman with the pink novel was a bit pale in the face. The leg did its thing again and the door finally gave in and slid wide open.

The apparent owner of the leg finally got in and beamed at everyone in the cabin. The woman returned to her book without missing a beat and t-shirt guy continued to star blankly across the aisle. I gave that leg a silent cheer.

It was just another day in the dearie Tube.

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8 comments:

xiaocangshu said...

Talking about almost getting caught in a door...

Yesterday I got up to alight when the bus reached my stop. There was a secondary school student standing at the door and I asked to be excused. He moved just a little bit (in a couldn't-care-less sort of manner?) - but still not enough for me to go through.
"Move in and let her through!" urged his female schoolmate/friend. He finally did, and I tapped my card on the reader - and the door was beginning to close as I was about to step out. Thankfully I scrambled out without hurting myself.

This is the first time somebody not moving fast enough nearly got me stuck in the door, that's why this incident struck me.

sorrydadenglandisweird said...

Sometimes I'm secretly relieved when the tube is delayed so I can continue reading my book. Even if I'm on my way home, especially if it's a good book. Hehe.

::karinuslai:: said...

hahahaha. you should check out the michael mcintyre "man with head stuck in tube door" routine on his live at the apollo show. available on youtube. sounds rather like your experience and completely legendary :)

Dutchie said...

Last Friday hubby had to leave for a flight. Talk abt the unreliability of public service.
First the taxi came 25mins later. We had to call the booking centre to hasten them up. No apologies from the cabbie - he looked bored n didnt even step out to open the booth - his complacency is just incredible !

The train stopped midway bec of a jumper. Had to rush off to alternative train that circulates thru a detour - yeah by now hubby was very antsy abt missing the plane !

Thank goodness the plane had tech difficulties n was delayed. Man, what a day huh ?!

When I'm delayed by rail for work, I hv to make good the time by staying the extra hour. Missing a flight due to the chain of public transport does add so much stress to the journey.

Oh, getting jammed lighting a bus - I had those often along Alexandra Rd going up to Jurong Industrial. Was a packed nitemare every morning !

C K said...

@xiaocangshu,
Interestingly, you don't need to 'tap out' for London buses so we don't get that here. But some bus drivers are way less accommodating than those back home. Just one of those can really spoil your day.

@sorry dad, england is wierd,
I know what you mean! It's like 'what? I'm here already? Aww...'

@karinuslai,
Love Micheal's acts! Didn't know that you're a fan as well. His show in Nov is a total sellout at 30 quid per ticket. Come to think of it, the first time I came across him was in a interview that he had on Top Gear.

Hmm, some people whom I know didn't quite like him though. They think that his jokes aren't 'smart' enough. Oh well, can't please everyone.


@Dutchie,
The buses back home were total nightmares during peak hours. I know that in order to keep SBS 'profitable', passengers have to be packed like sardines every single morning. I shudder just thinking of that.

I remember bus 94 (or was it 95?) that I had to take to NUS from Clementi interchange one of the very few non-aircon buses. It was absolutely horrible packed into a hot tin can under the sweltering heat.

We gathered that the only reason why it wasn't air-conditioned was because the only people taking the bus were concession passes holders. Darn.

Emm said...

After living in England in my preteens, I promised never to say things like I'm about to say but really, Londoners are just plain psycho. I had a man grab my waist last night so that he could launch himself up the ramp at London Bridge. The next time a Londoner puts their hands that close to my ovaries, I'm going to give him a black eye.

drcrab said...

it was bus no 96 lah...! :)

and hey, they got so many free feeder buses now running around NUS it's amazing (there are 4 routes, ABCD) and well, god forbid you jump on the wrong route. but guess what? you can't really check the routes with the bus driver coz they don't seem to speak english!?! hm.

C K said...

@Emm,
LOL, that's classic! Just the other day, two men who were a bit tipsy boarded the Tube and tried to chat a woman and the conversation went like,

"Hey love, how old are you?" (believe it or not, the woman actually answered!)
"Old you don't look a day over 20... want to come party with us?"
All the time they were flashing cheeky grins at the other passengers.


@drcrab,
Oh, it's 96! Don't understand English? Hmm, to be honest, I've not tried using English with Chinese (Singaporeans) bus drivers. Then again, NUS is rather small so I hope you managed to find your way thereafter?