Underground humor


When going by underground london is kinda special. I am used to the way trains go in Berlin- that chaos, the delays, the smell, the warmth but I prefer the suburban train. the overground. In London every single way was made by visiting my beloved underground. In four days I had to ask eight times for assitance- because my travel card found it amusing to give up working every second try.

We lived at the Shakespeare hotel (Norfolk square) which is near Paddington station. The first day our teachers introduced us to the English way of going by underground. They said as young people we had to give up our seats for the elderly, pregnant or disabled. We should be silent, discreet and amusing. At the ticket barriers we should queue silently, take time, be patient. They told us as if we were little ones. Yes, I am from the deepest countryside, you may imagine for a living but all of us have seen bigger cities at least once and going by underground is not THAT complicated at all.

So the next day a friend and I went to the V&A, seeing about 3 departments in 4 hours time and went back home at 6 p.m. – knowing our travel cards were peak and off peak we didn’t exactly thought about peak times and waiting to go somewhere because of the masses traveling home.

Standing in a totally crowded district line to Edgware road I thought about living the rest of my life in a big plastic bubble. Next to me a banker, an elderly lady, someone with music coming out of his headphones loudly, the train was taking its time, I couldn’t even turn, my handbag was pressed against my chest, my friend was somewhere down the compartment. The train stopped a few metes after entering the tunnel – some doors hadn’t closed. I stood there, having contact to several other bodies but not being able to enjoy it, feeling a rising pressure in my chest, knowing the basal distance for feeling comfortable is about 2 meters and anything beyond a half meter is making me feel more than uncomfortable…

The banker next to me saw the unhappy expression in my face, tried to tell me everything would be alright, trying to calm me down. He talked to me, calmly, about London, about being a tourist, about the way I speak english – he said my pronunciation doesn’t reveal, that I learned English in Germany. We talked about Germany, the Ukraine, politics, Putin… He could have been my father and acted as if he was. Calming me down, because fear, anxiety and panic aren’t making the situation any better…

We journeyed on after 10 Minutes – enough to make me feel sick, enough to thin out the air, enough to have a nice chat with some guys…

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