January 16th, 17:30. Central Line.
The Tube is a sacred place. In the morning rush hour, it is a place of sorrow from the day workers, mentally preparing themselves for another day at work. By evening peak times, it is a place of refuge from the same overworked beings, itching to go home, put their feet up and have a cup of tea. So if one breaks the silent code, it’s noticeable.
There a lot of silent codes on the Tube, food, smelly ones especially, are loathed and glared at. Like the man with his curry and rice takeaway at the end of the carriage. But, if one only judges the act at the smell and grunts for their lack of manners – then we’re being irrational idiots. I almost did at the time, mind you, but this man is excused.
I created a profile of him from where I’m sitting. I am confident that I am at least half right.
He’s an immigrant, my bias is obvious on this. Overworked, maybe frugal or underpaid. He can afford a bit of groceries, huddled by his feet on the floor, but, he had no time for food. For the entire 8-10 hours of work, he had no time for food – he practically had to eat it on the carriage before he faints.
That’s where my heart sank. We’ve all had those odd, busy days at work, where we prioritise our workload over our breaks and end up going home drained. I could be exagerrating it, but no one eats hungrily on a full meal like that on the Tube, unless it was a random raver in the middle of the night. This was someone who was in the middle of evening rush hour, unaware of the glares being casted against him, simply because he was desperately hungry.
He got off at Bethnal Green, replenished with his finished food and groceries.
I continued the journey, minding my own business.
“Things I think about when I’m ‘Tube-ing’” is a copycat chronicle inspired by Haruki Murakami’s “What I Talk About When I Talk About Running”. The posts details the odd, nonsense, sad, maybe inspiring tales from my daily commute on the Tube.