It's 8am and I have to leave the house right now to be at work on-time. No time for breakfast, so I grab a banana to eat on the way. I'm ready at the door... but I feel like I've forgotten something... I stop & try to remember what it might be...
My MP3 player - grab it and head to the door. Keys? Where are my keys, damn. They're not on the table; not in the pocket of yesterdays jeans, damn, not fallen behind the table; down the sink or... they're in the door. There they are, right in front of me, hanging quietly, in the door, all the time. Bastards.
8.09 - I really have to go now. Pick up banana, pick up music and out of the door. Lock the door, down the stairs, out the front door, step outside and have cold feet. Look down - I've forgotten my shoes. Damn Damn Damn. Back up the stairs, unlock the door, inside, sit down, put on trainers, curse. 8.12 - now I'm late. Have keys... stop... I know I've forgotten something... think... pick up banana, pick up music...
Damn, I was going to take the rubbish out. I haven't got time to take the rubbish out! Damn. If I don't take the rubbish out, by the time I get home my place will stink. Damn. Tie-up and remove rubbish bag, pick up banana, pick up music, have keys, have shoes, do I have my travelcard? Check in bag: have travelcard and have phone, 8.16. Pick up banana, pick up music, have keys. Out of the door, lock door, curse, unlock door, go back inside, pick up rubbish bag, out of the door, lock door, down the stairs and into the street.
Turn on music, put in pocket, plug in. I am now shielded by the protective powers of Desmond Decker *and* The Aces. Nothing bad can happen to me for the next 2 minutes and 12 seconds. Relax. Then I remember I'm late for work and start walking.
Walk as fast as I can to the tube station. Arrive 8.37 and approach the stairs. Am reminded, as always, of Gandalf leading the fellowship into the Mines of Moria - "what new devilry is this?" Underground it's 5 degrees hotter and 2 minutes till the next train. I walk to the end of the platform, everyone is in my way. I see the same faces daily, but never acknowledge them: the fat girl who would be really pretty if she lost a few stone and scowls at the world as if she knows that and it pisses her off. The tall man who is only good-looking from a distance - from far away he's Billy Zane, from up close he's Phil Mitchell. Scary - how can it be? The stylish girl who dresses like I wish I could, the loved-up couple, the man who always falls asleep...
The train arrives, I get on, no seats, the man next to me smells. I forgot to grab a newspaper - damn, damn, damn. Two stops later and I can feel the early symptoms of Tube-induced Coma: my limbs become heavy, eye-lids start to droop, a vague thought of sitting on someones lap, brain shutting down, doors closing... please... stand clear... of the... closing... and slipping... into... a coma...
Damn! Bounce around on the balls of my feet for a moment. Feel better, sweat more. Get funny looks from a middle-aged woman wearing footless tights. A crime against fashion! The best style-advice anyone ever gave me was never wear anything 'retro' that you were into the first time round. Those of us still scarred by leggings & the Soup Dragons in the early 90's, should never be induced (or seduced) into going there again. She should know better. Decide not to accept the funny looks. I make eye contact, and maintain it - benign but steady... she looks away and starts reading adverts. Ha! She's terrified! Victory is mine! Yes indeed, don't mess with me madam, you will find I am a force to be reckoned with! I am invincible! Give me any grief and I will LOOK AT YOU!
Feel slightly foolish. Arrive at stop. Head towards escalators. Start feeling fierce again. Can't get to escalators - why not? The rules are simple: stand on the right and walk on the left. Not complicated! And yet there are those who can't grasp it. And I wonder - do all these people have stair lifts at home? Why not use your legs to walk up the stairs? Or just stay out of my way! [grin]
Finally up the escalators, through the barriers, up the stairs - Daylight! Sunshine! Air! Space! Joy!
Remember I'm late for work and start walking. Arrive at work 9.04. Exhausted. Have a cup of tea.
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