Traveling on the London underground causes us humans to display similar funny behavioral characteristics, which even I find myself doing at times. You are exposed in an environment where you can't escape, and everyone is so self-conscious, people tend to try to be invisible. However, on the other hand, you can end up being the centre of attention by mistake for a number of reasons. The reasons are as follows...
One would think that getting onto a moving tube you would either consider holding onto something for support, or sit down when there are seats available. Nonetheless, this is not the case for many people. Yes, for some strange reason, even on an almost empty train, I see people getting on and deliberately attempting to balance with no support. They're thinking,"I can balance, I have good balance." I see them spreading their feet apart, creating some sort of surfer-dude stance. "Yes, I've got this, this is a good position for me, I'll be fine." Wrong! Next moment they're being catapulted into some random person whose eyes widen as he glares back. You can tell he is pissed off!
Of course the stumbling tube-surfer looks totally embarrassed, his cheeks now beaming red like a bloody traffic light as he tries to pretend this wasn't always going to happen. What makes this worse is the guy who's been bumped is a good-looking. City boy, all primly dressed, with slicked back hair-which up until a moment ago - was literally pasted to his head. Unfortunately, the surfer has, in the process of his collision with the city boy, messed up his hair. He now has two gel-like horns protruding out of his head. Attractive! And he won't even know he has them until an hour later when his boss points them out at the morning meeting in front of all his colleagues. How much more pissed off will he be then!
Furthermore, nowadays it seems everyone is obsessed with their phones. People have their phones literally glued to them. They are either texting or calling someone. Yes, even on a tube where you know there is no signal, people still try too! I see people getting so frustrated when they are trying to get hold of someone. "Sarah, Sarah I can't hear you, I am about to go through a tunnel ". Then, "Hi Sarah, sorry we got cut off the signal is really shitty, I am on a tube". I am screaming to myself, yes that is because you are on a tube, the signal is bad, why don't you wait till we get off the tube? I see people struggling to send a text. People are pushing the send button at every stop still trying to send that same text message hoping that eventually there will be some signal!
Moreover, you always find a few 'lurkers' on a tube. When I say 'lurkers', I am referring to the people who literally hover over your shoulder like some sort of aircraft waiting to land. The 'lurkers' are usually the people that have nothing else to focus their attention on so end up unfortunately invading your space. The oversized bald man dressed in scruffy jeans and a checkered shirt is trying to read a newspaper and to the right of him there is there is a 'lurker'. She is deep breathing beside him, pushing almost all her body weight into him. This lady has a cold. Suddenly she sneezes, spraying a pattern of snot over the article. The words on the page are now blurred into a mush. Lovely! You can see the bald man visibly holding his breath for thirty seconds to avoid inhaling any of the germs his lurker has so thoughtfully donated to him."
Now being on the train is not a place where people want to engage with others unless of course they know each other generally. This leads me on to my next behavior trait, which is staring. Nobody wants to be caught catching someone else's eye. Once on that tube, your eyes go crazy. They dart about that tube like a ping-pong ball high on drugs that you can't control! People appear as if they are eyeing someone up! The well-dressed long glossy haired lady sits opposite the muscular dark disheveled man. While she proceeds to put her lip-gloss on, she glares directly into the man's eyes. He thinks she fancies him but actually its just because there's nothing else to look at! He half smiles back, she then blushes intense red and spends the rest of the journey looking fixedly in the opposite direction.
The London underground! It looks like a transportation link merely used by humans for a journey from one place to another, but it's actually a circus of entertainment and embarrassment for you and everyone else!
Follow Chanel de Yong on Twitter: www.twitter.com/outandaboutlife