THE BLOG

Commuting

10/06/2013 14:05 BST | Updated 06/08/2013 10:12 BST

I am the antithesis of an organised commuter - I just can't get my packing right.

8am: I usually arrive at Brighton station, late, and hurriedly buy a croissant, throwing loose change at a frightened vendor, before rooting around for my rail pass. Tugging it from my bag quickly, it is usually tailgated by an unsheathed tampon or seven receipts. I then like to settle myself in the nearest available carriage - often behind one of the air-conditioned first class screens. This is a pleasant accident while it lasts as I always perspire upon seating.

Seasoned commuters treat the journey like a triathlon, with very smooth changes between legs. They march at speed along the platform, fold-up clown bike under one arm, to the very furthest carriage - minimising the walk at London Bridge.

Most of them have tablets, and use them to make incredibly important decisions during the journey - how to successfully reduce the deficit, for example, or how to clear the jelly on level 67 of Candy Crush.

I spend the first 20 minutes waking up - listening to music and staring into space. Although what I thought was space the other day turned out to be someone's eyes. In hindsight a threatening gesture.

Once I am sufficiently alert, I read, although occasionally this makes me feel sick, so I stare into space some more.

I am notified of our arrival at London Bridge by commuters putting apples and sports clothes (which they wear on the train to make them faster) into miniature rucksacks. This is something I presume I must buy if I am to make it.

If I have brought an umbrella, this is the moment I leave it on the train.

7.40pm: On the return journey to Brighton, with approximately six minutes to go until arrival, I notice people marching towards the front of the train with a grim expression.

I assume initially that they intend to assassinate the driver, and am concerned for him. I think about his wife and children, and gaze sadly out of the window. When we do not crash into barriers at the station I surmise he must be alive, and my spirits are cheered. I realise that this was just another timesaver from the commuters, and begin my own 15 minute walk from the furthest carriage.

By Friday however, I was more at home. I began to feel the instinctive urgency of the commuter pumping through my veins in the evening as we started to pull in. I stood up and joined in the frontward march, hitting most seated customers in the face with my bag. Ah! I nodded to myself sagely - a purpose of the joke rucksack, other than apples and hilarity.

There's one thing that is universally shunned by all passengers however - one act which unites them in their hatred; answering a ringing phone. When I catch the eye of another traveller as I whisper, "Hello?", it's like staring at someone unblinkingly whilst I brazenly fart. My conversation is then so apologetic that words are mouthed silently into the speaker.

"Hello? ... Hello?"

(Mouthed) "Train."

"Hello? Emily. Can you hear me?"

(Mouthed) "Eyes. Hatred. Fart"

"Ok I think your signal's bad - I'm going to try again later."

Why do people get so annoyed? The only other option is to keep silently bumping knees with the person opposite - if you have a seat, or gaze into someone's armpit if you don't.

I have yet to crack the rail formula, but then I wasn't much better on the tube - on my last journey I poured milk on a child.