I remember my first impressions of London commuters at Paddington and on the tube. Sour, in a rush, unforgiving and impatient with anyone walking too slowly or getting in the way or not doing the right thing. It's only been two weeks, but already I find myself becoming like them. More to the point, I understand, now. Places to go, trains and tubes to catch, and eager to get out of the mass of people as quickly as you can. So many people, everywhere, all the time. You switch everybody off. Very different to the bus commute into Oxford, where most people were regulars, I saw them every day, and everything was altogether more relaxed.
It's not just a city slicker thing, either. I lived in Joburg for years. It's a big city, but apart from shopping malls and the like, middle class peopled were never really bunched up. You always had space. Even in long, drawn-out traffic jams, you'd be in a car, with nobody close to you. London transport is completely the opposite.
I'm adjusting to the commuting, though. It takes a big chunk out of my day, but on the upside I'm reading even more - I'm averaging about two novels a week. And the exercise is good, too. In addition to more walking, there's all the standing on the tube, and on the train, because First Not-so-great Western can't be arsed to increase their capacity while fleecing their customers. Bastards. The directors of FGW ought to be lined up against a wall and shot. Or better yet, get them to draw straws and march the losing half off to the wall, and then tell the remaining half that they've got a month to sort their shit out or they're next. I'll bet you that would get results.