Monday, 7 February 2011

Girl Interrupted

This morning I decided to try out some music.

I've been avoiding listening to music because, as SingleGirlie mentioned last week, listening to sad songs after a breakup is anything but helpful. You just end up applying all the lyrics to your own situation and generally crying over the songs you used to love. But the one big thing me and the...argh, I can't even say 'ex' yet, me and him shared was just that: music.

When my own iPod broke, I inherited his old mp3 player. It's filled with his music, mixes and whatever he downloaded for me to listen to. It has sat on the kitchen table since last Sunday and I couldn't bring myself to touch, let alone use it. Soupy kindly lent me her Spotify playlists for work, but with a 40 minute journey every morning, I needed background noise for the commute.

So today, having survived the night and early morning without tears, I steeled myself, grabbed his mp3 player and plugged in. Nina Simone - Feeling Good accompanied me to the tube station. As I stood at the platform edge, engrossed in a Sunday Times supplement, I felt distracted from everything. A train spilling with people pulled into the station, and I started to get on.

Then I got tapped on the shoulder.

It was the first morning in a week that I felt anything remotely close to normal - not on the edge of crying, not feeling sick, not dreading the day ahead. And suddenly, there was my sodding work colleague grinning away, saying "Hi!" and jamming in to the already packed tube alongside me. In an instant, my relaxed mood evaporated. I reluctantly folded up the magazine and removed my earphones. All I'd wanted was just 40 minutes in my own little world and now I was stuck, uncomfortable, awkward, pissed off at the interruption. I didn't want company.

Surely, I thought as the train tumbled along, the two of us packed in with the expectation of conversation hanging over us, surely everyone knows that morning tube journeys are not for small talk. Surely you wouldn't squash yourself onto a packed and silent carriage when you have nothing to say, no friendship outside of work, no reason to talk to that person. Yes, we work together - but you'd just keep walking, catch up later. Today of all days, I did not want to have awkward chit-chat for the best part of an hour. Or, as we ended up doing, invading each other's personal space in silence. I spend all day talking about work, why would I want to do it on the way in? The platform and tubes were packed, you'd never notice or care if a work colleague walked past without saying hello. It's almost expected.

I made no effort to start conversation. And by the time we'd switched onto the Central line, my eyes were buried back in the magazine; his in the Metro. Maybe he'll get the hint for tomorrow.


modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

Ah, Londoners....

Why do you do the tube to yourselves? I think I would probably go mad!

this coming from the man who spends 9 months of his life at a time in a space about the size of a london tube with a 190 of his newest, bestest mates.....

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

The tube can sometimes be quite relaxing when it's not packed full.
I wouldn't mind so much but I like that time in the morning to just get myself together.

Plus, it's the only way to get from one side of London to the other without getting stuck in traffic. A minor detail.

modelofamodernmajorgeneral said...

I can see your quite relevant points, but the very thought of living in London makes me shiver. I'm fully aware of the many benefits it brings, and have had more than one local try to convince me, but at the end of the day I'm a Hampshire boy through and through - thick in the head, if not in the arm!

As for the morning thing, can fully appreciate that - one the best things about doing a Morning Watch (0330 - 0730) is that you have a head start on everyone. And I abuse my power and get sausage sandwiches made for me!

Charlotte said...

The commute to work is a time to fully 'wake up' and get ready for the day (at least that's the way it used to be for me) and the commute home is the wind down.

Have to say I do not miss the packed trains though.

And good on you for listening to music - I agree that is definitely one of the hardest things after a break up

Keep going! x

The Unbearable Banishment said...

I'm sorry for this terrible thing that has happened to you, but I *am* glad to see you turning up in my Google Reader more frequently than you have been. It's a treat!

jman said...

The fact that you were annoyed by the interruption is a healthy sign. Good to see your inner curmudgeon asserting herself! Look forward to seeing you on the Underground next time I am in London.

singlegirlie said...

Thank you for the shout out, love. I'm sorry to hear you're going through this tough time, too. Day by day, it really does get better. Sending you strength.

Ella said...

I have to say that even when I am feeling on top of the world I ***DESPISE*** being approached on the tube, be it by friend or foe. I use the central line very morning at rush hour and even though we are packed on like sardines it's actually not that bad, I guess it's something you get used to.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

model - Sausage sandiwches are always good.

Charlotte - As long as there aren't delays, I don't mind the tube journey. Especially if you have something to read.

Unbearable - Stand by, there is a lot more on the way. Happy people never blog as much or as well as those in despair. True story.

jman - It just irritated me that everyone else knows to respect the morning space. And he didn't.

singlegirlie - Back at ya x

Ella - Definitely something you get used to. As long as I'm not late and stuck in a tunnel.

Leigh said...

The music thing does start to get easier. I am currently listening to The Black Keys without crying! A little while ago, heck even a week ago, I wouldn't have been able to do that. Music was a huge thing between me and my ex* too, our relationship started at a festival and we went to another one last summer as well as loads of gigs in between. So it's a rare for my iPod not to shuffle up a band we've seen together. Or that I know he likes. Or that I only like because he told me about them. Running has been hell! But it's getting better now, one day you'll be able to listen to songs you loved without crying. Promise.

*Gah! I still struggle with that too and I'm almost 4 months down the line.

Brennig said...

There's no easy way around people. Sometimes they're good to have around, sometimes they're not; it doesn't matter when or where we encounter them.

And I hate the tube. And London. And most people. But not all of them, obv.


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