Friday, 14 December 2007

Start your day off the crap way: Commute!

Sorry to state the obvious and yes there are kazillions of tube related / commuter related blogs that whinge every day about what a pain in the arse the London Transport system is but hey, why say in 3000 posts what you can say in one?

The London Underground is a shambles. I mean, for gods sake, I was only working 3 days this week and I didn't get in on time once. It's about as consistent as a sloppy shit. This is not down to my own timekeeping, and more to do with the mysterious workings of the system which, no matter what time I got to the station in the morning, got me in at the same time every day - Late O'Clock.

Firstly, being charged more to travel before 9:30 - What the hell is this about? I have to pay an extra couple of quid for the pleasure of getting in late to work, having been squished into a tube carriage with my face squashed up against the glass and getting chucked off trains more times than you can say 'GET ME TO WORK YOU FILTHY SARDINE CAN'.

As you can probably tell by now, yesterday was a bad day, nay... a really shit day and it started the minute I arrived at the station to see my normal train just leaving the platform. Luckily, another one was along a few minutes later and I settled into a seat with my Metro and iPod. Two stations later, and we're all told the train, destined for Baker Street, is actually terminating now. Hundreds of us shuffle onto the platform and await the next train. That arrives and we start towards it until we're stopped by the announcement 'Please do not attempt to board this train. It is terminating here' and with that, hundreds more commuters from that train squish onto the platform with us. Two apparently 'defective' trains in the space of 2 minutes and hundreds of passengers lining the platform who all then squish onto the next train. At every stop we're reminded about the fact that the train is full to capacity with the driver offering her apologies. I'd be quite happy to accept them, if the same thing didn't happen every single day and if I, every day I commute into London before 9:30, didn't have to pay extra for the pleasure.

Add this to the fact that I then get into my shitty temp job and, having being royally shunted from my photocopier by someone elses higher priority photocopying for someone higher up in the company (I shit you's like top trumps or something "My manager has more power than yours! I win!")...I'm then demoted to an even shitter job: filling boxes. Yesterday I spent the entire day putting files into boxes. Putting scripts into boxes. Everything I'm packing is reminding me that I'm actually in a place (an acting and literary agency) that is precisely concerned with what my degree was in and it would be such a cool place to work. People around me are on the phone to well known actors and actresses, they're young and having a laugh, pondering how they're going to 'get out of going to' another awards ceremony ('Oh, the Emmys were such a bore'). I'm packing up Kate Winslet's scripts, separating Sienna Miller's contracts from the correspondence, filling fold-out cardboard boxes with a top agents complimentary preview DVDs, and meanwhile the Golden Globe nominations are being read out and shouts of 'Yes! Keira, James and Ricky have been nominated!' are resounding round the place. Someone gets their mobile out and seconds later the call is connected, 'James! You've been nominated! Mahahaha,' she says after hanging up 'He says get the plane tickets booked!' and the office erupts into laughter at the shared 'joke'.

From the office where I'm packing DVDs into boxes and labelling them, paper cuts lining my knuckles, I'm told by a cheerful agent 'Oh, you're going to hate me...this is such a bore...but if you don't do it, I'll have to''s safe to say I'm feeling pretty shit. All attempts at banter and conversation with the people around me fall flat and I'm counting the hours, and the pounds, until the job ends. I feel devalued, patronised and, coupled with the prospect of travelling home on the same underground system that lets me down every morning, not hopeful about getting home before half past 7.

Talking to another 20-something year old temp from the same agency over by the photocopier at the end of the day, I say goodbye and 'Urgh, this was such a boring job'. I'm surprised when she replies 'Oh, this is one of the better ones I've had. Last week I was in a mail room in the basement with 50 middle aged blokes - it was awful. The Agency got me that one, too'. My hopes that this was a one-off shit job are falling.

Worn down by my couple of days work, I take the easy option and go on the packed tube to south west London where I meet the boyfriend for a much needed hug, and rant all the way back to his. He listens, and I have my first reciprocated conversation of the day.


pink jellybaby said...

Move to Spain... it's what all the cool kids are doing!

Jo said...

Yeah, until they all move back a year later :D A Place In the Sun doesn't lie!

weenie said...

The thought of commuting on the Tube is probably one of the underlying reasons why I couldn't work in London.

Having driven to work for the past 15 years, I'm not sure I could cope with daily public transport!

Hannah said...

Oh you poor creature. I have so much sympathy. I just wish I had some advice. Other than the procurement of a cattle prod...?

Reluctant Blogger said...

Sounds really crap. But it won't last. I am going to sound like my mother (except she doesnt' say "crap") but we all go through these things at some point and it is just a means to an end - getting work experience on your cv (or rather showing that you can take any amount of shit without murdering someone) and paying the bills.

With regard to the tube - get yourself a Brompton (ooops - now I sound like my father!).

At least it's the weekend now eh?

London-Lass said...

I sympathise mightily with your tube plight. The Central Line has also been abominably shite of late - so I feel your pain. As for the job : that's the only problem with offices - they bleed dullards. Or twats. Thank God both of us are neither.

James said...

I turned down a fairly lucrative job offer in London three times, despite them returning with bigger offers each time. The whole London commuting thing was definitely a factor in the refusal, well that and the stooopid property prices.

Still think of it as a interesting chapter in your Autobiography when you get rich and famous, you need a few rags to riches stories for the chat shows.

Alex said...

Argh. I'm moving to London in August, and will have to commute every day. Sad times.

I hate temp jobs. I hate them I hate them I hate them. By condolences to you.

AFC 30K said...

I knew there was a reason I didn't take that job at Canary Wharf.......

Jo said...

weenie - I'm beginning to come round to that way of thinking. Unfortunately, London is where the money is :(

Hannah - Now THAT is a good idea. Not sure it'd make me all that popular though!

reluctant - Yeah, I just have to keep telling myself that it's money, which at this time of year especially I need. As for getting a bike, I live a bit too far outside of central london to consider biking in! Not to mention I'd get there all sweaty n that..

londonlass- oh god the central line has been awwwwful this week, my bloke got stuck when it shut down on Tuesday or whenever it was.

James - I can see it now...tales of a grumpy commuter in shit temp jobs, by Jo. It'll sell millions.

Alex - Sometimes the underground can be surprisingly quick, it's just a shame that its so inconsistant and makes it impossible to know what time to leave the house in the morning.

afc - You had a lucky escape. Commuting is more stressful than the job itself in most cases.


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