Sunday, 9 May 2010

In which I'm commuter-watching

With the advent of the blog- and Twitterspheres, it’s not news that we all share far more about ourselves than ever before. Without them, I doubt that a frankly mind-boggling (but very flattering) number of total strangers would know quite as much as they do about my love life, Colin’s total defiance towards all forms of discipline and my dependence on large glasses of gin.

But that said, it’s not just online that we all give away hundreds of snippets of information on a daily basis - we disclose little pieces of ourselves simply by being. It’s something I’ve noticed having joined the commuting masses travelling into London from Home County every day.

Simply by sharing the regular journey back in the evening, I have learnt far more than I would thought possible about one of my fellow commuters.

Given that he and I have never exchanged more than a couple of words (and those mainly consisting of “no, after you,” and “are you finished with that paper?”), the amount I now know about him, merely by sharing a space for forty minutes a couple of times a week, is bizarre:

He, like me, lives in Home County Town, but works in London.

He lives on the opposite side of the town, but still within walking distance of the station.

He’s in his thirties, and is married with a young baby.

He’s left-handed, and likes to write. On anything available. In fountain pen.

He’s got a job that involves huge amounts of spreadsheets, but no suits (he favours cords over chinos).

He likes to read trashy male fiction.

He has asthma.

He isn’t too bothered, but prefers a forward-facing seat if there’s a choice.

In fabulous case of nominative determinism, his surname is Devine. It really does suit him.

Of course, on top of that, there’s far more that I could make a wild guess about: I think he probably comes from a well-heeled family, and went to a public school and a red-brick university. I imagine he voted, and voted Conservative, on Thursday. I’d take a stab, and say that he’s into his sport: a rugby person, but also likes football. He probably isn’t too bothered by cricket, nor music. And this might be casting aspersions on the poor chap, but there’s something about him that strikes me as the type to read the Guardian.

All of which makes me think that between wandering around, caught up in the routine of my everyday life, and sticking some of the more peculiar happenings on the interwebs for all and sundry to read, there are people out there who probably know far more about me than is healthy for anyone. For which I can only apologise.

10 comments:

Helena Halme said...

At a guess I'd say you're a writer.

Helena xx

Brennig said...

Nice picture. Also nice to know that I'm not the only one who builds such pictures.

Blonde said...

HH: That is exceptionally sweet of you, if rather inaccurate!

Bren: You're definitely not - give me a cup of coffee and I can people-watch for hours and hours.

ruby said...

So I haven't commented in half a lifetime but I read your blog and follow you on Twitter (now I sound stalkerish, I swear I'm not!) but I wish I knew you better!

HC said...

Commuter observations, endless pleasure. Except in my case. Until recently I had a single platform nemesis, which was fine because it's manageable and obeys the definition of nemesis. By platform nemesis I mean a person who challenges you to the right to stand in the "best spot" to gain entry to the train or, worse, jumps in front of you at the last minute despite you having waited for far longer. These are the kind of things that can send me into a spin early in the morning. But I secretly quite liked my platform nemesis, he was clearly the runt of the litter of life, evidently obstinate in every aspect and enjoyed nothing more than flashing his i-phone to compensate for his diminutive stature.

Sadly, he was laid off last year at the nadir of the recession, I believe this because the alternative is that he is dead and I don't want that, even for my nemesis. It left a vacuum, the daily furore was gone.

Until recently, and now I have three replacement nemeses (sp?) and all of them are rank highly on the irritation-o-meter. One has pink cheeks and walks "as if one who was recently shafted", the second wears heavily shoulder-padded suits and works in the post room of a prestigious law firm and the third is a hippy who rises above it all (and thereby makes me feel infinitely worse about myself).

It got too much in the end, I moved up a carriage. I can't take that kind of stress.

Blue soup said...

Ah Blonde, you take me right back to the birth of my first blog, the days of my Commuter Friends on the long distance commute from Little City to the Big Smoke.

Sun Man, Lady with the Orange Bag, the Pushy Woman. I built up entire lives for these people in my head.

Good times :)

Emily said...

Sometimes I wonder about being so exposed from my blog as well.

Blonde said...

Ruby: I'll take it in the spirit in which it was intended, so thank you!

HC: Ah, you're a fellow people-watcher. Moving carriages? That is a BIG deal. We have none of those shenanigans where I travel.

BS: I'm hoping Sun Man merely read the Sun, rather than anything else...?!

Emily: It's an odd feeling, isn't it?! Best not considered too much, I think.

P said...

The fact I don't build such pictures makes me think I'm not the writer I think I am. I haven't commuted since I moved into Glasgow (I now walk everywhere) but even before that I never paid people that much attention!

Susie Q said...

It's amazing how much you learn about people just by observing...

Makes me think what people think of me!

You paint such a good picture.. I love your writing!

xx

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