Sliding Doors

So after work I headed to my local tube station, where thankfully, services are still operating, although not as fully as they would normally. After around ten minutes of standing on the cold platform, the tube pulled into the station. If you read my earlier blog, you’ll know that I described the Picadilly Line trains during rush hour packing people in like sardines in a tin. Well, today, this was the District Line. Choc-a-block. Standing room only.

People squeezed on where the could; others got off the train in order to allow others off before squeezing back on.

I wandered from one door to the next, before watching the doors close in front of me. As the train pulled away, I headed back down the platform, towards the exit. That was another great ‘Sliding Doors’ moment; this time, it was literally the case.

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20140205-193741.jpg Gwyneth was pissed off this tube didn’t go all the way to Hollywood…

I felt dazed. I felt in shock. My heart beat hard.

Why didn’t I get on the train? It’s not like I haven’t squeezed myself onto a tube before, much in the way you squeeze yourself into a pair of jeans you used to wear. My overwhelming feeling was that I didn’t deserve to get on.

I’m not sure why I felt this way. After all, there is a tube strike on, and if you are lucky enough to have a train pull up in front of you, you should take it. Maybe it is because technically I could walk home. I used to do that in the summer, although my new flat is around an extra fifteen minute’s walk, taking the journey to around an hour. But not out of the question. Maybe I thought that there were other people who couldn’t walk, who deserved to stand in that tiny space more.

The fact is though, that had I waited on the platform for the next tube, the likelihood is that the carriages would have been even more full, with no guarantee that I could have got on the next train. Would I have stood on that platform all night, stepping back from those doors that slide back and forth in front of me?

Anyway, in case you were wondering, I took the bus. Well technically two buses, which will double my journey time home, compared to if I’d just got on that tube at Chiswick Park. I’ll still get home a lot quicker than most London commuters tonight.

Fight or flight? It seems like I reverted to the 12-year old me during those few seconds. I know I am capable of fight, or at least making a positive choice of which option it is I *want* to take, rather than being forced to have the decision made for me, like some kind of shrinking violet. I need to find that ability to fight. London, and indeed this life, has no room for those who reluctantly fade into the background. Or wait for the next train that may never come.

20140205-194340.jpg Gwyneth wondered if the tube strike was about making all the carriages this shiny…

[Picture Credit: Sliding Doors, Dir. Peter Howitt, 1998]

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