Commuting Bafflegab

06/11/2015 at 9:32 am (Uncategorized) (, , )


Occasionally, your journey into work will bring a smile. Today had such moments for me. This is essentially pointless waffle that is possibly doing little more than adding to the already clogged mire of blog posts, but it’s something that just enlivened my morning.

As the Northern Line train to Edgeware emptied, I could finally sit myself down among the other passengers. Across the carriage from me, wearing the shared commuter-neutral face, was a young woman loosely holding a tote-bag that hung above her boots.

Upon this tote bag was the phrase ‘EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE’ in a simple white font, each word emblazoned on its own black rectangle, contrasted against the neutral coloured calico. It struck me as incredibly funny, actually ‘haha’ funny. I even chuckled a little on the train.

Perhaps my reaction was over-the-top to what is, at best, whimsey that barely justifies lifting the corners of the mouth. It was just this impression that she was saying, ‘yes, I bring my emotional baggage. So?’

I wanted to take a photo it, even ask to do so in case she might have thought I was trying to sneak a picture like a drooling, vile, sex pest. But she had her earphones in and it would’ve been weird to ask. And it could well have been one of those instances where she didn’t even think about the message on her bag anymore. Much like when someone points out a badge you forgot you were wearing, or your attention is drawn to a keepsake on your shelf that is new to others, but becomes almost invisible to you.

It made me think abut the phrase ‘emotional baggage’. How it’s used negatively, how getting involved with someone can bring its own shedload of neurosis and complexity. The big joke is that it basically describes all of us. If I meet someone that seems to have no hang ups, no issues, no illogical reasoning to anything at all, I wonder how they avoided mentally getting their hands dirty.

The other thing that made me smile was as I got off the train, amongst the general jostling and steadying of footfalls to the exit, a little girl lost some sort of flyer she was reading. Actually, that’s not the bit that made me smile, that came after.

So, this little girl, perhaps not yet 10 – I don’t really know, terrible at guessing any ages – was talking to her mother about this flyer and a gust of wind from the departing train blew it to the edge of the platform. The girl was crestfallen. I made to fetch it myself, but a lightning fast man with a brolly, man and machine in one, managed to pin the flyer with the tip of the umbrella. He retrieved it heroically. The little girl’s face was one of joy.

If all that morning excellence wasn’t enough, I did have a guilty chuckle at a poor man who went to get on the bus to come up against the immovable focus of a London bus driver. The doors closed upon the denied passenger’s arm and right foot. He extricated his arm, but his foot was still stuck in the door, which he pulled free by employing the most perfectly comedic flapping of arms.

So that was my commute to work. And I’m still smiling.

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