Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Tubular Hell

Recently I have spent quite a bit of time on airplanes. And, coincidently enough, until very recently I loved to fly.

Love, love, loved it. And now... eh.
I think my love may have died in the wee, wee hours of this morning as I sat sandwiched in a non-aisle, non-window seat between three crying babies (no... seriously - I have never wanted to take a hatchet to my fallopian tubes with such enthusiasm before) and a couple apparently in love (vomit), while being semi-pestered by a well intentioned but creepy steward who wanted to talk to me about Montaigne.

It was about then that I started to think about planes and how they are metaphors for life. It's the 'so much time and so little to do' thing I suppose. But don't worry, I'm not going to subject you to much of that crap because the theory falls down almost immediately. Because a plane, you see, is taking us somewhere. Somewhere exciting even. Somewhere we want to go. Planes have a destination and that doesn't usually mean crashing and burning into the scorched earth below. Life, meanwhile, is more like a plane with its wings cut off sitting on the runway: boring as fuck and going nowhere.
What is also taking us somewhere but (and this is the crucial point), generally, nowhere new or exciting and frequently somewhere we don't particularly care to go, is the London underground. And as far as life metaphors go this one holds up a lot better than the plane crap. This might come as a surprise because, in my opinion anyway, the underground system is mostly fantastic and only occassionally shit whereas life is the other way around, but please indulge me...
For a start the likelihood of you enjoying yourself on the tube is almost entirely dependent on your ability to make your own fun. I have whittled away many happy hours on the tube with my ipod and a good book but I have also wanted to commit hari kari in the two minutes it took me to travel between Bank and Holborn stations upon discovering my ipod's battery is dead and my book has been left at home on the bog.

At the same time, on the tube, you can do everything right and people will still fuck you over. Book? Check. Ipod? Check. Refreshing drink? Check and check. fifty sweaty people sans deoderant with exactly the same destination in mind as you? Er, check.

The most infuriating aspect of the entire operation is that there is no way to avoid it. If you need to get somewhere in London you pretty much need to catch the tube. Oh sure you can pussy around with buses and black cabs for a bit but that's just a cop out. A stop gap even. Sooner or later you'll be down in the tube, standing dutifully to the right of the escalator and wondering if you will enjoy a pleasantly seated 15 minute ride or an hour long death march.
It's just the same with life. We're not entirely enamoured with the trip but what's the alternative? Fuck all is what so quit your whining. Just stand to the right, don't make eye contact and hope that, today, the train will be empty, the seats will be free and you can make it to your stop without weeping bitterly onto your Oyster card and wishing imminent death on yourself and others.


Anonymous said...

I said I loved airports. I didn't mention anything specifically about loving travelling on planes, which, generally, I don't.

L x

Dave said...

I think you need more sleep Kate :) Great to have you blogging again but...