Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Londerground

I have been a participant of the world's most efficient public transport for about a month now.  I'm just a baby to this world of the some times scary, sometimes strange, underground, but I think my love for this place has finally entered my cautious heart.

I'm not sure when it happened, my appreciation for the tube, but it did.  It could have been the irony of the classical music played over loudspeakers in Brixton station where I live (notorious for it's drug solicitation and prostitution), as if to force class into the manner of the homeless, hustlers, and most unlikely: busy people who are all convinced that their schedule is more rushed, more important, and more urgent than their neighbor they are shoving out of the way to get onto the train first.  Yes, it could have been all these beautiful displays of humanity but I think it was last week on my lunch break, waiting for the train to take off when a rather large, blind man got on (heaven bless the blind people who brave the underground on a day-to-day basis).  He made his way along the mostly empty row of chairs and, of course, sat in the one already occupied by a very small Asian man.  

As this wonderful scene unfolded before my eyes, I was thinking about those times in life when one witnesses such pure, real-life comedy that it's almost a tragedy to be alone, not able to share with someone else.  This was nothing like that.  I stifled private laughter the duration of the ride and then all the way to work, and then yet again when I relayed the story to my less-bemused sister.  

Now, the mornings when I'm pressed up against hair that smells like fish, or a coat that smells like the Salvation Army, I remember that Asian man scrambling for his life, and I can think to myself how much I love the underground:  Slime, smell and smog, all laced with a laugh.