“When all is said, its atmosphere (England’s) still contains fewer germs of aggression and brutality per cubic foot in a crowded bus, pub or queue than in any other country in which I have lived.” Arthur Koestler
The London Underground or the Tube/the Underground was my favorite mode of transportation during school holidays. Sure, we took the occasional cabbie for outings and hopped the bus, from time to time, but the underground was the fastest way to get around… When I started my first summer job at a Bank on Cheapside, I would quickly take the tube from Golders Green Station on the Northern Line towards Morden to Bank Monument/Bank Underground Station, a mere 29 minutes ride. Then I’d walk from the station in my high heels, a teen favorite, tottering along in my youthful exuberance and hoping not to fall head first on the pavement.
While the tube was fast, the actual walk from Bank to the office was a good 10-15 minutes in heels, and I’d often arrive sweaty and sore. As time went by, I had to choose another way to get there without hurting myself. It made sense to bus it and hop off closer to the office. Plus, the tube was always quite crowded in the mornings anyway, and everyone seemed frazzled and rushed…
“I’d rather go by bus.” Prince Charles
Once I realized it would make sense to just take the bus, I gathered all the information I needed from the London Transport booth, and decided on one main route and an alternate. I could hop on the Route Bus 13 by Golders Green Station towards Aldwych Buses every: 5 – 6 minutes, sit on it through FINCHLEY ROAD NW3 – routes 13 82 113 328 N13: and OXFORD STREET: routes 6 7 10 13 23 73, switch buses at Trafalgar Square/Charing Cross and take the Route Bus 15 from Stop: F towards Blackwall Station leaving every: 8 minutes. Then get off and walk from the Cannon Street Stop: MB to Bank or stay on a bit to get closer to the office on Cheapside.
It took all of 1 hour and 25 minutes, and I could snooze, look out the window or eavesdrop on early morning conversations about the usual suspects in horrible office dramas. I made a few acquaintances and even met a couple for lunch, but the joy of the bus ride was the sites and sounds outside. Periodic glimpses out the window offered a parade of sharply dressed Londoners anxiously marching ahead to work. I would memorize a scarf, a colored hat, the cut of a jacket to go hunting for later… The street was my runway, the bus my seat at the fashion show. And then, I almost killed myself…but I digress.
With the impending hurricane, I might be offline till Monday… I will follow up on comments when feasible. Posts were already scheduled. Stay safe all! 😉 More Below.
“He thought he saw a Banker’s Clerk/ Descending from the bus:/ He looked again, and found it was/ A Hippopotamus./ `If this should stay to dine,’ he said, / `There won’t be much for us!’” Lewis Carroll
One day, I was in a hurry to get off the bus and since I had watched the female conductor hop off the moving bus for weeks, I thought I could do it. She made it look easy and so I thought, why not, just hop off and get to Cheapside. Before the bus could come to a halt, I waved goodbye to her and went careening off the bus, hitting the pavement hard and banging up my knees. She sounded the bus alarm, the driver jerked to a stop and she proceeded to yell at me for trying to become her first fatality in 15 years on the job.
I told her I was imitating what she made look easy. “Cor Blimey mate, you bloody idiot! It took me 15 years to learn to hop off! ” Yep, I learned a life long lesson that day… The bus to Cheapside might be a breeze but hoping off a moving bus takes 15 years. What are your thoughts? What public transportation story do you remember? Why has it stayed with you? Do share! Thank you. 😉
This post was inspired by a prompt from WP Plinky: Remember that one time on the bus, when…? Share your mass transit stories.
Positive Motivation Tip: Important events in our lives don’t often come in big spurts, but in small moments of instant recognition offering memories of a long lasting lesson.
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All Photos Piccadilly line, Underground sign at Westminster, London Bus 13, London Bus route 15, Busy Bus & Tube stop, via Wikipedia. Terrific resource from – London Transport