So as I've moved home recently I have gone back to the good, old tube commuting. It's not as bad as the old house in Fulham, which entailed no less than one bus and two tube lines, but still it's not the same as simply walking five minutes to the office. What are the main differences?
Well the first thing you notice is the shift in the politeness and courtesy levels across the two options.
When you walk to work, you are on the side of the road, and it's all about checking if someone is coming the opposite way: if a bloke comes your way you have to check the space on the walkway between the parked cars and garden walls / fences, and prepare to shift and wait for the other to pass, triggering a profusion of "thank you / cheers" which are to be returned back, preferably while nodding and/or smiling slightly. If then there is a lady, or some elderly person or a kid you need to be even more careful and possibly stop between two cars to let them pass. Most of the times when they notice your courtesy they will speed up their walk to cope with your kindness and ensure that you are not waiting too much to let them pass.
On the tube you still get some degree of politeness but it's more the exception rather than the rule: it's a free-for-all race to gather the few sitting places available. You have to employ all the strategy you are capable of and watch out for the typical signs (often hardly discernible) that someone is about to stand up and get off at the next stop, freeing up a valuable seat that you may exploit util your destination. At the same time you have to watch out the other predators which populate the ecosystem of the carriage, and which are as eager as you on gaining the privilege of a seating place or, if not available, one of the standing corners. You need to act fast and decisively, any hesitation usually costs you the seat or, even worse, losing a good position you conquered with tactical moves across the last two stops and which you eventually gave up, in an attempt to reach that damn seat.
A good thing of the Tube is the time you have to do something that would be quite difficult doing while walking such as, for instance, reading a book. The phone is usually okay on the walkway too, although it may result in bumping over some granny carrying three or four Sainsbury's bags full of produce, causing great discontent and shame upon yourself.
And you? What are your thought about commuting?