Friday, 27 August 2010

Getting to work #3 - on the road

I'm not sure if this feature will extend beyond this, the third installment. How else do people get to work, Unicycle? Hovercraft? Jetpack?

Back to business, or rather how you get to your place of business.

You might be surprised to learn to 40% of commuter journeys in London are made by car (National Travel Survey). This doesn't even include buses, and shows that not all of us are poor sods have to spend 10 hours a week underground hating the f*** out of everyone else just for being there.


Here is some behaviour and characters that you may well recognise if you spend your mornings en route to work behind the wheel, or on the bus:

Lairy bus drivers - I love a good lairy bus driver. Someone who thinks, 'My bus is massive, I am in command of London's traffic'. They might lean out the window to shout abuse at another motorist, high five another bus driver, or sit reading a newspaper and eating a currant bun whilst at traffic lights. Beware, have the correct change when boarding!

Schmohawks - drivers who don't know whether to move into a space in traffic or not. They are too tentative and timid for London driving. They'll hold up everyone by inching into a huge gap and then flashing profusely to say thank you. The adrenaline and nervous energy is likely to make them stall at the next junction.

Chav schoolkids on the bus - However much you are above them in terms of intellect, social standing and respectability, they will find a way to embarrass you with purile comments that have no comeback. Either that or you'll feel like a pussy for not reprimanding them whilst they screech away on their hoot-pieces gassing about Akon, Tynchy Strider or New Look and stuff.

Flip floppers - Drivers who change their mind every 10 seconds. Likely to be lost and indicating just for fun. Getting stuck behind one can put the fear of God into you.

Angry taxi man - already finished reading the Sun cover to cover by 8:30 a.m. and you are in his way of a good morning fry up. If only all of these smarmy commuters would stop getting in and giving him a fayre he could get some good quality loitering done. Angry taxi man has an 11 a.m. appointment to read Viz and a 12 a.m. call up LBC radio to make a borderline racist comment that foreigners are taking British jobs. At 2p.m. he'll talk to Steve (another cabbie) about Chelsea's chances of league success and get to the West End in time to fleece some tourists in the early evening.

Left leaners - no, not people who will vote for Gordon Brown no matter what state the economy is in. These are people who inexplicably drive 2 cm from the left curb whilst the rest of traffic stays a good meter out. Are they scared of oncoming traffic, or do they have one arm longer than the other causing them to steer to the left?

Embarrassed suits - for some, getting the bus to work is cheaper, and quicker than getting the tube. On certain routes, you see quite a few suits on their way to the office. But there is still a terrible stigma attached to 'getting the bus'. It's what people on the dole do. It's what chav schoolkids do, and all the drivers are power crazed bun gobblers. They pretend that they're down with getting the bus, its green and cool yeah? All of these people wish for the tube every day, and that's saying something.

Commercial radio luvvies.- normal car commuters who love the radio a little too much. 'Ooh I can't wake up without Johnny and Lisa on Capital FM'. 'I'm a long time listener and regular caller'. 'Nothing relaxes me more than lovely Neil Fox's fat throat chuffing out burbling bullshit at 7a.m.' If Spencer Tracy were in a movie about Commercial radio luvvies it would be called 'It's a smug smug smug smug world'.
Beepers - It's fairly simple. You don't after need to beep 0.2 seconds after the light. Some people sit there with there hand over the horn willing people in front of them not to go. 'Don't go. Forget to drive, don't pay attention to the lights, I dare you! I'm going to beep hell out of you, your eardrums won't know what hit them. It'll be like getting hit with a frying pan full of hot mustard right between your stupid inattentive eyes.

Baby on board - I'm convinced half of these signs are fakes (like putting a house alarm case on display on your front wall). Do they really make that much difference anyway? Oooohhh that person has got a baby in their car at all times (even when parked?!?), I'm definitely not going to ram them now. In fact I'm going to get out at the next traffic light an kick off the bumper of every car which doesn't have a lovely baby in it.

Well, I've got to get up at 5 a.m. tomorrow to drive to Poole for a wedding. It's not mine Mum, don't worry. I won't be listening to commercial radio, ramming any parents off the road or being a general Schmohawk.

Have a good bank holiday, I'll see you all on the other side.