Its back to the daily commute in its worst incarnation.  A six hours round trip that if my new role gets made permanent I shall be making daily.  So much for sanity.   

Train times are inconveniently spaced so that a frenetic dash from the office generally means arriving at Euston just in time to miss the my train and wait the 78 minutes until the next since someone decreed this to be the best solution to peak commuter demand.  So, penned up on the concourse the crowd thickens in that not quite eyeballing each other way as the announcements scroll their way gradually along the departures board as trains depart until the notice for my train is once again squashed stubbornly at the left hand side and still with no platform displayed.  As usual most of the later trains are neatly queued up with their passengers already ensconced in relative comfort.  Not mine.  Never this train.  I switch my attention between my paper and scanning the board alert to the little hiss of attention that precedes the mob surge towards the platform gate.  By the time the tannoy announcement comes the chance of a good seat will have gone. 

There is a neat little trick I have learned in these 78 minutes the last three weeks. As the announcements travel to the left of the board, so too the mob tends to drift along with it.  Invariably the train comes in on one of the right hand platforms.  Positioned neatly under the board at the front I am ready to be at the front of the surge as the mob lurches forwards.   First towards the train are the ‘I think I’m an alpha male’.  Almost exclusively men these guys literally sprint forwards swinging their laptop bags in a space clearing manner.  Generally I find I am in front of at least a couple of them and the temptation to slow my stride fractionally is irresistible.   

The sight of these guys clawing their way to the front of the queue to get the best seats, the ones with tables and laptop points to entertain themselves, bugs the hell out of me.   There is a subtle territory of space and negotiation that city inhabitants know well.  The not quite almost personal on the tube move your bloody elbow out of the half a centimeter from in front of my nose before I smack you with my bag and an insincere apology as I think that that woman will be getting off at the next stop and I will not move back as I want to be nearer that seat and I could not possibly be so indecorous to shove past you for it.   Brute strength is not permitted within the terms of that negotiation.  So at Euston my bag just happens to stick out just oh so slightly impeding these asses as they barge their way past.    And I still somehow beat them to an unreserved seat.  How?  Now that would be telling.