The long commute…


London Euston – Manchester (eta: 19.46)
Manchester – London Euston (eta: 21.35)

I had a looooooong commute home on Tuesday night. Just over 2 hours. My excitement at having a little plug port for my laptop, however, had not worn off by the time I lugged my bags and booty off the carriage at Euston.

This was a one-off for me and I relished the time to work and watch a little of the West Wing, but for a whole lot of people across the country it is cheaper to live several hours away from the city in which they work. It makes me wonder how they might rate their work/life balance.

With as much as four hours – perhaps more – a day spent in a train carriage, does that part constitute the work, the life or some state of limbo which has its own unique characteristics involving su doku puzzles, niche magazines and the risk of deep-vein thrombosis.

When people converse, particularly for the first time, the question “what do you do?” often comes up. There may be a discussion of hobbies, of family. Sometimes there may even be a brief exchange about commuting: “phew, that must be difficult, Leeds to London.” But this would not be explored any further, be taken to the next level – as one similarly would not when talking about family or work. Why is this?

Perhaps because the mysteries of someone’s commute, the habits and traditions they create to make the process more comfortable or tolerable, are sacred ground. Or perhaps because most people are not aware they exist…


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