They probably already know some of the story, but the established press, the disposable freebies, the iPad-enabled newsstands and reading over a neighbour’s shoulder will bring us all a little closer to the full tragedy of his death.
And yet only the tiny minority might express any reaction or emotion to it for the length of their commute. Sure, we’ll start talking once we’ve arrived in the office. It may not amount to the sincerity of mourning, but at least in the workplace there’s a semblance of sharing. In a commuter carriage we share silence.
In the UK depression affects 1 in 5 older people and British men are three times as likely to commit suicide as British women. Gary Speed’s death, the nature of it – suicide by a man respected in his field at the top of his profession – has caused shockwaves and, if these statistics are to be believed, has no doubt hit a very personal nerve among many people across the country.
I find it disconcerting that strangers will come together on occasions to mourn, to protest, to celebrate, but strangers brought together by this particular circumstance do not. The commute can be a lonely place, made lonelier still by the constraints of etiquette. Or is this just my experience?