It appears I might have been a little too understanding of the striking tube drivers yesterday. I had some sympathy. Fair enough, I thought, it’s a shitty job. You essentially live in a tunnel. You spend all day leaning on a lever, endlessly aiming a great hulk of crusty metal forward, and then back again.
But, after stepping through the gates of hell into the chaos that was Clapham Junction this morning – I decided to give the water-skiing and cycle riot a miss, in the end – any sympathy I might have had is dead and buried. In short, I’ve given it some more thought, and now I’m angry.
I knew things were going to end badly when I arrived at the station to be confronted by a crowd. A big one, baying for blood. The law was there. The gates were closed and people were manically waving their Oyster cards at beleaguered TFL staff like some sort of magical Get Out Of Jail Free cards. Some people were having actual fights. Eventually, they shut the station.
However, possibly the most harrowing moment, from a personal perspective, was that, due to the squeeze, a pot of fruit salad burst in my bag. A pot of fruit salad I wouldn’t have even bought if I’d been able to get on the train I wanted to get on. But that was too busy. Because of the strike. So to waste time I bought an overpriced tub of itty-bitty little pieces of tropical fruit, and now it’s splashed all over my stuff.
Yesterday, I had no idea how much a tube driver earns. Today, thanks to a dash of research (Twitter) I’ve learned that most of these guys take home £40k. Forty! For a year of leaning unenthusiastically on a ‘go’ switch.
I don’t earn that much in a year. I can’t strike, either. But I do have to turn up for my job, which is made a whole lot more difficult if the selfish tunnel-dwellers don’t turn up for theirs.
Armed with this new and shocking information, I started to imagine a grim scenario involving every single member of TFL staff becoming trapped in a grisly, Creep-style situation, helplessly fleeing from a serial killer deep in the tunnels of Charing Cross station.
It’s funny how something as small as having bits of squashed pineapple in your iPod can completely change your opinion of a situation.