To: <recipient list supressed>
Subject: Despatch From A Tube Strike
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 09:31:58 +0100
Another year in London, another fracking Tube strike.
Central London this morning was another gallimaufry of perambulating pedestrians, big-backpack-bouncing joggers, squirrely cyclists, barrelling motorists (who haven’t taken their cars out since the last trip to the Cotswolds), and top-heavy buses that looked like those third-world jeepneys with 62 people piled on, plus parcel and chickens.
I strapped on the running kit, plus the loaded-up airframe backpack, plugged in the headphones and headed off at modest loping pace. Jogged (so to speak) north to Kensington Gardens, then straight-ish shot East through the Royal Parks.
- 40% of my commute time (or so it certainly seemed) was spent jogging in place like a tool – waiting for Mississippis of motorists to rage through intersections where the lights never, ever, fracking changed.
- The bloody cyclists who blasted in and among and around everything and everyone, thinking they owned both the streets and the paths. (Granted, a lot of these are surely guys who cycle-commute every day of the year, and are very justifiably brassed off at the legions of amateurs clogging their route this one day out of the year.)
- Improvising a route through St. James’ Park and realising, at a certain point, that it involved hurdling fences of the sort which I normally have no problem hurdling but today I weighed about 120% of my normal weight, with the pack.
- The straight shot through the Royal Parks: once I got to Kensington Gardens, it was Hyde Park -> Green Park -> St James’ Park -> Victoria Embankment Gardens, then I was basically at my building.
- Relatedly, I’m back just up the street from Trafalgar Square, so it was like 3-4 miles this time, versus 6-ish when I was working in the City.
- Feeling the overload on my legs from the extra weight, and finally getting warmed up and hitting my stride in St. James’ Park, and taking my direct and immediate and enthusiastic inspiration from the scene in Generation Kill (which not only actually happened, but was re-enacted by the actual guy) when “Fruity” Rudy “I Can Get Away With Being This Metrosexual In The Marine Corps Because I’m Also A Martial Arts Champion And Can Kick The Shit Out Of Any Or All Of My Platoon-Mates” (also “My Hero”) Reyes loads up his ruck with rocks, then puts on his gas mask, then hefts his loaded M4, and goes out and runs laps around the FOB in 115-degree heat, passing the Marines who are running in shorts and t-shirts, and (this is me again, after taking my inspiration from Rudy Reyes) pounding heavily and speedily through the park passing people left and right and then sprinting and air-drumming wildly to the instrumental version of Blue Stahli’s “Scrape” – Get the Flash Player to see this player. – as I crossed over Whitehall.
The attached is what I looked like when I got here.
That’s it, I think.