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Flickr / Pedro Figueiredo

Five things you learn when you commute for over an hour a day

Written by
Alex Foch

With the average Londoner's commute being widely quoted at an hour, we simply have to accept that commuting is yet another bodily process - like eating or sleeping. Here's what you can expect when you have the privilege of the long commute. 

1. Let's face it. You'll never pluck up the courage to utter a word to the elite group of regulars at your bus stop, but you'll know them inside out. The holidays in the Algarve, the last time they got in a tiff with their partner, their Friday shirt that never has its collars ironed. Believe me, you’ll get cold turkey when they're not around.

2. As a hardened veteran, you'll have ceased caring about your music blatantly filling the tube carriage. Remember the kids that drowned out the upper deck of the bus with polyphonic ringtones? You’ve become the adult version, with those guilty pleasures on your shuffle conveniently doubling in volume whenever the train stops. Cue a series of incredulous death stares reacting to the Madonna powerballad blaring at Borderline ear-splitting levels. 

Flickr / Stephen Bartels

3. Your favourite seat in your carriage of choice has been nabbed by your arch-nemesis Banking 'Big-Wig' Barry for the second time this week and your nostrils are millimetres away from a sodden armpit. All is not lost, as you're armed with a predatory instinct for predetermining when seated passengers will disembark. A subtle wandering eye, earmark of the romantic thriller or drop of the shoulder indicate movement. It also can’t hurt to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of which type of people get off where.

4. Future generations of tube dwellers will possess steel elbows to attack and defend the prime battleground known as the tube arm rest, undoubtedly the inspiration for Darwin's 'Origin of Species'. Not even Sun Tzu’s 'Art of War' could prepare you for the passive-aggressive power struggle that brightens up or mars a majority of commutes. Line your stomach with Berocca and cod liver oil and you'll be golden.

5. Being in a perpetual state of fatigue, mastering the craft of the five minute doze anywhere imaginable is imperative. This phenomenon, pioneered by the sardines of the Tokyo Metro, has surfaced in the Big Smoke. Beware of exceeding those magic five minutes or chances are you’ll end up in Morden, and no one deserves that.

Check out ten things you learn from commuting beyond 3.

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