Piccadilly paradox

The other day travel news reported severe delays on the Piccadilly line.

Not in itself unusual.

However, the postscript revealed that the severe delays were due to a shortage of trains.

Where did they go?

Is someone scratching their head, muttering "I'm sure they were there last night"?

Maybe someone forgot to lock the train shed doors and they slipped away for an adventure of their own? Right now, they're chuffing along on the outer reaches of the Metropolitan line – gone for a day out in Amersham.

Maybe someone parked them all in the wrong siding and train drivers are meandering all over Cockfosters calling for their lost trains?… "Fenton!"

Maybe the fat controller said "park them at Harrow" and was misheard? Trains are right now queued up at Heathrow instead.

Anyone seen the trains?

I hope they're found before Monday.

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eight lanes of human behaviour

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Sixteen lanes of human madness. Eight lane highways, thrusting themselves across the city, carrying life, human life, on their personal journeys. That’s what driving in Los Angeles introduces you to. Each vehicle driven; each driven differently, each by a different human being. And as cars move around me, I wonder about etiquette and behaviour on the motorway and how it matches our personal life view?

How do you travel life’s highway? And how does this reflect on your interaction and awareness of other human beings? What does it say about who you are?

Do you stay in your ‘usual’ lane, resolute in your direction and journey, if somewhat oblivious to those fellow human beings around you? You are in your lane, your space, your world. It’s all about you. If anyone else wants to get by, that’s their problem. Life’s a daydream.

Do you tailgate others, keen to get past, to speed on your way, to dominate the road? Do you pressure them, unnerve them, drive them out of your way? The horn works. Maybe you’re loud too? Does aggression and pressure show up in your life?

Do you change lanes without warning? No indication given. Expecting others to second guess your direction and take appropriate avoiding action? Are you unpredictable? Do you have a mind of your own, which others must simply adjust to, if they are to avoid a collision?

Do you undertake? Breaking rules to get ahead? Surprise people by coming up on the inside track? Take advantage of the spaces left by the ‘my lane’ drivers? You’ll get ahead, whatever the consequences, whatever rules need to be broken. You’re a winner, come what may.

Do you attend to other matters whilst driving? Text, call, make-up, shave? Are you easily distracted in life? Multitasking, you might call it. But perhaps struggling to focus might be a criticism from others? Trying to do too much? Often behind. Often overworked. Always seeking to catch up with the outstanding tasks? “Ooh look… a peanut in the glovebox from last week.”

Do you switch lanes regularly? Seeking an advantage over others when the going is slow or sticky? Attempting to outwit your fellow travellers; rejoicing perhaps in the small gains made? You can sniff an opportunity. One-upmanship perhaps a guiding quality.

Maybe you drive with your lights full beam? You need to see far ahead; see what the journey brings. Your desire to do so though, blinds others on life’s highway. They are left dazzled as you come up behind them, or dazzled as you charge towards them. The vision matters more to you than their ability to see it.

Or do you steadfastly follow the rules? Driving always within the law? Driving safely and without risk? Driving within your means? Measured. Predictable. Safe. Courteous to other road users, but often overlooked, missed, unnoticed.

Maybe it’s time to change your driving habits? Not just in the car.

travelling how?

travelling through life

How do you travel through life?

Do you roll, like a smooth pebble; always moving, rolling ever onwards to the sea?

Do you dance like a starling at dusk, part of the whirling, ever changing murmuration?

Do you drift like a cloud, morphing as life’s winds blow?

Do you dive like a kingfisher, arrowed and true, breaking the surface for what lies beneath?

Do you set your SatNav to avoid the tolls, so that life is trouble free and scenic?

Do you let life come to you, like the leaf of a tree, mellowing through the seasons?

Do you run like the prey, staying safe and ever alert to dangers?

Do you hunt like the predator, opportunistic and meeting your needs?

Do you melt slowly like a sugar cube, sweetening your surroundings?

Do you float on a cloud of your perpetual dreams and imagination?

Do you travel light, ready to soar on an upward current of unexpected breeze rising from life’s hot desert?

Do you speed like a train, sure of your path, keen to remain on track and to get there quickly?

Do you skate like a water boatman; surfacing all, never diving deep?

Do you build stepping stones across the fast flowing river, sure of your place as the current rushes between your feet?

Do you stay in the pack, travelling where the pack goes, hidden within?

Do you fall like a snowdrop, gently drifting in life’s beauty until you melt away?

Do you sway like tall grass, whispering to the grasses around you?

Do you shine like a sun ray; enlightening, growing and warming those you touch?

How do you travel through life?

 

the formative journeys of a shared t-shirt dream

we share a dream

When we travel, we are sometimes physically apart from those we are most connected to. Family. Friends. Yet physical connections are only one way we share our lives.

This amazing t-shirt display at Buffalo International Airport (the picture only shows half) is an installation by Kaarina Kaikkonen, who works with large amounts of clothing to alter our perception of our shared spaces and shared lives. The 1000 t-shirts, which are tied together, were donated by the people of western New York. The linking of the shirts signals our movements together – the daily commutes, the migratory moments of our travels and the formative journeys we take in our lives.

It is called ‘We share a dream’.

Nice thought Kaarina.

destination unknown, journey blind…

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When I join a motorway, board a train, get on a bus, I don’t notice where it ends, where it terminates. I merely check if it’s going to my stop. Perhaps you do the same?

Some days, I get a bus from the train station in London to work. I know which buses go there. I have made this journey for several years. I pay scant attention to where the bus is headed though, beyond my disembarking point. It trundles off, my use of it complete. My journey is bounded by what I know. By start and end. By familiarity.

Earlier this week I was working elsewhere for a few days and discovered the same bus went there; I just needed to stay on it for another twenty minutes.

Now my normal journey has more context  I can imagine the onward journey in my mind. I still don’t know where the final destination of my bus is, but more is known to me and so strangely the bus has more life, more character, more relevance. I am somehow more connected.

Life is like that.

We know where our next port of call is. We become familiar with the small repeat journeys we make. But we find it hard to see beyond; to see the context of the whole journey, to see where we are headed. To know a destination.

I am travelling abroad now for seven weeks. I have a planned route and know where I will end up. Yet I don’t know where I’m going still; in that the terrain is all new, the environment totally strange to me, everything is to be discovered on route. Nothing is familiar. Nothing on repeat.

Sometimes life is like that too.

gone for good

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Trolley points. You know, places where you return a trolley and get your money back. You find them in car parks, on train stations, in airports. You’ve made use of the trolley as part of your journey. It served a purpose and now you’re done with it. So you can return it to a tidy spot and be reimbursed. It’s gone for good.

On life’s journey we collect stuff too, but there’s not usually somewhere handy to leave it when you’re done. You end up storing it in your head. Sometimes it comes back out and trips you up, or slows you down. Sometimes you try and lock it away in a ‘cupboard’ in a corner of your brain. You know you don’t need it, or want it again. It has served its purpose on your journey. But it won’t stay there; it keeps on returning. Like a runaway trolley hitting your shins.

Trolley point anyone?