I’m watching my Twitter stream. It’s commuter confessional time, somewhere between 6.30 and 8.30, when a good half the tweets are transport commentary. The other half concern the breakfast beverage – usually slurped in a mad dash at some Starbucks in the local station – or the correct attire for the day – it’s a two sock day today, apparently, don’t want to catch our death waiting at the bus stop – or it’s the standard rant over some hapless half-wit on the Today programme – and what better way to start the day than with some non-directed seething rage. That sets you up good and proper for a calm and civilised journey into work.
The most noticeable thing about transport tweets is how they are generally negative. People seem to enjoy sharing tales of commutes gone wrong. Surely it can’t all be true. Mostly we exaggerate, elaborate, and fabulate in order to make our story more interesting. Simply, in fact, people lie. We lie about transport worse than we lie about sex. Was the traffic jam really that big? Was the train really that noisy, dirty and bone-shakingly raucous that you got to work so exhausted you couldn’t concentrate? Did the Number 53 bus really take so long to get there that you have renamed it the Tantric line? No, but telling it taller makes us feel better, I admit I do it all the time. And there are limitless variations on the stock tale of transport tribulation.
When you tell your doctor how much you drink in a week they add a nought and times it by two. When someone tells me they waited an hour for the bus I do the same, but in reverse.
Maybe this week we could buck the trend and have a few more positive stories about how transport enhances our lives, gives us more opportunities, makes us happier? Or at least some more honest stories … or is it really all about waiting at bus stops, getting stuck in tunnels, and rude and objectionable drivers whose sole aim and delight in life is to make you late for work?