7:45 Z-Commuter Apocalypse

Southeast rail platform to London Victoria
Southeast rail platform to London Victoria

The quiet expectations for arrival of the 7:45am to Victoria waits the haunting statues of the regular commuter.

Few sounds break the audible absence; the fitful turning of today’s news rags imparting fleeting knowledge to be overturned by the events of tomorrow. Then the rhythmic click-clack of a secretary’s heels. She makes her presence known even to the audibly impaired by her Yves Saint Laurent scent left drifting in her wake.

A half-shaven buck makes his appearance in his tie-less suited uniform, blue-striped shirt and creased leather, partly polished black shoes. He’s trying to look the part of the casual entrepreneur, but exposed to the experienced is the imperfectly hidden nervousness of a deer picking up the scent of a predator, not knowing yet which direction the threat will come.

The rest of the zombie clan are old hands, from computer geeks to marketing consultants to ‘business people’. They all have the characteristic casual assurance of those long exceeding the limit beyond which things are a novelty.

The moment is broken when a woman sprays her large silver hair. She sits alone on the opposite platform, the atomised elixir of infidelity condensing around her in the near windless morning air like a swarm of wrathful grey micro-bees. They slowly drift down the platform as one, taking their time to dissipate.

She’s not ‘one of us’, she’s going the ‘other way’. Away from ‘our world’. A misfit, a lost soul – a loser. She looks like she feels that way, awkward and averting our eyes in case we are laying judgement to her subordinate existence.

Of course nobody is looking, or cares, but we know she’s there. It’s like an innate loser radar. She’s not ‘one of us – one of us’. It’s the chant of the mindless, worn down commuter, edges eroded away until our distinctiveness is gone.

I wonder whose platform is really the better?

Ours of course. We are the majority. We are the zombie commuter apocalypse and we are not only here, we are established and the ‘others’ know it. They only wish they could be ‘one-of-us’.


Do you jot down your spare moments of observation?…


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