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Routine & Habit

October 5, 2011

Every morning my alarm sounds at exactly 06.00 and shortly afterwards a bright fluorescent light bulb splashes my face with unnatural morning light. After a brief encounter with the shower and a scrubbing of my teeth, comforting coffee greets my obliterated mint fresh taste buds.

A short car journey later I wait on platform 2 for the 07.12 National Express Service to London Liverpool Street, calling at Tottenham Hale and London Liverpool Street. As the sleep still clings to my face, I travel underground, clutching a copy of the Metro in my stride. Then for the next 40 minutes, browsing the morning pages with my iPod gently blocking out the sound of the metal clashes underneath my feet I enter into mental immersion. After a while I’ll emerge from underground with the days natural light blazing through the glass.

Mind the Gap.

Funny that I often think to myself. An almost maternal wave off wishing me well for the day; the gap is of course work.

Later on that day, after my second, third and fourth coffee; after my 10.30 banana; after logging in and shutting down; and after a full day of my fingers dancing across the keyboard it’s time to rejoin the same train that bought me here. It’s time for us to go back. Only this time everything is in reverse; that is of course apart from the routine. With the Evening Standard’s words now escalating off the page and that same music sending me back into total immersion the 40 minute journey begins again…

Auto Pilot kicks in. Once seated and plugged in the world carries on around me total oblivious. When I started commuting, I people watched, of course I did, it was fascinating then. But it’s not long before you realise nothing changes. On the surface, the people are slightly different, but underneath the smells are the same, as is the noise, the heat, the alienation and the busyness. All just people going to their next destination. Alone Together.

My mind has entered another place. Today I’m seated 4 stops later than usual because it’s busier here. Today the Evening Standard is longer than usual and it leads with a 3 page spread on Jack Wilshere. Today my music is wrong because for the first time in years I’m plugged into my iPhone not my iPod. Today I enter my personal space 4 stops later than usual. Today the routine is broken.

What’s Turnpike Lane?

The habit isn’t the same. I’m somewhere else. I’ve missed my stop. For routine only works if everything stays the same. Today something changed but my scheduled immersion stayed the same. What it means is, I’m not counting stops. What that means is Tube time is leisure time.

Eaten Today:

06.30 Toast
10.30 Banana, Grapes, Orange
13.30 Chicken Noodles and a Clementine
17.30 Biscuit and Scone with Jam
20.15 Spaghetti Bolognese followed by Ben & Jerry’s

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