OK. So it's not that late. It's only half past eleven. But it's late for me. It's certainly later that I'm usually on the tube. I know that London has a second "rush hour" around 11pm at night, but it's not something I experience all that often.
But tonight I was out with some work people over in West London and I headed off at a sensible time to make my way across town. One of the joys of living relatively centrally is that cabs don't break the bank. In all honesty I'm not out that often, and so getting a cab home from the centre of town is so rare it's affordable. But not tonight. Not all the way from Shepherd's Bush.
So I plodded my way through West London, Google Maps guiding the way, and ended up at White City. I jumped onto the Central Line and grabbed myself a seat. The carriage was mostly full of people lying along the seats, half asleep. But opposite me was a guy with a funky hair cut eating a bar of chocolate. He was looking around the carriage in a way which made me think he was going to strike up conversation.
But I'm British, so I buried myself in my phone, playing word games and Reversi and desperately avoiding eye contact. The carriage filled up as we headed east and soon the guy had two women sitting next to him. It wasn't long before he struck up conversation. He was French. A musician. He'd just split up with his girlfriend not long after buying her a £6k ring. But he was a successful musician and could afford it. I'm sure everyone was impressed. Then a weird thing happened. He pulled out his iPhone and started showing naked pictures of himself to the women. They weren't impressed. Of course, he had sinned as soon as he struck up conversation on public transport, so he was never going to win them back after that.
So the journey progressed and I changed at Bond St onto the Jubilee Line. In the same way you can tell which part of London you're in simply by looking at the people around you, it's possible to tell which tube line you're on by looking at the people around you. The Jubilee Line is much more familiar. But before I could get there, I came across someone committing a sin worse than "standing on the escalator . Worse even than "walking up the escalator and stopping about ten feet from the top so everyone behind has to stop, too". This was someone dawdling up the middle of the escalator. Worse than showing naked photos of yourself around a tube carriage, for sure.
But I survived the journey home. Safely through the busy carriages of the late night tube back home to Wapping. And now I should go to bed. Goodnight.