I sat in Clapham Junction the other day in Café Nero at 6pm, at the exit to the station and managed to resist the urge to write, read, call, fiddle and instead just watch.
In the half-hour I was there, thousands and thousands of people went past – streaming back to their home lives after a day ‘at work’. It was as if the Rolling Stones were doing a free concert outside, or Scarlett Johanssen was doing an impromptu burlesque show.
Sadly, it was neither but instead just a normal day.
It struck me how singularly unusual our behaviour is and yet how quickly we become used to it. I had the urge, fortunately unrequited, to do a little dance for them, or strip naked and do some cartwheels, if only to shake this tide of humanity disgorging from the working world. (Perhaps that would have been a good incentive to head back to work).
So many looked so similar – their haircuts, their outfits, their facial expressions. Given Clapham’s demographic, we’re talking educated, intelligent and creative people.
How is it that it has become normal to work from 9-6, or thereabouts? Who invented the tie and what functional purpose does it serve other than being a flap of material that indicates you are smarter than the next person without one? When did heels become attractive? Most importantly, why would you spend all day in a job you don’t enjoy in order to earn enough money to join a sea of other people back to an expensive neighbourhood?
I’m pretty sure if there was a straw-poll, 80% of those hustling and hurtling past would admit that they weren’t doing what they dreamed they’d be doing.
So why don’t more people feed their ties into their shredders, move somewhere a little cheaper and become musicians, poets, potters, painters, writers, farmers, lovers, dancers and harness and express their individual selves?
I have no idea and these thoughts were not new. And so, I collected my disguise, in the form of a suit jacket and my own sensible haircut, and filed out to become instantly lost amongst them.
Just please remember – follow your internal path and judgement, rather than simply collate that of those around you or you too will lose yourself.