Sunday Column (272)

I thought I write about something called commute. I spend about 3 hours each day in commute to and from work. An hour on the train and between 20 and 30 minutes on the tube. Most days the train is a few minutes late resulting in me hitting tube rush hour, delaying things.

Those days I think about using a Boris bike or a foldable bike. Yet I cannot be bothered with that hassle to be honest. Then I would probably get used to it as you do with anything in life.

If I say I enjoy the commute, what I mean is that I like the ”me’ time, 50 minutes of time I can read, listen to music, write this blog etc. each way! And using the Gatwick Express you meet some characters, people coming into London from holidays or business trips. Relaxed, stressed, devastated, joyful. I see them all.

It might sound a bit sentimental, yet I took a step back the other day and watched people on the train, escalator to the tube, behaviour in the tube etc. Asian, black, white, red, black….London is so amazingly diverse. Different accents, attitudes, lots of tourists yet lots of people working and living here. You sometimes forget the attraction of this city. Muslim, Christian, Buddhist – all that doesn’t seem to matter. There is a buzz in London, and looking into the different faces you realise, they all have their own parcel/problems to carry/deal with. The greater unconscious makes us share most burden, Mr. Jung, doesn’t it?

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One thing I couldn’t do the commute without are my Bose noise cancellation headphones. Them on and I don’t hear a word. If someone wants to sit next to me, they have to tap on my shoulder. That happens a lot, I am in my own world, chilling, listening to music, watching movies. The other thing is my iPad. Without it, despite having a laptop, I wouldn’t write my blog, read my books on the Kindle app etc. and have all productivity tools needed in reach.

On Friday my journey home took 3 hours alone. Someone jumped in front of the train. This is very sad, and Twitter was full of people making sure there are no rude comments. No one wants to be rude. Of course it is a tragedy every time someone dies, voluntarily or not. Of course it is a question of society whether there was enough help for this person, if it could have been prevented or not. Yet, it is a horrible thing to do: to jump in front of a train on purpose (I am not talking accidents here which happen too frequently also). The effects are not only on the person deciding to kill themselves but it has an impact on the train driver, the emergency workers, and of course on the commuters.

No question it was a pain to endure bus replacement services, wait, lack of information (which is really badly handled by Southern Trains) and the long commute home. And of course we got home, the person that jumped in front of the train didn’t. It is considered rude to even think that the person messed up a few lives, as mentioned above, and caused a lot of hassle to the commuters.

I do feel compassion for the person. I am sad that someone couldn’t get enough help and didn’t see enough value in living, to actually kill themselves. This is horrible. This is awful. Yet, I also believe that this way of going is one of the worst and selfish ways to go. And I can’t help but speaking out loud, knowing for well I am not the only one thinking the same.

The following TED talk is interesting, talking about suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. And it shows: it is preventable.

It made me think what I can do to help. What can I do to prevent this from happening. It made me – and surely a lot of others – think how we can make a difference in our society, how we can help others, and prevent these things from happening. We should be grateful for what we have. Our prayers going out to the people affected. All of them.

This past week I also went to Munich. A different commute. Still loaded with feelings for my fatherland, I walked the streets of Munich at night. It was nice. Seeing that Munich is doing well, Germany is doing well, becoming more international. Yet, I let go of comparing between my life and a possible life in Germany. I made my choice. I enjoyed my trip despite the red eye flight out of Gatwick.

This closed a great week. I look forward to a few days off. Well deserved I’d say 😉 Time to let go and relax.

Have a great week,
Volker