The London Underground

Below are some absolute gems on commuting.  

First, the etymology of “commute” Americanized: 

The word crossed over to use in a railway context in the US, where regular travellers began to swap day tickets for better-value season tickets; they “commuted” their daily tickets into season tickets. 

Second, the concept of commuting as a “third place” to get stuff done away from home and work.  

It was a new kind of time in the day: an interstitial mental space between home life and work.

And thirdly, the article explains how commuting via train is a mysteriously personal and more peaceful experience than any other commute:   

And that, perhaps is why people go quiet in the underground. It’s the only time we experience a combination of 21st-century technology (the trains), 19th-century technology and vision (the tunnels, the network) and our paleolithic deep self. A person on the underground is experiencing the rare chance to be a 21st-century Victorian caveman.

I’m working on a book right now that compares how riding the train predicts many of the everyday things we see in life.  Life is the insides of the train in slow motion.      

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By Wells Baum

Wells Baum is a daily blogger who writes about Life & Arts. He's also the author of and four books.