Thanks to the flexible hours of my job (which I love), I haven’t been on a rush hour tube for a long time. One day after a radio interview with NTS live, I boarded a crowded train during rush hour. You know the scene; the one where you’re squashed in between several people, trying not to breathe in someone’s armpit or get a mouthful of someone else’s hair and you wriggle about to avoid bum contact with a stranger you can’t see behind you.
Amongst that, I was glowing in the glory of being on radio and wanted to tell someone. Do you know I’ve just come from a radio interview? I read out a poem of mine? No one looking at me would know.
It struck me then that the stranger whose elbow is digging into my back could be someone who has just got off TV. That person on my side could be a scientist who risks contracting killer virus every day. The person whose hair I’m trying not to eat could be a doctor who saved a life today.
The point is I don’t know their stories. Or they mine. Because of this tradition of people not talking to each other on the tube.
Everyone has stories. The people in front of me suddenly became human shaped containers of words that told their story. Cancer survivor. Husband at war frontline. Achieved a promotion. Just had her heartbroken. Recently saw the wonders of the world. Worried about debts. Is overjoyed at expecting his first child.
It occurred to me then, someone should do a TubeTalk Campaign. Change the shift so that a train will be like a friendly cafe where people talk to each other. Who knows who you could meet that way? Your next diehard customer. Writing partner. Someone whose life you’d transform with your expertise. Your next career. Best friend. The love of your life. Expanding your horizon by talking to people who’d never be in your contacts circle. A laugh. Or just a good conversation.
What do you think? And if you agree, how would you make this Tube Talk Campaign work?