Amid breaking news that the Supreme Court ruled the prorogation of Parliament unlawful, that Boris Johnson lied to the Queen and should resign as Prime Minister, the top trend on UK Twitter this Tuesday morning was “rain”. Simply: rain.
Since Brexit, there has been a dramatic spike in the number of people taking a pathetic fallacy view of the weather, interpreting anything that isn’t ‘mild, bit cloudy’ as a form of divine punishment for using Amazon Prime and voting in the Tories twice on the trot. BJ becoming Prime Minister during a heatwave? The sun trying to scorch us off the face of the earth for moral failure. Torrential rain to mark the announcement of his biggest misstep to date? Atmospheric water vapour conspiring to jet-spray us into oblivion, like sick off a pavement.
There is some truth to this, we really have fucked it quite spectacularly, but mainly: it’s raining now, and that’s annoying. So let’s join hands and discuss all the ways in which our journeys to and from work will suck now that it’s going to be wet for the next six to seven months!
There is nothing I enjoy more than a bus ride, especially a long one that allows you to take in a book or a podcast or – to be shockingly London-specific for a second – the view over Tower Bridge, which is essentially the only thing that convinces me not to fuck off to the countryside on behalf of my lungs and sanity. But for some reason, when it rains, the length of every bus journey doubles because British infrastructure, particularly in cities, is not made to deal with any type of weather but 'a bit cold,' and your hour’s worth of cross-city alone time in the morning becomes an arduous slog as about two vehicles per hour go through each set of red lights.
How bad this is for you, the bus passenger, depends on a number of factors. Firstly: how late you are and whether you care, and secondly, where you are positioned on the bus. If you’re upstairs – basically the yoga studio of the bus – then some added time on your journey isn’t the worst thing in the world. But if you’re downstairs – in the belly of the beast, fractious energy in the manner of a playgroup sparking around you as people get off and on and argue with the driver and shove each other and then someone with a pram uses it like a battering ram oh my god – extra bus time is not an enjoyable thing at all. Especially not when everyone who gets on is absolutely soaking and their arms drip on your hair as you sit there, wiping an indiscriminate blend of water and sweat off your face. Upstairs is a holiday resort by contrast, albeit one you are trapped inside for about half an hour longer than you planned, stuck next to someone in a suit reading your Twitter over your shoulder.
TRAIN, SUBCATEGORIES OF
The tube in the rain is even worse than the tube in a heatwave because everyone is soaking, grumpy and wearing an enormous coat. It’s also still boiling due to the fact that there are, like, 50x more bodies than normal because people who would otherwise walk, cycle or – godforbid – scoot, are forced down there against their will. Loads of people pass out on the Underground in the summer due to the lack of proper air conditioning, which is quite bad, but at least for the most part everyone just wants to get the fuck out of there so they can be blessed with the enriching kiss of the sun. In autumn and winter, the last thing anyone wants to do is go anywhere, least of all work, and we express our resentment about this by being more stroppy than usual about people taking up empty seats with their bags, not shuffling down the middle and wanting to murder anyone with a suitcase.
The London Overground is good because its stations are usually in areas that the Tube doesn’t serve, and that are generally more residential. It’s also good because its trains are larger and more spacious. Both of these positives, like most things in the UK including all modes of travel and my will to live, go to absolute shit when it rains. This is because rain, for Overground passengers, generally means every single person who needs to be in work for 9AM in a particular locale trying to cram into the same larger-than-Tube-sized-but-still-small space which is usually running on a delay (due to the aforementioned idiot baby infrastructure). Lovely in the summer though, lovely air conditioning.
- National Rail
The Train (proper) is the absolute worst form of transport to take in bad weather because any slight uptake in wind speed or rainfall causes a thousand signal failures across the UK, every departure time is replaced with hair-raising words such as 'delayed' and 'cancelled', and everyone is left stranded on cramped platforms in non-places like Barry or East Croydon with nothing to do but @ the train line on Twitter with a shit photo of the crowd and a caption about how they’re not going to have dinner until half 8 now.
I’ve never been on a tram during a commute, let alone a rainy one, but though it seems like the friendliest of all the metal travel tubes, it is also by far the least picturesque because it physically goes through the city centre. Nothing to set up your rainy Monday like speeding along next to House of Fraser and a Pret to make you feel like your capitalist pursuits are worth it!
I KNOW you are good and moral and saving the planet and I KNOW cycling is your personality babe, I know, I get it. But for one exceptionally rainy day, is it really worth getting splashed with dirt water by a double decker bus to the unabashed delight of bystanders? Is it worth the indignity of having to peel the wet Lycra off your skin like you yourself are some sort of stale banana-type entity when you get to work? I just think it might be worth reassessing, just for today.
No one over the age of six should be micro-scooting anywhere and a significant number of adults who claim to use them for 'fun' are only saying that because they have a DUI, so if rain has disrupted your usual commute by neutralising the breaks on your son’s birthday present then all I have to say about that is: good!
Anyone who opts to walk to work in the rain is a sociopath who just wants to dine out on their achievement for as long as possible. Get public transport, nerd, no one wants an in-office repeat of the time David Walliams did some swimming and we didn’t hear the end of it for a decade.
As with sex, fruit and consumption under capitalism in general, the least ethical option is typically the most enjoyable. The rain’s number one virtue is that it makes cosy indoor activities – binge-watching teen dramas, napping, having a jacket potato – even more satisfying. There is simply no greater luxury than getting a taxi to work when it’s pissing down, watching people slop their miserable bodies around pavements and bus stops while you listen to Radio 4 in a t-shirt.
You’re scum if you do this, of course – especially if you live in London. The tube comes every two minutes you fucking baby, get a grip. However, if you live somewhere rural where transport operates on a twice-per-whenever-we-feel-like-it basis and are therefore forced to drive anywhere anyway then please enjoy your bumper-to-bumper commute, with the hot air on full blast, screaming along to Shania Twain’s Greatest Hits before spending 45 minutes looking for a parking space.