Wed, December 21, 2005, 01:56 PM under Personal
Daily commuting is a part of most people's lives these days. If you are one of the few that doesn't have to do it, you are one lucky [insert expletive here].

In the past 6 years, my commuting consisted of driving to the office (from garage to parking space). I would only have to do that 3 times per week (2 days worked from home), and I arranged it so I arrived at work around 10 (this meant I would avoid all traffic and hence the journey took 35-40 minutes - not to mention getting up at 08:00 which is my natural waking up time :-).

Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I changed jobs, and now my commuting is defined by the location of the client. The project I am working on now is very close to our office (devcentre) in London. Whether I have to go to our own office or the client's office, my commuting (ordeal) is the same:

+ 06:30 my alarm clock scares the shit out of me. If you haven't gathered, I am not a morning person. Waking up at this time requires me sleeping the previous night at 22:00. This contrasts with my lifelong habit/conditioning of working in the small hours where by brain has been trained to be at its most active.

+ 07:20 leave my flat to walk to the Hove train station. I am not a walking person either (from the age of 14, back in Greece, I've owned a moped and used it for anything taking longer than 10 minutes). Walking to the station is especially fun when it is raining and, for those of you that don't know, all of this takes place in England (enough said on the weather front). The only time it is even more fun is in icy conditions (try running on ice while wearing smart shoes with shiny soles).

+ 07:40 depart on train for London Victoria (if I miss this one, the next one is in 31 mins). This is where you sweat since you were running in the cold, just seconds ago, and now you are suddenly in a warm packed wagon. Most of the times I get a seat and if I am lucky there isn't an overweight person next to me squeezing me against the arm rest (for those of you that know them, in the south we still have some slam-door trains in operation).

+ 08:50-08:55 arrive in Victoria (sometimes 10 minutes later than expected, I could fill a separate blog entry with reasons this train runs late). Now the fun bit of: queuing to get out of the train, queuing to go through the train barriers, walking in true people traffic to the tube station, queuing to go down the stairs of the tube (when they let us in and not just hold us back for 10' because the platforms are full of people), queuing to go through the tube barriers, down the escalators to the packed platform, watch 2 tube-trains go by before you can be pushed closer to the doors, get on board feeling like a sausage in a ban, arrive 7' later at destination tube station, queue to go up the escalators, queue to go out through the barrier, up the stairs to lovely Oxford Street. Walk for 5' to get to the client's office (or walk 8' to go to the Avanade office).

+ 09:00-09:30 seat at my desk and be pleasant to everyone.

+ 18:00ish leave the office to start the whole process in reverse (if I miss my train, the next one is 45' later).

+ 20:00 arrive home knackered, by the time I've had dinner as you can imagine I look forward to the next morning where I get to repeat it all.

So, some aspects of my life (including this blog) are not getting the full attention they used to but now you know why. I have 4 hours per day offline and literally *no* time during Monday-Friday for anything other than my day job (and Jenny).

On the plus side, this project will end (touch wood) by February-March and then it will be on to the next client who, I can only hope, will not be in London. Anywhere south of London and I'll drive it (in a much shorter time and have a more pleasant journey), anywhere North of London and the company puts me up in a hotel on the client site.