Public transport pro?

As I travel to Teddington from Durham today, it strikes me that I'm becoming a bit of a pro at utilizing mass transportation. Three months ago I used England's infamous rail and tube stations cautiously and with loads of self-doubt, constantly worried about getting lost or always fumbling like a fool with my bags whilst simultaneously riding an escalator or buying a ticket. Three months ago, a four-plus hour journey to Teddington via public transportation would have put me totally on edge, and by the time I got there, I would have been frazzled. Today I feel incredibly cool and content during my journey, which seems to be a dramatic shift within me. So now I am starting to wonder exactly what has changed.

It's obvious to me that I've become one of the Average Jane commuting masses. I "fit in" somehow, instead of always sticking out like a sore thumb as I did in the recent past (or rather I came off like a car-dependent bus-phobic Middle American to be more accurate). Here is some proof…

I pack my belongings in the manner most optimal for the journey ahead. Roller bag if long stays, backpack for short ones, purse inside backpack if tube AND train, outside if tube only. Always keep both sunglasses AND an umbrella in my bag's side pocket when an outdoor hike is required, as the weather changes rapidly here.

Before departing, I put my Oyster card &/or train tickets in my right hand outermost coat pocket for quick access to the ticket scanner or to show the porter.

Amazingly, I can now both collapse the handle on my suitcase and carry it up tube station stairs all with one hand & in one smooth motion without missing a step (the key is proper thumb-on-handle placement).

I have mostly broken my American habit of always walking on the right side of the gangway, and instead I can weave in and out on the left with ease.

I have memorized all the tube and train stops which I frequent, usually down to the level of knowing which side the doors open at each station, and also what carriage to be on for the post-departure race for first in queue at the taxi stand.

I have all the various fares memorized, and I pay for my tea with exact change whenever possible to keep the snack trolley vendor happy and efficient. Hell, I can even walk up the escalators on the left like a sprinter without feeling any awkwardness, no matter what type of heels I'm wearing!

I assume this change has occurred in me slowly over time, but for some reason today it seems dramatic and sudden. I mean... sure, I still get lost or trip over the tube gap from time to time still, but its less scary than before and usually due to me being the clumsiest person alive instead of due to my public transport naivety. And that subtle difference makes me feel so good.

Sent from my iPhone.

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