Fitting in…or not!
I am waiting at a railway station (sound familiar?) feeling a little out of sorts. Not in a health-way but in a fitting-in sort of way. Recent events and my current way-of-life have led me to this.
Waking up much earlier than usual, because of the need to travel to London to deliver a training session, the lovely Carol on BBC breakfast informed me that the weather was not going to be great. I decided to ‘go British’ and wear darker-than-I-like clothing so that I wouldn’t end up with splashes of dirty old rainwater accessorising my outfit.
Walking from the boat to the car entails jumping from the stern (to land on the path precisely) then walking over some very uneven and mushy grass. I put on flat shoes so that the shoes which I intended wearing for work wouldn’t get wrecked – I must have looked a sight with black opaque tights, a grey dress and shiny gold flats.
For about thirty seconds I wondered what I was doing, living on a boat and trying to dress for business. I contemplated taking a years break from work – but then I buckled down, thought, ‘Get a grip’, and focused my mind.
After a somewhat stress-inducing drive along the M42 towards Birmingham International Railway Station, (the amount of vehicles on the roads seems to have increased massively over the last three years) I caught my train with about five seconds to spare.
Walking through the carriages I encountered quietness and seriousness – no jolly boaters here!
The first part of my train ride took me to Watford Junction. During this journey I went through my power-points for the day and contemplated how the training session would go. On putting my I-pad away I contemplated the other passengers sitting close to me.
Nobody was talking. Nobody made eye contact. It felt odd.
Most passengers were gazing at various square or oblong objects, thumbs madly thumbing as they text, index fingers itching to move through messages and emails and games. Being naturally curious I noticed the guy next to me reading emails but not acting on them. This always surprised me. Why keep reading emails? Why not just read them when you can reply and action them? Reading emails is a huge time-waster – I know because I have done it – I now only read business emails when I have time to act on them. Then I delete them and it feels great!
I didn’t observe anyone looking out at the stunning scenery that the UK has to offer at this time of year. Cows plodding towards their feeders, sheep and lambs nibbling away, a few wild poppies in fallow-fields and an abundance of crops growing on allotments here and there. It is so relaxing and soothing to take in these sights.
I also spotted the winding Grand Union canal and could pinpoint several spots that we had cruised through just a week or so ago. I felt the world below drawing me in. To me, the canals and waterways of the U.K. are like a world down-under. Down under the rail-track, down under the motorways – a world of peace of comradeship and of wonder. When you travel by boat everybody shouts a greeting. Everybody waves. Everybody smiles. It really is so different to the world of ‘commuting’. I no longer fit in to this crazy, rat-race world -but I am glad that I can dive in and out of it – it reminds me that there is so much more to life than work.
On a lighter note I realise that I don’t quite fit-in dress wise either. Due to the confines of a minute wardrobe and clothes-storage facilities, I have to ‘do my best’. If the weather forecast had been decent today I would have worn ‘smart-casual’ where I could even have managed to colour co-ordinate my shoes and shirt. As it is I look OK – although my trusty Barbour jacket doesn’t quite fit in with my business dress, jewellery and heels; being ever observant – and conscious of my super-trendy fashion icon of a Mother – I noticed everyone (with a few exceptions) is wearing block-heels and I am in terribly outdated stilettos. The shame of it. I should have listened to my mum, who told me a couple of months back, ‘Block heels are all the rage you know.’
Making sure you are in the right sort of heels, It’s A Girl Thing!