• by LL

Ugly mail: devolution of 'commuting species'.

Dear followers and friends, today I will present my ugly truth about public transport in London and its unsettling human interaction patterns. National Geographic should commission a behavioural study on the matter since I have never seen so many similarities with the animal world like in the commuting underground context: the new metaphor for existential transition, the epitome of most of current human anxieties, the non-place 'par excellence'.

At the very moment of stepping out of our house doors, in a Hulk like transformation, all the thousands years of human evolution are utterly erased to manifest our monstrous animalistic alter egos.

Four appear to be the main surviving forms and corresponding behaviours: the Chameleons, the Barbary Apes, the Alpha Bulls and the Mother Kangaroos. For all the four species the aim is, every day, to arrive 'alive' at destination, leave aside the one or two hours delay, by now implicitly incorporated in our personal schedules. Actually, there would be also a fifth species, the Golden Sachs Fishes, daily 'floating' in 'Uber-tanks' with their placid faces, spending their lives stuck in terrestrial traffic with the illusion that being above surafce could somehow improve their situation and make them privileged towards the others.

The first mentioned group, the Chameleons, is the master of disguise and blend-in. You will hardly notice them, wearing their nerdy glasses and fancy headphones while reading Kindle e-books. By their renowned sixth sense, they will know exactly when is the moment to get off the train and with supple pirouettes will disappear from their seats.

The second group instead, the Barbary Apes, are very athletic and therefore extremely noticeable. They use their physical preparation to get the best spot on the train and, from there, they look at others with superiority and conceit. Deeply inside, they rejoice in facing the adversities of the environment: competition is their life motive.

Diversely competitive are the specimen belonging to the third group, the Alpha Bulls: visibly chunkier and older, wearing fancy completes or, alternatively, tracksuits and bomber jackets. 'Sprinkling around' their manly hormones, they are able to express strength and domination without necessarily having to exert them. Their sense of personal space is very relative - yes, relative to themselves - and their broad bodies can expand at command to steal breathing air to the poor subjugated beings located around them which, against their will, become part of their temporary slaves' harem.

Regardless their possible charming and sweet appearance, never underestimate the female Kangaroos with babies: motherly instincts have developed in them extreme violence and short temper. Fairly enough, their status has allowed them to gain space privileges for their familiar nucleus and strolling devices. Be always careful when you transit from one underground line to another: they may lurk out from somewhere and cut your way screaming words of revenge because you only dared being faster than them. It goes without mention that if you happen to find them in front of you on escalators your dreamed escape to a 'better world' is utterly doomed.

Finally, to make it all more interesting and terribly complicated, there are two common phenomena to observe across all groups: the 'mating' and the 'mutations'. In fact, we all have assisted to inappropriate 7am snogging, when our only thoughts are hoping to wake up in time for our stop and to scream: - Get a bloody room! -. The 'mutants' are, with no doubt, the most dangerous creatures of the commuting network: can you imagine, for example, if the cute nerd sitting next to you transformed into an Alpha Bull? The all cosmos will have to reset on a new state of equilibrium.

What species are you then? Have I left out some categories? I believe so. For sure they are all quite scary but, after all, each character just stands for a defensive biodegradable 'mask' which, by re-emerging on the surface, will magically dissolve in the polluted air.

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