The daily commute two years on...

February 2022

So… two years later and the mobile phone reception on my daily commute is no better.  But then, what was I expecting? (Engineers to have been working away at 4G transmitters in the midst of a pandemic?!)  And yet now, every time we complain, we start to question whether it is reasonable to do so, after “everything”.  #perspective

Though, still mighty frustrating when trying to download a webpage or read an email; and suddenly, and repeatedly, the signal goes down.

Anyway, earbuds in, new Eddie Vedder album playing (which is not bad actually!) and the music, as it always does, calms the tension.

And yes, the early 6am start felt quite unique.  Being woken up by my alarm felt quite unique.  And being the first out of the house felt quite unique.

I was rather thinking/somewhat hoping to see my “commuter friends”.  Those people you see every morning for a large chunk of your life but never speak with… Those people we look at, sometimes embarrassingly smile at, and ponder what they do, how their life is, who they really are.  (Or is that just me?!)

But, they weren’t there.  Two years on, and there was nobody I recognised.  Not a single familiar face on my one hour train journey into London.

And so, now I look at these ‘new’ people (hopefully not in a creepy way!) asking myself - who are they, where do THEY now go, have they started to commute every day, and how might their lives have changed since the pandemic?  (What is THEIR "new normal"?)

These are the questions I asked myself on my re-experience of my daily commute.

Oh, and… “I wonder if I now really do look two years older?!?”

As I approached the Russell Bedford International headquarters, the magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral greeted me, still standing tall; and it was great, yet surreal, to be in the office with my team again.

Although it reaffirmed to me that things will never be quite the same, I was promptly reminded of how well we have all adapted (and I’m not just talking about my team, of course).  Change is never easy.  Going back to a little of what you once knew as ‘the norm’ is even harder…  And speculating about what lies ahead is often futile.

So, we keep going, we keep planning diligently, we continue with the positive energy, we build on the momentum of recent successes and do what we do best… for now (albeit in a slightly different way); since “makes much more sense to live in the present tense”.  (Back to Mr Vedder, for all Pearl Jam fans)

Author: Stephen Hamlet

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