Donald MacInnes: Two wheels good as I escape the Underground's Circle of hell
In The Red
Donald MacInnes writes Tales from the Water Cooler, which can be found every Saturday on page 2 of i. And, although a financial near-imbecile, he writes a weekly column in The Independent’s Money section, also on Saturdays. He writes regularly on a broad range of subjects in i’s Freeview section and occasionally fills in on Simon Kelner’s daily column when emotionally up to it. @DonaldAMacInnes
Saturday 28 January 2012
Most of you, I'm perfectly sure, have brains enough to live outside London. Sadly, I'm sufficiently deficient in common sense to have forsaken the eagle-swooped glens of my motherland to willingly inhabit one of the capital's higgledy-piggledy boroughs.
This would be all well and good if I worked from home and didn't need to traverse the city's squalid boulevards to earn a dollar. But I don't. So I do.
And although London boasts one of the world's most lemony-fresh, reasonably-tariffed, Swiss watch-like public transport systems (stop that sniggering! Stop it!), a couple of months ago I decided to make the big change and buy a motorbike. Well, a scooter.
Now, there are two reasons for this. One, it was ages since I had dropped several thousand of the Queen's pounds on something Japanese and shiny and I felt the need to do so again. Two, I had just spent a year and a half donating most of my wages to the Tube drivers' magnificent pension funds in order to reach this newspaper's twinkling edifice from my flat at the fag end of nowhere.
As a result of this – and the daily struggle to fight my way through what felt like 162 billion people – I was ready to a) have a loud and troublingly public nervous breakdown and b) start begging for spare change next to an ATM.
In all honesty it was, like me, a no-brainer. I had to do something. There was absolutely no way I could have continued using the Underground's Circle Line. Not only does its name reflect perfectly its place in Dante's descending path of unfathomable misery, but while it may be the perfect way to get from A to B (see earlier), it really is about as economically sane as withdrawing the bulk of your savings in fivers and tenners, marinating them overnight in maple syrup and stuffing them into a termite mound. Or alternatively giving them (unmarinated) to my girlfriend when Tesco has a Buy One Get One Free deal on Crunchy Nut Cornflakes. Or cheese.
Therefore, I'm hoping my contribution to Honda's yen mountain will free me from both the inexorable drain on my trust fund (I'm kidding. Do I LOOK like I have a trust fund?) and all those afternoons spent 300ft beneath Oxford Street in a dark, motionless, fetid train.
So, rejoice with me. My mingling with the populace is over. All I have to do is afford £5 a week for motorbike petrol.
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