Friday, January 25, 2008

You are not going to believe this...

...but I'm unwell again. OK, no sniffles or anything this time, but I've never been this unhealthy in my life. My skin is ow ow ow. Apparently it (shingles) happens to certain nerves during times of stress (check), depression (check), and when you're run down (check).

So yes, it was another miserable week struggling to work with severe delays going to and fro on every Tube line I use. I'm getting fed up of discussing it daily - that and the weather.

Took me an hour and a half to get home today. It should only take about 40 minutes, but on no single day has that ever happened. Signal failures, a person taken ill on a train ahead, severe speed restrictions, cancelled lines, etc. You name it, they do it. I am exhausted every time I arrive home, and will even skip social gatherings.

I live 8 miles (about 13 km) from the office. It takes an hour on a good day. How long does it take you to travel that sort of distance?


L B said...

Poor you!! Get well soon, ok?
It takes me 5 minutes to get from my front door to work.. but I still love London! Ok, not the commute part.

MattJ said...

London is a place I endure when I have to! If I have to work in the London office, I either make them pay for a hotel or go in ridiculously early to avoid the rush etc. ten stay quite late for the same reason (or if I'm lucky leave early!).

I couldn't cope with it every day, I am a country boy, I couldn't cope with the relentless press and filth!

I much prefer my half hour walk over the river mole in the morning whilst listening to Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell!

rebecca said...

Hey there, hope you're feeling better. Bring a book, you have to turn the commute around. I have an endless one, but it's where I get all my reading done!

Olivia said...

LB - isn't it ironic that your comment to my last post was, "Glad you're feeling better!" Not for long, eh?


Matt - I have flexi-hours so go in later and leave later, which works for me. It's not only commuting, and London itself, it's all the other stuff I've been through that you all know about too...

I definitely miss the freedom of the countryside, though.


Rebecca - hey, long time no see. How does it feel coming back to blogging?

It took me a few tries, but now I can't do without my book on the Tube. Michael Crichton works for me. Still, doesn't help me forget. I guess I don't take stress well (anymore).

You know what I think - sure, the London commute has gotten worse over the past few years, but also since my priorities have changed, just being here is a stress in itself. I don't know how you do it, having lived all over the world.

Someone said to me the other day, "If you have a choice, then don't stay here." And I'm not!

Selba said...

Ah.. don’t we hate it when we are in stress/depress stage?

For several months ago, it took me 2 hours to reach my home from the office whereas if there’s no traffic jam, it only takes 20 minutes. It’s just so crazy, being in the public transportation with no air con, breathing all those gas/pollution from other vehicles. Good that these days, the traffic jam is back to normal, so I can reach home within 1 hour.

Palm Springs Savant said...

oh no! Shingles can be quite painful as well. My gran just got over hers and while mostly gone, they are still painful. Hope things perk up a bit for you.

Anonymous said...

Liv, Liv, Liv. This being sick is a part of the cycle of being stressed (work, home, etc.) and I hope you break out of it very soon.

My commute, as you know, is 26 miles each way and since I'm going against traffic, I can usually get to work in 40-50 minutes and home in 30-40 minutes. Half of that time, however, is spent on a 5 mile stretch! I have a co-worker who, when the traffic is unbearable, leaves the freeway and goes window shopping until things let up. She gets panic attacks if she feels closed in.

cafe said...

Hope the shingles clears up soon - it can be nasty.

Don't complain too much about your commute - at least on your delayed tube you're in the warm and dry (and you can often grab a coffee or newspaper at the station). I take nearly one and a half hours to get home most nights, mainly because the first bus I catch is totally unreliable. I usually have to wait at an isolated bus stop for 20 minutes. It's not so bad waiting for the connecting bus in Oxford itself, because at least you have a bit of cover there from the wind, rain cold etc.

Olivia said...

Selby - I remember you didn't even want to leave the house at that time. Do you know what caused it? I am glad your trip is nearly back to normal now.


Palm Springs - Oh yes, makes me want to cry. Also, though I was too young for shingles...

Well, at least it's still daylight at 4pm now, so that's one small help.


Nikki - I really thought I was coming out of it last week!

Your normal commute sounds exactly like my Houston one when I worked at Houston ISD Psych Services which sometimes took an hour, but it never stressed me, and only once due to an accident did it become an hour and 20 mins. As I love driving, I found joy in putting my foot on the gas through the empty stretches of road.

Though my average commute in both Houston and London is an hour, in my own car I had my own space, my own music, a comfortable seat, and a certain amount of control over my environment. London is more stressful because not only are you squashed up against people you want to scream at - no one smiles, no one talks, men don't offer their seats; often standing all the way (and I dont even wear heels!), you've trudged through whatever weather to the station or stood forever waiting for a bus to get there, then you stand on the platform wondering what excuse they will give today for the train not turning up, or slowing and stopping all along the route. Then you may have to adjust your route and trudge off to another station or another platform, or they may chuck you out of the train or even the station due to overcrowding and then you may be stranded or find a bus, repeating the same process above ground. You get to work and there is a measure of relief in that, but then you face the same ordeal going home when all you want to do is put your feet up or have a laugh with friends. So every time I arrive home I am literally exhausted - even my mother cupping my face in her hands and kissing my forehead as I come in barely helps - and she usually has dinner ready. God knows what I'd do if I had a family to take care of. And here you go, I refuse to have a family in this country.

If I were not American too, I would do what so many Brits are doing and run away to Australia to give my kids a better life.

But are you ever allowed to turn up at work late? How does your co-worker do that?

Olivia said...

Cafe - you snuck in while I was replying to Nikki - and my reply to you is exactly what I said to her!

Flighty said...

Look after yourself as shingles can be nasty and take ages to clear.
I'm lucky as I drive to and from work out of the rush hours so the five miles or so only takes about ten minutes.
Please change your picture back to a nice one! Take care xx

Rebecca said...

Well, we do change and mutate and at different times in our lives we want and need different things. If London is not right for you now, you need to move out, you need to be in the right place of course.

Anonymous said...

Hello Bubble.

Sorry to hear you are down in the dumps.

I think London is as much a state of mind as a place. And as one of your correspondents rightly comments, all of us want/need different things at different times. If Lahndahn ain't right fer ya at the mo' then you gott skip tahn, laydee...

Ahem. Anyway, I think that you need a break in both senses of the word - a little holiday and a stroke of luck. Shingles is not a nice condition since it is neural and rears it's ugly head at precisely the wrong time (same sort of thing as cold sores - similar virus I seem to recall from GCSE biology).

Oh, and since you probably don't look ill, it's not surprising that men do not offer you a seat - it's not like you are on crutches or heavily pregnant.

Anyway, chin up; stiff upper lip and don't let the buggers get you down!

Olivia said...

Flighty - indeed, my boss agreed to a week off work and she will call in extra help.

What, you don't like my chewy-fang dracula-ette look???


Rebecca - I had originally planned on June but it will have to be September as the place I am working at need me till then, well they'd like to keep me for good, but they know I want out of here.


Anonymous - Exactly.

Only last night I was browsing the short holiday offers to sunny places such as Gibraltar, Greece, even Morocco or Egypt.

In the spring I will try to do that and also will wait for a pleasant weekend for a drive, how about it?

Shingles is the dormant chicken pox virus that rises to the surface in times of..., etc.

Once upon a time a man would have automatically offered a seat to any woman present. Only once when I was utterly exhausted did an old Japanese man, just about to plant himself on a seat, spot me and offer it to me instead. I will never forget his act of kindness.

The Moody Minstrel said...

Look, m'lady, as a dedicated fan of yours I'm getting down on bended knee and ORDERING you to stop being unwell, dammit!!!! There is NO REASON WHY YOU SHOULD BE STRESSED OR DEPRESSED!!!!! Life is BEAUTIFUL, GOT IT???!?!??!?!??

(Sorry. I need some fresh fruit and a little time with my guitar.) never rains, but it pours.

I have a 25-km commute to work, and it normally takes about 40 minutes.

Olivia said...

Minstrel - I'm sorry! I'll try harder!

MattJ said...

I think 'Life is Beautiful' is a very difficult philosophy to maintain in the face of so much evidence to the contrary. Rather I prefer to take the 'Moments are Beautiful' approach. There is usually something in each day that makes me smile (hard to believe I know!) and these keep me going in relative happiness (or as close to that state a curmudgeony grump like me can come to!) and contentment throughout the day.

Just keep an eye out I say - there is always something heart warming, funny or silly that can perk you up. Even bad things can do it if they are looked at in the right way (just look at some of the things politicians say to explain away why they were cauight in a compromising position with a Rabii and a gentleman of questionable morals! lol!)

OK, bit of a ramble but basically as Richard Hall says "No one over here says Have a Nice Day because they know it is physically impossible to have a completely nice day! Have a nice 15 minutes, that's doable!".

Also, the bad parts show you just how good the good parts are. there. I made perfect sense! So cheer up and get well so I can start being jealous of your social life again! :D

Anonymous said...

Somehow, the sound of Olivia in Australia has a nice ring to it. Did you meet up with some really nice Aussie guys a while back?

Olivia said...

18 comments??? How'd that happen?


Matt - yes, i have a lot of catching up to do when I get better, don't I? haha, I totally forgot about the days when I used to swan about town.


Nikki - now then, don't you start. Yes, I do still meet them, almost weekly at a quirky bar for quiet drinks. (Well it would be if we didn't have to shout over the music.)

My old friend Lydia has gone to Aus for a few weeks to see her brother and his wife and two kids who moved out there a few months ago. Her photos of the summer and scenery are mouthwatering. I showed my mother. Then we were watching a program about Australian food and restaurants. And out of the blue my mother, who always looked down her nose at that former penal colony said, "Let's go on holiday there."

Shoulda seen the look I gave her. I would like to see it though.

Anonymous said...

OH NO! I've never had chicken pox or shingles!!!! :o( does this mean you can't come to my birthday? If you have it then sadly I can't be near you and we won't see Auntie Livsy again! We'll have a belated celebration if you can't come though honey. Hope you feel loads better really soon poppet *BIG HUGS* xoxoxoxo

Nabeel said...

hmm .. well hope you feel better and the rule of thumb is that if you had a good weekend, your Monday is going to be bad :( ..

I am about 2 miles from my work and it takes me 15 minutes to reach it. I used to be 13 miles from work at my previous job and that took me 20 minutes (extremely fast driving and leaving at 9:30 am to beat rush hour traffic)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I think 'Life is Beautiful' is a very difficult philosophy to maintain in the face of so much evidence to the contrary.

Matt, didn't you realize I was being sarcastic? I guess you don't read my blog, so it's alright.

Olivia said...

Diva - there is no way you can catch it, unless you dive under my shirt and touch it (!), but I'm not coming anyway just so you have peace of mind.



Nabeel - hey, you're back to blogging?
One day, I hope to walk to work through a nice small town...big hope eh?

Beenzzz said...

Oh no! I hope you start feeling better soon! Having the shingles sounds awful....

lunaliar said...

Oh Liv! I do hope you feel better, especially since I've blogged now! Also, look in to going to a yoga studio and doing some restorative poses. It'll help with the shingles, which is the result of constricted blood vessels letting the dormant virus take over. Your blood vessels do constrict during cold weather, extended stress, fatigue and sickness.

Get better, OK?

lunaliar said...

Just to add: My highschool buddy just got married and her and her husband have taken a year sabattical in New Zealand! Lucky kids! They said they lived like monks for a year to save for this year away. They're travelling all over, too!