American Airlines in-flight magazine describes frequent travelers as ‘Road Warriors’. It always seemed strange to me that an airline would embrace a term seemingly unrelated to flying. Perhaps it’s to help them forget the hideous hours in the air. Personally, in a choice between driving and letting the train take the strain, I’m a rail warrior every time.
Yet again I recently found myself following the other lemmings to London.
Good morning lemmings
Except, as noted, I was on a train. I saw a (different) photo of the above graffiti in a dead tree newspaper a long time ago though, and was so delighted to find a photo of it on Flickr I thought I’d share it.
So, I’m on a train, and not just a rail warrior and a lemming, but a hand-waving presentation monkey too. I often spend the first 15 minutes of most train journeys tweaking whatever presentation I’m going to give that day. I have a couple of basic presentation structures, which have forked into hundreds of unique versions, personalised for the audience, accreting and shedding slides along the way.
The guy opposite me is catching a quick nap, and snoring gently. The gent next to him is looking nonplussed.
As often happens when I’m on board trains from the south coast to the city, I can’t help but wonder what this same journey would have been like 100 years ago. It would no doubt have been slower and smellier; go back far enough and the trains would be steam-powered. Whistles. Top-hatted gentleman with fob watches tucked into waistcoats. More hats. Less colour.
100 years ago, following the principle of doing what your father did, I’d either be a milkman or a mechanic at this point. Or a youthworker I suppose, but 100 years ago he probably wouldn’t have had the same varied career and life. I’d just as likely be cleaning out stables as having made a rags-to-riches journey from the sleepy Dorset countryside into the big city, and certainly not as a Metaverse Evangelist.
And thus, as the non-steam-powered train approach Waterloo I’m glad I was born in 1978 rather than 1878. Sometimes I wish it had been 2078. I want to live on a starship and not just see the stars but travel between them. I want to not notice the computers which make my life easier, shade my eyes automatically with sensors and circuitry rather than tinted lenses. My wife says I was born too soon, but maybe I’m driven by a desire to help the future arrive sooner.