The Underground. This is something all city folk adore and resent at the same time. As a city, we are proud of the zipping zooming tube flying across the city like a wizard's wand shooting out a spell. The doors swish in a timely manner, as we are important people with important plans to get to important places. The tracks gurgle, the lights flicker, and there is an echo of the musicians tuning their instruments, as we clatter on walking to the platforms.
As I became a psychiatrist, I began to see fellow passengers of the underground ….as psychiatric patients. Now I don't mean literally of course, I am well aware that passengers getting on are in fact NOT my actual patients.
Let me see if I can explain to you how I view passengers now on the tube.
Let us take rush hour in the morning. Now, which passengers will you always find without thinking? There will be the female placing her morning make up on. There will be the disgruntled man tuttering away because someone is etched too close to him. Thirdly, there will be that just too cool for school young person sitting in the seat reserved for those less able (disabled, elderly, those with children) who pretends to be sleeping with their overly sized headphones blasting music as though they are in an underground club rather than the underground 8am tube.
Let me break down each of these three cases. I hope you understand this is with humour and with a light heart.
Firstly, the woman with the make up. Now, this woman will start the journey as a blank sheet, just rolled out of bed, but by the end of it…wowza! She will be transformed from the ugly duckling to the swan princess. The procedure will involve carefully placing each layer of makeup over her bare face to create a portrait. I find this passenger the most hypnotising to watch, almost like she is enticing all passengers to watch her in her transformation. The process itself is incredibly beautiful and almost flirtatious with each brush stroke. This woman is the histrionic.
Second, we have the disgruntled man. This man will be dressed in the finest garments, a leather briefcase by his side, and a long trench coat flying around him. As soon as he enters the tube, he will be disgusted, with his nose in the air, and have his mouth open demanding a commanding silence of : “MOVE DOWN”. He will bellow these words like a sergeant demanding his soldiers to be in line. Passengers will shudder and scuttle. His mission has been completed. This is my narcissistic patient.
Lastly, there is the young rude passenger. The passenger that has the jeans below the buttocks, the gold chain around his neck, the volcanic sounding music booming over the headphones, the blatant ignorance in not offering the seat when an elderly woman hobbles on with her crane. This is the patient with antisocial personality disorder.
Next time you are on the underground, tell me which patients you spot.