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Lovers take up less space - An alphabet guide to the London Underground Kindle Edition
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The subtitle "An Alphabet Guide to the Tube," gives you a good idea what you're in for. But "Lovers" is not so much a guide as a tongue-in-cheek primer on preparing for and surviving the wacky world of London Underground Transport. Anyone who uses mass transit of any kind, be it subway, metro or Tube, will be in for a good laugh as Kind takes the obvious and exposes the ridiculous.
Even if you've never experienced the Tube, you'll get it. Kind takes you along with her into the depths with a first hand account of all that is illogical, frustrating, scary, and ultimately comical about it. Her anecdotes will leave you in stitches, from inane advertising (A), to buying a ticket (B), to items left behind (I) to station names (S). Her section on the loo alone is worth the money.
In surviving the Tube, Kind underscores the difficulty of finding space, the highest priority, which explains the title: "Lovers Take Up Less Space."
“I am starting from the assumption that the English, together with the Scots and the Welsh, value their personal space and privacy. We don’t greet people with a kiss; we greet them at arms length, with a handshake."
Taking note of the minimum space used by lovers, she proceeds to explore other ways to deal with being packed in a carriage with strangers.
Kind is at her best taking on what is clearly the main challenge of a Tube travel: forced interaction with your fellow traveler because there is no space. Or non-interaction, as Kind makes clear. And this is the real heart of the book: coping with this daunting task while in a state of extreme discomfort and inconvenience. The inherent obstacles make rich fodder in plumbing all that is comical in the experience.
After reading "Lovers Take Up Less Space" and realizing the mental and physical fitness required for underground travel, I have decided that when I visit London I will hire a taxi. Come to think of it, perhaps that's the point of the book: a subversive appeal to not use the Tube. It would be just like Kind to employ this strategy in securing more space for regular travelers. Without becoming lovers.