With the long awaited and closely guarded secret extravaganza that is the Olympic Opening Ceremony kicking off this evening, London is well and truly awash with Olympic Fever. Wherever you look, there are official Olympic sponsors, retailers and partners, not to mention up-cycled Jubilee banners with the lovely addition of the ‘Team GB‘ logo. One by one, every town and borough in the UK has come out in full force to witness the most unique of relay races.
Everyone from Captain Kirkto The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge has taken part in the spectacle, carrying and welcoming the torch – symbolising the heart of the Olympic Games – and it is safe to say the frenzy is set to continue. The capital has slowly become a hub for all things red, white, blue and remotely sporty, as tracksuit-clad Olympic Ambassadors pepper the 2mile radius of the Olympic Park and football kits become an acceptable fashion choice. With the Army chipping in to bolster up security and missiles affixed to the rooftops, one cannot help but think that LOCOG and Boris Johnson have thought of absolutely everything.
Everything, except us Londoners. Before you dismiss my words as a strop of Olympic proportions, consider this. The Olympics haven’t even started and in the last few days, I have witnessed epic transport delays and failures, dangerously congested platforms, shopping mall and road closures as well as a unfortunate young lady losing consciousness and landing on me whilst being trapped together in a dangerously overcrowded train carriage. At the best of times, public transport can be enough to bring out our inner primal instincts. I myself have been forced to go into beast mode once or twice in order to swiftly and efficiently traverse the underground and all its obstacles. But this is going to be the MOTHER of all cases of commute rage.
“What about the Get Ahead of The Games adverts that TFL have been promoting?“, I hear you ask. Advice like “Get off at a different station to avoid the queues” and “Walking may be the quickest route during the games” is not advice, it is patronising. Any half-wit could figure that out for themselves, what we need is extra services laid on for us, its all well and good usurping the motorway to section off ‘games lanes’ so that spectators can get to the volleyball on time, but what about actual important things, like our livelihoods? With all the disruptions, closures, delays and inevitable health & safety ‘incidents’ involving tourists who aren’t used to the underground, travelling to work will be near enough impossible starting from today. And no one seems to have spared a thought for those of us who cannot simply take the speedboat half way in and follow through with the helicopter to get to our desks by 9am.
It’s fair enough that many employers are allowing some to work from home but this seems to only be an option for those in managerial positions whose only job is to delegate jobs to the rest of us; for the majority, it is simply not practical. So, we are faced with a gruelling two weeks (possibly more) of waking at the crack of dawn, spending hours taking ‘alternative’ routes which everyone else will also be taking to avoid the mind-numbingly slow tourists, only to arrive at work so late that we are forced to make up the time after hours and therefore give up on any hopes of catching a bit of the games later on the telly. It almost makes you kind of wish it wasn’t happening here but somewhere far, far away.
I’m not anti-olympiad, I am deeply inspired by the efforts of those who have trained their bodies to perfection and honed their sporting talents to the extent that they can compete with the best in the world in the hopes of winning Gold for their countries (and that goes for the Paralympians more so than the ones at the forefront of our minds); but it would be a very hard task to allow the pride and joy of holding the Olympic Games in my home town to overshadow the misery and suffering that the next two weeks will undoubtedly bring. On the other hand, maybe if I had secured some tickets, I would feel differently.