Tuesday, February 24, 2004

All the rage

A new report claims that cases of 'Tube rage' may increase on the London Underground if air quality does not improve.

According to transport specialists Fereday Pollard, failure to improve ventilation could lead to increased anger and frustration among passengers. Mike Fisher, director of the British Association of Anger Management, told the BBC: 'A reduction in the level of oxygen in an enclosed space leads to increasing feelings of panic.... If on top of this you have the physical distress and discomfort of overcrowding, an individual can experience reactions such as anxiety, aggression, impatience and feelings of sickness.'

Better ventilation would certainly be a step forward for the Tube, especially in the summer when temperatures frequently top 100 degrees fahrenheit - but no amount of ventilation will save our blood from boiling. The train breakdowns, incapacity to deal with marginally adverse weather conditions, the decrepit stations and overcrowding in rush hour will see to that. The remarkable thing is the stoic way in which the majority of people deal with a disintegrating transport infrastructure; it is rare for people actually to lose their rag. Still, this all fits into a fashion where every irritation gets redefined as a rage: air rage, road rage, even pedestrian rage. Not unreasonable reactions to everyday bugbears are treated as new mental health problems; if this whole discussion continues to annoy me, will I suffer from 'rage rage'?

First published on Spiked's spiked bite page


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