When I sit on a London-bound train and don’t want to shut the world away and write, like I’m doing right now, I like to soak up the ambience of my train carriage and home in on some of the mobile conversations that the less discrete business people tend to have after their meetings in the UK’s capital.

As well as the standard business shorthand phrases like ‘food for thought’, ‘keep moving forward’, ‘in this together’ etc. I usually have this unexplainable – as opposed to inexplicable – feeling of sadness wash over me. Not because I want to work where they work, but because of the inherent unproductiveness of big society where a mass of people mills around like atoms in a pan of boiling water.

All these people travel together with strangers into the big city, head to their specific meeting with their customer, partner or supplier, conduct their business, scurry back to their travel hub and head back home. They use the journey back for follow-up calls, post mortems, problems, solutions and actions, all within earshot and sight of another band of strangers.

And that, for me, is the modern big city: a vast collection of people on the move, in between things, trying desperately to minimise their A to B time and expenses. Whole industries built around a state of perpetual transience.

The promise of the Internet is that it can bring us together in ways that the phone never could do. Despite the advantages that the face to face element of Skype and video conferencing delivers, nothing has yet replaced the physical meeting as the pinnacle of human interaction and collaboration.

And hence the sadness. We crave interaction from our fellow humans, yet meeting them is all so inefficient. Teleportation would be extremely handy, but in the absence of that, I always wonder if there is a better way to co-ordinate these millions of criss-crossing journeys.

I think when I get back to my home office I’m going to stew on that and not come out until I have fixed it. Or in case someone wants to see me for a meeting

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