Tuesday, March 13, 2012

How to act on public transport

I travel on the tube daily. The tube is full of people. I am extremely intolerant of large crowds of people. It was never going to bode well. These are some of the things I have encountered on the tube, and London transport in general:

1. The escalators. If you can't read the signs, look around. See what other people do. DON'T STAND ON THE FUCKING LEFT. If you do, prepare for a WORLD of tutting pain from people like me, who are probably late.

2. Personal space. If it is a crowded tube, try not to all congregate by the doors. There's a shitload of room further down the carriage. And don't pull that shit you're 'too small' to reach the bar at the top - I can reach it and I'm 4 inches smaller than you.

3. Couples. It is 8.30 in the morning. No-one wants to see your tongues. Or one of you standing in between the other's legs. Or my favourite, sitting on knees. Once I was on a half-empty tube with one seat either side of me and a girl sat on her boyfriend's lap. Elbowing me. I wanted to make a point and elbowed back but they didn't seem to noticed and make smooching noises so in the end I moved a seat a long. But I gave them really bad evils.

4. People with guitars. Who burst into song and then start asking for money whilst there is a mixture of sniggers and eye-contact avoidance. Come on, NO-ONE talks on the tube, do you really think anyone is going to enjoy singing?

5. Oh, and people who talk too loudly. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have overheard on a silent tube because they were not conducted in appropriate inside voices. I found myself getting quite involved in a story about this old woman's friend who was having relationship problems but then they got off and I wondered why the hell I gave a shit.

6. Self-awareness. In a massively busy place like Euston, it would be great to have some self-awareness and actually recognise it's probably not a good idea to stop dead in the middle of the walkway WITH A MASSIVE SUITCASE at rush hour. I mean, come on!

7. Tube hierarchy! Obviously there is a complex hierarchy on the tube about who gets to sit down next. I was there for 15 minutes standing like a goon in the middle of all the seats and then you SWOOPED IN and got my seat after one stop! Bastard. Actually, maybe I'm the only one who does that.

8. "Inconsiderate arseholes". Those people who, upon seeing a carriage that is full to busting. They will still get on, even if they have to bend double and their bag still gets caught. Even though there is another train in a minute. And it makes everyone angry and make snarky comments and I start to feel awkward so I'd just get off the damn tube if I wasn't wedged into someone's armpit.

9. Eye contact. Those people who insist on standing in front of YOU even if it's not that busy so you can't stare up at the ads above the window or just around because all you can see is them. You are resigned once more to staring down. At a non-existant newspaper, probably. By all means, though, I must not make eye contact. That's weird.

10. Groups of kids. Just run. As far away as you can (or just to the next carriage, ideally).

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