Any commuter who suffers the twice-daily hell will likely find parallels with Rutger Hauer’s character in the movie Blade Runner where he says the line “I’ve… seen things you people wouldn’t believe…”
There’s a whole world of train and passenger politics that everyone is aware of, but people will seldom speak of.
One amusing way to quietly judge fellow passengers is by their reading material, but the arrival of the eBook has made this increasingly difficult. Now, everyone quietly simmers and becomes more and more irritated by the subtle idiosyncrasies of those around them.
Some might say that annoyance and irritation evoked by fellow commuters probably says more about the irritable passenger than about the other travellers, but maybe John Rambo said it best when he declared “To survive war, you gotta become war”.
Whatever your opinion, if you have ever travelled on public transport, it’s guaranteed that you’ve stumbled across many of the following characters.
14. The Sardines
The 07:18 train arrives and most commuters instantly notice that although there is a lack of seats on their vessel of choice, but the carriages seem to have enough room for a game of twister.
The passengers on board seem to prefer the option of imitating a can of sardines. pushing together by the vestibule area and creating a human wall, rather than moving down a bit and allowing others to get on the train.
They look at you with cold dead eyes and may even say, can’t you see the train is full? Seemingly blissfully unaware that there is actually plenty of room for everyone, if they could just move down into the carriage.
13. The Aisle Blocker
The more seasoned commuter will avoid the queueing madness and head to the far end of the platform where there is only a handful of people waiting to board the train. Boarding the carriage here, the savvy commuter has obtained a clear 20 second advantage on the quest for a seat – however, the guy in front is in no rush.
He wants to remove something from of his bag, take off his coat and fold it nicely, as the tired commuter watches helplessly as the carriage fills from the other entrance.
The unluckiest regular commuters will certainly have tales to share of being stranded in the vestibule no man’s land on the wrong side of the pesky rail catering trolley, thanks to the thoughtless aisle blocker.
12. The Sleeper
Daddy’s little princess doesn’t want anyone to sit near her on a crowded train at rush hour, so she curls up in the fetal position across two seats and desperately pretends to be asleep, hoping that people will feel too awkward to challenge this anti-social behaviour.
Which commuter will make a stand and seize the seat that is rightfully theirs? The answer is probably not you, so opt to continue your quest for an alternative.
11. The Foot Rest
Although it’s only 07:30am, some passengers seem to have incredibly tired legs and desperately need to put their feet up on the seat in front.
Sure, there are a few hygiene and general politeness taboos that are instantly broken by performing such an act. But ultimately, the worst crime in this situation is the space hogging. Given that they’re happy to use a public seat as a footrest, these nightmare commuters probably don’t give a damn about what anyone else thinks. So, it’s not worth asking if they would do it at home – they probably do.
10. My Bag Needs its Own Seat
Some people are so materialistic they seem to genuinely care about their possessions’ general wellbeing. So much so that a separate seat is often required for their bag, laptop, magazines, coat and in fact just about everything that they own.
They consider making room on an overcrowded train for someone to sit down completely unreasonable, and why wouldn’t they? Their bags need a comfortable place to rest too. Next time the average commuter witnesses this heinous act of chair-hogging, perhaps it would be pertinent to inquire if the bag has a ticket for that place it’s taking up?
9. The Gambler
Many of the seats on busy train services are reserved. But some people don’t show up for their seat, some resist the constraints of a reservation and simply sit elsewhere.
This lackadaisical attitude has given birth to the gambler, who take their chances in sitting in reserved seats hoping that the ticket holder has decided to sit in another carriage.
These mavericks love the excitement of this game but are very often seen taking the walk of shame when someone approaches them and says the dreaded words ‘sorry but that’s my seat’…
8. Aisle Sitter
The aisle sitter often claims to be completely misunderstood; they are actually victims of feeling incredibly claustrophobic about the environment they are in. Perhaps they fear nothing more than being squashed against a window when the biggest passenger decides to squeeze up against them. Or perhaps they want to discourage you from pushing past into the seat beside them.
Most people take an instant dislike to such behaviour and secretly make sure that they make a point of politely saying ‘do you mind if I sit there?’ before taking the window seat and claiming a small but necessary victory for the greater good.
7. Loud Talkers
The loud talkers come in all shapes and sizes but love nothing better than competing with the person next to them. Whatever the subject of choice, rest assured that their family, job, holidays and car are considerably better than yours. Are they trying to convince the other commuters, or themselves?
If nobody will speak to them, it’s a near-guarantee that the phone will come out and they will loudly declare that they will seal that all-important deal to save the day. Bets are, they aren’t actually speaking to anyone.
6. Sound Polluter
One can tell a lot about a person by the music they listen to. And, hilariously, some commuters seem oblivious to the fact that Apple Earphones have the worst sound leak known to man. Everyone in the carriage is now wondering why that man in the business suit is listening to New Kids on the Block in 2015.
Then there’s that dude in the low-slung jeans, who seems blissfully unaware that listening to ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ at eleven on the volume scale cuts through whatever coolness the Beats brand might have otherwise brought him.
5. The Nose Blower
In the bleak mid-winter, there’s nothing worse than being stuck on a very busy train next to people with a bad dose of flu. The constant sniffling, the clearing of phlegm, sneezing or the incredibly loud nose blowing is enough to make anyone feel nauseous.
When another seat nearby becomes available, the commuter is forced into a modern dilemma: Does he or she move away from the germs to relative safety, or is moving away from one’s seat considered bad etiquette?
4. The Diner
Despite the humble train carriage being a social minefield of self-awareness and consideration of fellow passengers, some people have no such concerns. They’re so unconcerned, in fact, that they’ll happily bring out their Big Mac and Fries and dine while they commute – much to the dismay of everyone. The smell, of course, rapidly spreads throughout the train.
Alternatively, there is the possibility of the dreaded large bag of chips making an appearance. Commuters are then doomed to hear every last crunch and packet wrapper, making those who forgot their headphones regret that fact deeply.
3. The Quiet Zone Abuser
Hardened commuters will tell tales of peace and tranquillity in a special carriage called the Quiet Zone, although many believe these stories to be that of legend or urban myth.
These carriages are said to offer a paradise where you could hear a pin drop, and there are even stickers plastered on the windows reminding everyone to enjoy the silence.
However, there also tales of shameless commuters who ignore these rules and continue to chat and listen to music regardless. Be warned, this is the one place where a vigilante mob can be assembled in minutes to keep the place special. Or, people might just sigh and shake their head.
2. The Manspreader
The manspreader is possibly the most despised species on public transport. He is known to spread his legs with wild abandon, forcing anyone next to him to be cramped in an uncomfortable position. The unlucky seat mate of a manspreader will lose half of his or her seat, while the manspreader gets all the space he needs and more.
Not satisfied with claiming both leg and seat space, if not challenged they will also rapidly seize both arms rests, leaving fellow commuters helpless.
1. The Premature Boarder
It should be a fairly simple system; the doors open, people get off the train and the waiting crowds are then allowed to embark on their own journey. Sadly, it doesn’t always go this way.
Rather, the passengers waiting form a semicircle around the train door – making it impossible for anyone to get off or on the train. It typically becomes a free for all of pushing and elbows to the ribs.
The only things missing from the mob blocking the doors are pitchforks and torches. They stare with great anger and genuine disgust at the sheer nerve of commuters daring to exit at the same place where they’re waiting to get on.