Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Somewhat Comprehensive List of People I Hate on Public Transport

Some of my British friends say that 'having a good rant' is one of their favorite past times. So while this post can really be applicable anywhere, not just here in London, it is with that spirit in mind that I share the following rant with you all. I call it "A Somewhat Comprehensive List of People I Hate on Public Transport". I call it 'somewhat comprehensive' mainly because I'm sure someone will do something even more idiotic tomorrow.

The London Underground system, or "the tube" as it is commonly referred to here, is by far one of the best ways to get around the city. It comes every 2-3 minutes during rush hour, you can get practically anywhere on it, as the length of the system is over 402 km (250 miles), and now that they've introduced contactless payment, it's easier than ever to use. In fact, about 1.265 billion trips are taken on the London Underground annually. That's almost 3.5 million rides per day. And with that many people on the train, it is almost inevitable that you come across these public offenders on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Number 1: The person who doesn't move out of the doorway to let people out

This happens in London more often than anywhere else I've ever visited or lived. You try to exit the train, say excuse me, and the person just stands there. In your way. Doesn't move. So you have to push your way past, tripping over the next person's backpack in the process.

Number 2: The 'blocker of open space'

Quite similar to offender #1, this person doesn't move down the car during rush hour to make more room for passengers to get onto the train. If the train is empty, or there are still seats available, fine, stand where you like, but by God, if 3 people get off at the stop, 3 people should be able to get on. So MOVE OVER.

Number 3: The leaner

This person thinks that the pole in the middle of the train (you know, the one that most people stand around and hang on to) is there for their own personal comfort. They stand next to that pole and lean on it so that no one else can squeeze a hand in to hang on. My personal favorite passive aggressive attack on this person is to shimmy in there and hold on with my left hand. When the train jerks backward, his back will be digging right into my engagement ring. Lucky for me the diamond sticks out quite far. Not so lucky for offender #3.

Number 4: The loud headphones guy

I say guy, because I notice this more often in men, but there are some women offenders too. These people, I kid you not, are going to be deaf by the time they are 40. If I can hear your music over the sound of the train in a tunnel, it is too loud. In fact, if I can hear your music at all, it is too loud. Maybe if you turned it down you'd hear me say 'excuse me' when I try to get off the train.

Number 5: The newspaper reader

Stand next to this person, and you'll constantly be brushed in the back, arm, or face by their newspaper. Or, they will back into you as much as they possibly can in order to have space in front of them for their newspaper. In London, these people especially bother me because 99 out of 100 times the newspaper they are reading is free, handed out to them as they come into the station. So it's not even like they went out of their way to get this paper and really want to read it. They are just reading it because it's there. (Side note here: in London it is also very common for people to leave said paper on the seat when they leave the train. Therefore, you also have about 50 papers laying around during rush hour.)

Number 6: The backpacker

If you are still wearing your backpack while riding in the train car, you are doing it wrong. Take the backpack off, and put it between your legs. This will allow one more person to get on the train. It also means you'll stop hitting that lady sitting down in the face with it. Granted, I'll probably trip over it when trying to exit the train, but that's not the point.

Number 7: The person who is afraid they are not going to be able to exit the train in time

Clearly, clearly, this person does not usually ride the tube during rush hour. If they did, they would understand how stupid it is to stand up well before the train gets to the station to try to make their way to the door. I am LITERALLY touching the person next to me because we are all crammed in like sardines. Where exactly do you expect me to move to so that you can get closer to the door?

The above are people on the train. What about the people in the station?

Number 8: The person who is reading a book/newspaper/something on their phone AND walking

Seriously? Their book is THAT good that they can't put it down to get out of the station? And here I thought they were just reading it to pass time while riding on the train. Well, in case you haven't noticed, offender #8, you are walking about 5 times slower than EVERYONE ELSE. Get your nose out of your phone, quit texting, and get moving.

Number 9: The person who cuts you off

I sympathize with you, #9, because I also see that offender #8 is close ahead, and you want to get out of here as fast as possible. But don't cut me off when there clearly isn't room for you to get around both me and #8. Because now, not only am I mad at #8, but I'm also mad at you. And thanks for kicking my heal as you tried to pass, I really enjoyed that.

Number 10: The person who doesn't have enough money on their transit card, but still tries to go through the gate 5 times before stepping aside

I've never hear of 'the fifth time's the charm' have you? I will give you the £2.30 you need just to GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Number 11: The wrong-way walker

The sign says "Keep Left". What part of that is difficult to understand?

Number 12: The abrupt stopper

The person in front of you just realized they started walking the wrong direction when they exited the train. Or maybe they just got to a junction and have no idea which way to go. But instead of moving to the side, they just come to a full stop right in front of you and give you a big smile as they start walking the other way. Never mind the fact that you just about spilled your coffee on yourself.

With all the negative above, I thought I'd end this rant with something positive. In London, there are noticeably fewer people in the stations playing music or begging for money. So at least there's that.