Every now and again I have a trip into work which sends me loopy. I start thinking about: other means into work, different public routes, change of lifestyle...change of countries blah blah blah. Then I think, hmm...I like my job, friends and flat so I should probably stick around for a while. Even so, I though it would be worth documenting my beef with that sad abyss of daily life we like to call the 'commute'.
So here's my top ten commuter bad habits:
10. Calling your 'bessie' for a loud and largely vacuous conversation to tell them you think your boyfriend is cheating on you
I don't want to hear about your personal life. Its boring.
You know as well as I do that this half-hearted 'cry for attention' will not change anything. Yes, he's shagged all your friends including the one your are talking to right now. He's even passed on a nice STD in the process...but we all know you won't leave him, cos...wait for it: "you love him".
So get off the phone and stop wasting our ears with your aimless witterings. You have a victim mentality and until you get some self respect you will continue to attract people who treat you like shit.
9. Large rucksacks
Ok, so your going to Glastonbury or back-packing around the world - so you have a rucksack the size of your nan's bungalow on your back. Good for you...but wait, did you know that during peak hours there is limited room on public transport? Did you also know that by putting the rucksack by your side or inbetween your legs you can let an extra 4 people board the train? It will also prevent you from knocking that poor ginger girl (who is attempting to apply her makeup) to the floor every time you turn 90 degrees.
8. Loud iPod earphone
Yeah, we all like to block out the commute with our favourite sounds - I'm as guilty as the rest. But did you know that when you are listening to your favourite Leanne Rhymes track at full blast - those of us who forgot our iPods have to put up with that god awful wailing crap as well. Then we spend the rest of the journey wondering why your life is so bad that you have to listen to such tripe...maybe its just because you haven't been introduced to any decent music for a while or you haven't figured out how to add new music to your iPod.
7. Repeatedly touching my hand when holding on
Sometimes the train ride is a bit rocky. Generally I never get a seat, so I need something to hold on to. But oh, the nearest bar to hold onto already has a hand attached to it. Damn. Ok, so what I'll do is I'll put myself at full stretch and put but hand 5cm above yours so you don't feel I'm invading your personal space. So...do you stay there or do you look at the situation and give me a little more space on the bar which will in return allow me a more relaxed poise? No neither. Instead you decide to move your hand up and touch mine - meaning I have to further extend myself and not only that, once I've moved you do it again.
I'd really like some personal space but since we can't have any on this train will you just agree to stop touching me?
6. Eating or drinking loudly / smelly food
This didn't bother me until other people mentioned it to me. Now I'm really conscious of it.
The worst offenders are people eating cheese and onion crisps or peanuts in the mornings. Didn't your mother every tell you what constitutes a good breakfast? Its certainly not that crap. Plus...it stinks and make everyone else on the train feel nauseous. So thanks for making me feel ill and munching on it so loudly that even my iPod can't block out the distress.
5. Asking people to move down the carriages with a condescending or aggressive tone
There one thing most of us understand when we initiate our morning commute: Our place on the next train is not guaranteed. Yes, we know it should be - but it just isn't. So get used to it.
If you are late for work, its not the peoples job to magically creating more space in the carriage...its yours. Get up earlier if you really feel that bothered about it.
Granted, commuters are responcible for optimising the space as much as possible - but when the carriage is full, its full and no amount of aggresive posturing will improve this situation.
I can't stand people who blame everyone else but themselves for there own misfortune. Sort your own life out and show a bit of empathy then maybe you might get more sex and chill out a bit.
4. Boarding the train/tube before people have finished getting off
Britain is known across the world for spreading etiquette and manners. Ok, so football hooliganism kinda shafted that cultural value. Even so...the rest of us are still able to display some decorum.
The trouble is that no one told the people of London. This is mainly due to the fact that people from London aren't actually British, therefore they haven't experience the polite civil culture/upbringing of our country (Yes, I know - I'm starting to sound like Al Murray).
So let me spell it out. If there is a que: you politely establish the last person in it and wait patiently behind them. It doesn't even matter if they are queing for a reason, if it has the form/shape of a que us Brits join the party. Its second nature, 'like honey to a bee'. Secondly, if you are getting onto a train or public transport of any kind let the previous passengers off first before boarding. If you fail to do this, you will be outcast from society, especially if the person attempting to get off is elderly, disabled, a mother with a child (in a pram) or just a rather dipsy but attractive looking female.
3. Body odour
Ok, so you have been cheating on your wife or you have been out clubbing every night and you haven't been home for a few days. Good for you, I'm really pleased you are having fun in your life.
But please, before using PUBLIC transport have some decency and use dioderant. Better still, you could have a shower. However, I do understand problems with the limited water and soap supples in developed countries - so I won't labour that point.
I don't care if you have braids and you can't wash them. Wrap it in cling-film or something. I don't want that horric stink in my face for 30 minutes. Besides...if your wife notices that smell when you get home, she'll know you have been cheating and will cut your balls off with the steak knife.
2. Playing R&B or Rap music through your mobile loudspeaker
So...you're on the train going to work and for the first time in ages, there's a free seat and everything seems to be going swimmingly. Then the train stops and on jumps a 17 year old kid. He's wearing a hoody, staring at his feet but maintaining a polite and passive presence on the train. Very good so far - 'your mother did a great job' I hear you say.
But then he reaches into his pocket pulls out his mobile phone and starts blaring some gansta rap through speakers which were designed to send the simple shrill of the nokia ringtone - not mp3's with heavy bass.
The resulting noise is not only highly irritating, but technically a cardinal sin. All we can hear is the tinny crackle of the 1 watt speaker struggling to deliver the full spectrum of the sub-woofer experience accompanied with lyrics such as 'Come and lick my lolipop' or ' Shoot ma' bitch ho, yo!'.
Now I'm all for youths enjoying good music, but I don't need this crap early on a Monday morning. More so, I'm really shocked that the youth of today don't understand the benefits of a good sound system. I'd be more than happy to start a hi-fi mentoring scheme, teaching youths of London the basics of audio engineering.
In the process of applying their minds to something constructive, they might start to appreciate decent music as well. Double bonus! I'll contact the department of social services tomorrow.
1. Pushing to get on the train/tube
You are waiting for your train and there is a large sprawling mass of people attempting to board the next train.
People want to get to work on time. We're all late and we all want to reduce the commuting abyss as much as possible
So tell me. How does aggressively pushing the people in front of you help you achieve this goal? Does it not just piss off everyone and make them more likely to pull out that knife or gun and slaughter the lot of us? I mean - come on, some people in London are REALLY stressed and at the tipping point. Just one small shove could mean the end for all of us. I don't want to die just yet, I'm young and I have a lot to offer the world (see number 2).
If you want to get to work earlier, I suggest you get an early night and get up earlier the following morning. No amount of pushing or shoving is going to help you achieve your goal.
As my idol and mentor Ian Collins might say "At what point did you believe that was acceptable behaviour?"