Recently, I have been commuting. (Urgh).
It’s for an internship, which I am very happy to be doing, as it’s a mix of two of my 3 favourite things – writing and Archaeology. (The third is, obviously, cake). Yet I actually only spend 1 more hour in the office than I do on the train, and that’s only if there’s no delays, or we don’t make one of those amazing stops in the middle of no where (If any of you lovely readers are fans of Bill Bailey you’ll remember ‘For the Coulis, is it?’ For those of you who aren’t.. why not?! ;p) There was actually one of those this morning, the train ticket-conductor-man did the following, quite frankly brilliant, announcement; “I have no idea why we’ve stopped, and the train driver doesn’t want to speak to me, so we’ll just have to wait until we start moving again.”
I’ve gotten quite good at getting a seat, it involves knowing exactly where the doors will open on each platform, and standing there with elbows out, ready to duck and dive my way through the other, less aggressive, passengers. I would prefer it if it were all a lovely, polite experience where the elderly and pregnant ladies were allowed on first, and the rest of us followed in a very British ‘No no, after you’ ‘No please I insist’ sort of way. Unfortunately however, if ever there was proof needed that chivalry is dead, it can be found on trains. Men (normally in an expensive suit, often with an open can) will literally punch a woman in the face to get to a seat first. Ok, maybe not literally, but you can tell they want to as they do literally shove them out the way. They then proceed to studiously stare down at their Blackberry/Iphone/Ipad/Kindle/Tiny netbook/newspaper until it’s their stop, making sure they don’t catch the eye of any tired old ladies or women with heavy bags.
The other thing I love about sitting next to strangers on the train, is when you’ve already squashed yourself up against the window, and the person (again, usually an older man, sorry to generalise but it’s true) who sits next to you STILL feels the need to lean back on your arm, and breath his coffee breath very deeply into your personal space. When I take an isle seat, I lean out into the isle a bit, so I do not lean on the other person – why do these men not know about this rule? Surely it is a rule?
I’ve found the best way to stop these particular sorts of passengers sitting next to you is by reading slightly odd sounding books. So far the most effective has been this which I actually started reading just because it’s really interesting, I recommend it as a first foray into the History of Medicine, although I found I knew a lot of the content already due to doing a course in the subject! I’m thinking this may also work in scaring people away, it’s on my ‘to buy’ list.
I’m going to stop now before I start on people who seem to think it’s ok to fart and listen to music on their mobiles, and REALLY start ranting. 😀
On the upside, I get to see lots of wildlife out the window, and the other day I saw the sun rise behind Amberley Castle, all covered in snow with a beautiful deep purply red sky, filling the carriage with a red glow.
The sad thing was, not one other person in the carriage even looked up from their phones.