I’ve had a lot of experience with trains.
Living in a small boring town, it’s the most convenient way to get to anywhere interesting. Not only that, I commute to work via train. It’s a habitat I’ve become very familiar with.
The problem with trains is that you’re forced into the confines of a small space with lots of other human beings, and human beings are complicated creatures. Most understand the etiquette of the situation – others don’t. I’ve done a lot of people-watching and I think it’s time I reported my findings, focusing on those species of traingoers that don’t understand the etiquette.
THE UNLICENSED DJ
Quick history lesson. In 1910, a guy named Nathaniel Baldwin invented a device we now call headphones. Some people still aren’t aware of this invention today. Meet The Unlicensed DJ. Trains used to full of them, 14-year-olds playing tinny dubstep out of their Motorola RAZRs. Most have realised that this isn’t a good way to listen to music – that the sound quality is unlistenable, as well as being inconsiderate to everyone else on the train. Others remain oblivious, having moved onto portable speakers. Do these people possess no sense of self-awareness? Nobody wants to hear your shitty music, the train doesn’t need a DJ, everyone thinks you’re a total mug.
The air doesn’t circulate well on trains, especially in the underground. The Stinker knows this but chooses to bring Pickled Onion Monster Munch on the train anyway, maybe even a kebab. They get off at their stop, but the acidic stench remains, nestling itself into every passenger’s nostrils, haunting the carriage for the rest of the day. That’s the first subspecies of Stinker. The second doesn’t wash and simply stinks. They are more commonly found on buses.
THE ANGRY TELEPHONIST
Is telephonist a word? In any case, The Angry Telephonist is angry and they’re on the telephone and screw you if you have to listen to their whole angry phone conversation. They may even have the other person on loudspeaker, because this is the kind of traingoer, much like the Unlicensed DJ, who likes to be heard.
THAT IDIOT ON THE UNDERGROUND WEARING A BLUETOOTH HEADSET
There’s no signal on the underground, no-one is going to call you, you look like a robot.
THE UNRULY TODDLER
Kids are horrible creatures. Most of the time, it’s the parents’ fault for not having any discipline, letting their kids run down the carriage and cry and scream for the entire hour-long journey. Just chuck them out the window, problem solved.
You can spot a weirdo from the fact that they’re incredibly sociable. Being sociable on a train? In Britain? What’s that all about? Of course, the weirdo isn’t just sociable, they’re also completely insane, latching onto you and bombarding you with topics you usually wouldn’t talk about with your closest mates. I remember being approached by a forty-year-old Irish guy whose opening line was ‘I’m an alcoholic. What do you think of that?’. You glance around the carriage for help, but all your fellow sane passengers are avoiding eye contact, moving to a different part of the train. And so you must become the sole counsellor of this madman, whilst he shows you pictures of his home taxidermy collection and thinks about gnawing your hand off.
Finally we come to The Cyclist. After taking half a century to get on the train, they then proceed to block the doors with their bike so that no-one else can get on or off of the carriage. Honestly, what kind of social degenerates think that this is acceptable behaviour? Who has the audacity to take their bike onto a train?
Oh, yes, me… *stares down guilty at the floor*