In a few days time I will be on a train up to Manchester so I can spend the holidays with my mum, sisters and brother-in-law. I’ve made this journey on this particular day (the day before Christmas Eve) for twelve years, and in each one the same stereotypes appear without fail. It’s always extremely busy and cramped and with the holiday trials and tribulations it’s not unusual to see frayed tempers, but in the case of some people it’s easy to see why others get frustrated with them. If you are attempting to travel via train over the next few days, here are some helpful hints and tips that may avoid you getting punched in the face on your journey.
1. Stop complaining. It isn’t my fault that the train is late, that it’s cold, you’ve forgotten one of your presents, the train is too busy, that you’re fed up of the rain or that the price of the coffee is too high. Unless you’re prepared to become a god-like figure and physically change the weather, or be able to invest several billion pounds to improve the quality of the rail network (which isn’t actually that bad in my opinion) then there isn’t anything you can do. (I do appreciate the irony of my complaints about complainers here…).
Tip 2. If someone is wearing headphones, they don’t want to talk to you. I quite like chatting to various people that I meet on my travels, but I often witness someone persistently attempt to talk to the person sitting next to them on multiple occasions, apparently completely oblivious at the irritated response they are receiving – huffing, rolling of eyes and making a big show of taking their headphones off every time they are asked a question are usually an indication that they want to be left alone. Some may perceive this as rude, but it’s important to remember that there may be a valid reason why they want to keep themselves to themselves.
Tip 3. Put your phone on silent. While I’m sure that having the ‘Knightrider’ theme tune as your ring tone is the best thing ever in your world, I lose interest after the fourth time of hearing it. Similarly, I also don’t want to hear every time you match the candies on Candy Crush.
Tip 4. Wash yourself and your clothes before you travel. Clean your teeth. The smell of B.O. and last night’s garlic bread are unlikely to make you new friends anytime soon.
Tip 5. Learn the benefits of a capsule wardrobe. Unless you are going away for several weeks and have bought a present for each resident within your town, NOBODY needs three suitcases. Every year I always seem to sit next to different ladies that are visiting their children for a week and yet have still managed to bring several enormous suitcases with them ‘just in case.’ That’s fine, until everyone else realises that there is no space left for their own luggage and that’s when the arguments start.
Tip 6. If you haven’t been organised enough to reserve a seat in advance, don’t sit down with your enormous bags in a seat that says ‘reserved.’ Similarly, when the actual owner of the seat informs you that you’re sitting in their space, don’t tut, roll your eyes and make a huge show of moving out of the way. It’s your mistake, not theirs.
Tip 7. If you are feeling hungry, you have every right to eat. However, be aware that certain foods smell really strong and their essence will not only permeate the entire carriage but the smell will linger long after you’ve reached your destination, leaving fellow passengers with a delightful odour to remember you by. To the lady who got off the train at Stafford last year, I’m sure that the smell of the rotten hummus you ate is still in the air of that carriage.
Tip 8. Remember that personal space is quite important to some people. Standing so close to the person in front that they can feel your breath in their ears when waiting to get off the train is not going to make the process any faster. Neither will using your bag in an attempt to edge them forward.
Tip 9. Be aware that when you fall asleep, you may not be in control of yourself. Expect that some may not like it if you use them as a pillow and start dribbling on their shoulder.
Tip 10. PUT YOUR HAND OVER YOUR MOUTH. This can be applied to any number of functions – coughing, sneezing, yawning are among these.
Tip 11. Most importantly, remember that you aren’t the only person to be using the service. You aren’t the only one that is tired, stressed, behind in your Christmas prep and desperate to get to your destination. Be respectful, be polite and chill the f*ck out!
What about you guys? Do you see the same stereotypes whenever you use public transport?
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