You’ll run into all sorts of weird and wonderful people travelling by commuter train or subway.
If you’re like me, whose life moves along the wheels of a train or metro-line, you would know the reason why I’m telling you this. Travelling by train is easy on the pocket, usually saves you the trouble of being stuck in traffic, and if you are a people-watcher (or even if you aren’t), you are bound to run into all kinds of personality types.
While it’s usually the seat- offering- good- Samaritan I hope to encounter, the co-travellers I prefer not to meet I’ve curated into a list after my years of travelling to work by the subway.
Read this and spot them on your next ride, dear commuter, and make a mundane trip a lot more fun. Because sometimes you just have to see the humour in it all.
1. The Opportunist
Equipped with the keenest set of eyes and the sprightliest set of Hermes’s sandals (no, not the brand, I mean the winged sandals that flew the Greek god as swiftly as a bird), the opportunist can make even the most athletic sprinter nervous. Standing slyly in the corner, they have their eyes everywhere – closing of books, dismembering of earphones, locking and putting away of phones – they are watching and listening. And in the blink of an eye, they are found victoriously perched upon the just-vacated seat.
2. The DJ/Soloist
I mean, who doesn’t want to listen to other people’s music, right? However, what’s more interesting than listening to other’s music is listening to them crooning along while they are lost in the sound of the music on their earphones. Writer’s advice: run!
3. The Seat-Offering Samaritan
The train can seem nothing less than a jungle – people hunching hungrily for the next empty seat or staring endlessly, as if gauging the degree of threat you might pose, but that does not mean that kindness is dead. Big love to people who actually look out for senior co-passengers, pregnant gentlewomen, or those with weary shoulders, tired eyes, heavy-looking baggage, or maybe a child and, smiling, offer their laboriously acquired seat to them. Love them!
4. The Elbow Charger
Beware of these people! All eyes on the door, they strategically stand in the centre of the train to land the first empty seat. Blinkers on, they clutch their handbags or fold their arms in a perpendicular fashion, literally elbowing their way into the train and onto the nearest seat. The trick in avoiding them is to spot them on the platform before the train arrives and secure your place exactly behind them – never ahead, and definitely never on the side.
5. The Loudspeaker
If you are into eavesdropping, the animated commuters attached to their phones could be your pals. However, if you don’t want to know why x-friend has been stealing their university notes, or how y-friend will not be able to meet them because he got sick after a night out, once again: scram!
6. The Video Freeloader
If you are not new to having people watch your Netflix program over your shoulder, you may be tolerant of this one. Imagine this – you are watching the latest episode of your favourite series and suddenly you hear a sigh followed by a ‘ wow!’ Who could that be? You check your earphones; snugly plugged in. You look left; nah, she is busy texting. You look right; bingo! A curious set of eyes are glued to your phone/tablet reading the subtitles and laughing along! What to do, you ask? Try sharing a few giggles and tell us how that went.
7. The Prohibitor
Have you ever strategically planned your entry so that you managed to nudge The Elbow Charger, stepped away from the Loudspeaker, followed The Opportunist to grab a similar opportunity, but just as you were about to lay your glorious hindquarters onto the seat, you were blocked by someone prohibiting you from sitting because they were saving that seat for their friend?
Beware, The Prohibitor is the crusher of your derriere dreams. She/he is hard to identify if you are not paying close attention. How do you spot them? Notice two or three passengers close together giggling, chatting or just nodding at each other and KNOW that they are going to want to sit together.
What other types have I missed? Let me know!
Keep laughing and enjoy the ride!
Check out my related post: Is your attitude worth catching?