This year I’ve been interning in the city two days a week, and because I’m a little bit scared of CBD parking, this has meant returning to public transport. I used to catch a bus to and from school every day, but over the last couple of years it has been a much rarer occurrence.
The one thing that all commuters will tell you about public transport is that it has the ability to make you HATE PEOPLE. Seriously. There are days when I wonder how some people even make it out of the house, let alone put themselves in the company of other unsuspecting human beings.
So I’ve formulated the seven deadly sins of public transport, which I have no doubt you will be able to witness on any train, tram or bus on any given day.
The Bodily Function Over-Sharer
This unfortunate creature has either forgotten or decided not to shower for approximately the last six years, and has an almost-tangible odour seeping from them. Their perpetual and increasingly noisy blocked sinuses also seem to make them only capable of breathing with their mouths open, expelling clouds of halitosis in every direction. If you’re as unfortunate a traveller as I seem to be, this person will probably be a few inches taller than you and will stand holding on to a hanging handle, placing their exposed armpit in the exact vicinity of your face.
The Seat Hog
This person appears to have missed out on the basic lessons of courtesy and manners, and despite often being quite young or able-bodied, will take it upon themselves to occupy more than their allotted one seat. Often, it is because some inanimate object in their possession apparently requires a chair of its own, but sometimes it is because they simply can’t travel three stations without putting their feet up. While the Bodily Function Over-Sharer can only be ignored and avoided, the Seat Hog deserves any death-stares, frustrated throat-clearings or outright tellings-off they receive.
The Human Amplifier
To give them the benefit of the doubt, this commuter may be hard of hearing. If not, nothing justifies their need to perform every task at maximum volume, whether it is listening to music in ‘personal’ headphones that are in fact blaring loud enough for the next carriage to hear, or conducting a phone call with someone else of seemingly limited hearing, requiring them to YELL THE ENTIRE CONVERSATION. LIKE, ALL OF IT.
To put it simply, this person probably should have driven. When someone gets on a train with a guitar/tuba/double bass/eight bags of books/a fishing rod/three dogs/half of their belongings in removalist’s boxes and, like The Seat Hog, takes up more than their one allocated seat in order to put them all down, perhaps they should question whether borrowing a car would have been easier than lugging all of the above up the escalators at Parliament Station.
The Space Invader
The slightly cleaner cousin of The Bodily Function Over-Sharer, the Space Invader is either unaware or unsympathetic to the concept of personal space. Think: choosing to sit next to you on an otherwise empty carriage. Reading a broadsheet newspaper that requires them to reach across your chest to open the pages. Trying to share the one small handle that you are steadying yourself with, causing them to essentially spoon you while standing on a public train. Just…no. If I can hear your breathing and/or heartbeat, you’re too close.
The GET YOUR OWN F&*@ING ENTERTAINMENT
Plain and simple. If you have nothing to keep you occupied on public transport, it does not give you license to read over my shoulder. See; Space Invader.
The Teenage Settlers
You know the type. A small group of young people (often referred to as ‘youths’ when they inevitably get a mention in police reports), usually clothed in an atrociously reappropriated version of a school uniform, hanging around a station platform, drawing alarmed looks from other commuters. They enter their chosen public vehicle with a sense of unrivaled entitlement, and proceed to plant flags all over the New Land, by way of school bags, shoes and food scraps. Their conversations are conducted at maximum volume (See; The Human Amplifier) but with the added effect of an unstoppable stream of profanities, designed with the dual purpose of impressing their friends and intimidating, alienating and ultimately driving away the original inhabitants of their newly claimed territory.