Public transport is one of the necessary evils of contemporary society. Nobody particularly enjoys using it. We’d all be much happier if it could be avoided totally. However, the fact remains that it is there, and when it does run on time (on the rare occasion), it can be quite convenient. That is until you remember that the ‘public’ part of ‘public transport’ brings with it a myriad of different characters, seemingly designed to make your journey as memorable as possible – be it in a good way or in a bad one.
1. The crowder
This person doesn’t know the meaning of personal space. This person WILL choose to sit next to you when there are a dozen other empty seats available. They will subtly jab you in the elbow and they’ll take their sweet time standing up to let you out when your stop arrives. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand just how sheer the amount of people crammed into these trains or buses can be. Sometimes personal space isn’t a thing that’s possible – but when it is, please don’t be a dick. Respect it.
2. The teenager
You can spot them from a mile away. Or hear them. They’re usually playing music really loudly from their phones. Or discussing who banged who at whatever raging fifteen-year-old house party they got completely shit-faced on four (guava) cruisers at. The teenager is a particularly painful one to come across because as much as they might disrupt the current commute, they are also someone that we recognise as being ourselves at one stage, although it may have felt like another lifetime ago. It brings the added element of an existential crisis to accompany the rest of your trip home, with a Justin Bieber or One Direction soundtrack to go along with it.
3. The PDA couple
It takes a special kind of obnoxious to think that the world is somehow interested in seeing you lock lips with their significant other for a sustained period of time. It takes an even more special kind of obnoxious to do it on a crowded, peak-hour train during the morning commute to work when you’re doing so while overcrowding at least half a dozen others personal space. Transit officers are so keen on issuing fines for people having their feet up on seats. A fine for PDA would be of much greater serving to society. Bonus points if you see the guy awkwardly adjusting his crotch at any point in the trip.
4. The stinker
This is the type of person you smell before you see. You might have your head buried in a particularly engaging book, or maybe you’re staring out the window watching the world fly past as Ellie Goulding warbles about drowning. Then a whiff of something not-quite-right is snared on your senses. It gets worse with every passing second, and you know without seeing that you’ve just been joined by the unmistakable stench of someone who doesn’t much care for personal hygiene. You look ahead intently and channel every ounce of negative thinking into getting that person to keep on walking. The air gets thicker.
5. The angel
If you’ve never fallen in love on public transport, then I have a hard time believing you’ve ever actually partaken in it. You could be having the worst day of your life. You could feel like every single thing is against you. Until the doors part, and some heavensent blend of Matt Corby and Ryan Gosling step ons and flashes a smile. That’s when it feels like everything will be alright with the world again. That is of course until they depart at the next station and you’re left with nothing but the memories of their beautiful smile, and the painful knowledge of what was never meant to be.
Happy travelling everyone!
Words by Harrison Cartwright, who spends far too much time on trains, in case you didn’t notice.