I’m a ‘considerate commuter’, so much so I could add this to my LinkedIn bio. Considerate commuter – this is a thing, I promise you. I know it’s a thing because I just invented the phrase. A considerate commuter refers to someone who is not completely self-obsessed and realises that they are surrounded by thousands of other people as they plod along to work. They abide by all unwritten travelling etiquette: standing on the right side of the escalators, walking at the average pace of a busy commuter, and in general they are good people. We like considerate commuters. Everybody say “AMEN”.
Now. I’m a rational person. Okay. Fine. I am a rational person… Most of the time. I try to stay calm and breathe before getting angry. But believe me when I say this is not always possible when making my way to work, and so today I bring you – my top three pet peeves as a commuter.
The Quiet Zone
One in four carriages are clearly marked as the Quiet Zone on my train. Every second window has a sticker in the left hand corner that says “This is the Quiet Zone”. The doors on the outside of the train are clearly marked with “Quiet Zone”. Glass panels inside these carriages are… Yup. You guessed it – everyone say it with me – clearly marked with “Quiet Zone”. The walls have stickers on them that politely ask customers to put their devices on silent, keep their music low, and avoid phone calls.
So, I’m sure you can understand my bewilderment when I see people getting onto this carriage bellowing as loudly as they can, having phone calls, shouting down the phone like they’re at some music concert or discussing their weekend plans with their fellow travellers. Like, seriously?! Why are you even on this carriage if you wanted to have a party and socialise? Get off, and move on please! And do not get me started on those who think there are set hours to the zone. There aren’t. It applies all the time – weekdays and weekends.
It worries me that as adults we cannot respect something as simple as a rule allocated to a carriage dedicated to those who value peace. If your definition of “Quiet” does not correlate with the Oxford Dictionary’s definition then please just assume this carriage is not for you.
The Seat Hogger
I don’t know if it’s my bad luck, or if something about my face says I like people to sit nice and close to me. I will always without fail meet seat hoggers either travelling to or from work – on really bad days, it can be both.
How to spot a seat hogger:
They usually fall into the carriage, making a lot of noise. Look for the loud sighs – on average they can sigh as many as three times prior to sitting down, whilst simultaneously folding up their coats and then hurling them into the overhead space, mimicking what can only be described as a discus throw.
As they prepare to sit down, they will slam their asses down onto the seat and for a few seconds you will feel like you’ve experienced a mini earthquake. My entire bone structure always trembles and then before I know it, I am sat on half of my seat and slowly being crushed into the side of the train or slowly falling into the aisle as I edge further and further away, depending on where I am sat. This may sound dramatic, but I assure you it is an accurate representation of what happens.
If you pay for one seat, please don’t take up an extra half of mine.
The Slow Walkers/Head-In-Phone Walkers
I love a good stroll to work at a leisurely pace. If I’m running to good time, I love to take my time and avoid getting flustered (I mean this rarely happens, but when it does this is how I like it.) And when I decide to take my time to walk, I will always ensure I keep to one side and I’m not strolling like I’m at an art gallery right in the middle of the walk way. See – a considerate commuter.
You have to agree with me, there is a way to walk with the crowd during peak time on the city streets, right? And slowly is not the way. Neither is walking with your head buried into your smartphone. You can only do one or the other effectively – so either stop to one side and check that urgent message or walk. You cannot do both without disrupting the strides of those around you. And if you come across anyone like me, please don’t be alarmed when we “urghhh” in your face and proceed to ask if you’re serious.
Considerate commuters ensure they always stop and stand to the side.
You don’t realise how hard it was to shortlist my pet peeves down from, like, 675 to three. I could go on: careless smokers who walk in front of you and just puff their cigarette smoke into your face, people who cannot respect escalator etiquettes – the right hand side is for standing, the left is for walking and please always leave at least one step between you and the person in front because funnily enough sir, I do not want to feel your crotch against my backside! What else? Oooo those who decide they want to suddenly stop – usually at the top of stairs or directly at the exit of a tube station.
I know these problems are never going to go away, and our list of annoyances will increase as mankind becomes more idiotic, selfish and inconsiderate – I mean the British do love to moan as the stereotype goes. But I guess until then I’ll keep ranting and calling it out, with the hope that I’m spreading the awareness about commuter etiquette and shaping the next considerate commuter.