There are so many pet peeves to be found on my daily train journey to work. They could form an endless list that became worshiped in future millennia as the only surviving manuscript of an ancient civilization, one that used to shoot themselves at 40 mph in a metal tube along a rickety wooden track. Because the list would be so long, so hateful, so passionate that it could never be destroyed in its entirety. So I’m just going to give you a condensed version…
You know that moment when you were the first person in this spot of the platform, you were the one who arrived promptly to seize the space and you were the genius who knew where to stand so that the doors would open right in front of you? That feeling turns to a deep green Hulk fury when new coiffed late bitch jumps on before you, buffeting you out of the way with her bag. I HATE her.
Chances are she’s the one who then chooses your favourite seat, the one you’ve staked as your own, and you’re forced to sit squished up against the window with the fat guy that takes up two seats, or to perch by the toilets after a well-used morning. Oh the injustice, it BURNS. As does that smell in your nostrils.
And when Mr Halitosis falls asleep beside you and leans his head on your shoulder? And his arm is in full contact with yours and his leg is practically on top of yours and it’s all just a liiittttllleee too intimate. Especially when he starts telling Sarah not to stop, whoever she may be and whatever she is doing that he would like her to continue…
But worse is the awkward human being who hates people and doesn’t care who knows. She sits on the outside seat with her bag, pride of place, shameless, on the window seat beside her. And everybody leaning against poles and each other in the aisle glares with open hatred. Because the bag won’t have to stand up all day behind a counter or up a ladder but hey, don’t worry about us. It’s not like her bag could fit on her lap or anything.
Dodgy eye contact is another joy of the commute, when that middle-aged banker is checking you out and you look up and meet eyes by accident. Or when you’re staring at that weird mole on a girl’s cheek and she looks round suddenly. Too late. She definitely saw and she definitely knows what you were staring at.
Now this one can go either way, because sometimes a good eavesdrop is a quality way to spend a morning. But sometimes the dullest of conversations can just ruin everything. When your iPod’s just died and you can’t drown out the winy frump who’s moaning about paperwork to her husband, who is grunting noncommittally as he reads the paper, it can be a challenge to stay awake so that you can actually jump off the train at the right stop. And what if you fall asleep and dream about her paperwork? She’s only got until Friday and some of the numbers havent been emailed across by Jackie – oh god there’s not enough time – oh wait, hang on a minute, you forgot: you don’t give a shit.
PDA is another no no in my book. Public places like large squares and meadows, a nice field in the rain with classical music playing as they run towards each other for a romantic make out session, fine. If there’s space for me to get the hell away from the saliva spray, then they can have sex on the grass for all I care. But when there’s an inch of space between our knees and I have a full-frontal view? I feel like a creepy voyeur in a porn film who’s about to slip into the fray.
I don’t know how many of you out there are victims of this too but it has got to stop. The peephole affects about three million commuters every year. That unsightly window of pot belly, usually covered in coarse silver hair, bulging out between buttons on a shirt, almost brings up my breakfast every time. It’s not okay. Please, commuters, consider the health of your fellow passengers when you get dressed in the morning…
We’ve all been caught in that painful flirting trap as well, because, let’s face it, maybe it’s early and maybe we did our make-up on the way to the station and perhaps we didn’t get up in time to shower, but we’re all still goddamn attractive. It’s a curse. And it can lead to excruciating mornings with the short pesky business man who just isn’t your type but of course sits besides you and starts to chat you up. Because you say no (a gentle no) and you have to sit with him for the next 15 minutes under the pressure of awkward small talk, because he’s committed now. It’s too rude to get your book out and start reading but it’s very very tempting.
Our final journeying jackass is that guy eating Maccy Ds right next to you. It’s been a long day. You’re hungry. You’re a bit hangry too. And here’s some fat greasy bastard rubbing his Big Mac and chips in your face. And people give YOU the strange looks when your stomach makes bizarre human sounds, like a man is trapped inside and begging for some sweet fast food miracle. Oh the injustice.
If only we could live in a world where backseat commuters could hold hands with standing commuters, where we could all sit together in peace without the murderous fantasies towards each other (or, in fact, where we could all just sit because there were actually enough seats for everyone…) I have a dream, ladies and gentleman. That someone invents teleports.