Lessons learned on trains

Other people are weird, but I’m probably weirder. I’m always complaining about people around me behaving peculiarly and being peculiar while I’m on public transport. An old man with bright pink hair and a Burberry hat. A woman who ate three bags of crisps, one after the other, and then delved into her pocket and brought out a pile of around 30 train tickets. A youth sat opposite trying to play footsie with me. Weird things I have done recently on trains include moving seats three times within the space of an hour for no discernible reason, craning my neck round in an attempt to watch an episode of The Big Bang Theory playing on someone’s laptop across the carriage from me, and getting such a restless leg while listening to music that the only thing I could do was stomp my foot on the floor. It’s easy to label someone a weirdo, and to be labelled as one, when trapped in a small space for a limited amount of time. Something I need to work on, in life as well as on trains, is not to jump to conclusions about people.

Personal space is important, but overrated. ‘Sir, there is no need for you to park yourself in the empty seat next to mine when almost the entire carriage is empty.’ This is the inner monologue that runs through my head time and time again on trains. One day I may accidentally be rude enough to speak the words out loud. I often wonder if the people who decide to cram themselves next to others when there is an array of uninhabited seats around them are doing it because they are starved of human contact. If this is the case, I feel infinitely sorry for these people – but that is no reason for them to attempt to satiate their physical hunger in my company. (Ew.) There is, of course, a flip-side to this coin. There are the rush hour trains, when I feel like the entire population of Northern England are attempting to board one train. This is the time to give up on the concept of keeping your personal space intact. As long as nobody is molesting you and you’re not in too much pain, you’re just going to have to grin and bear it – or wait for another train. This is when the inner monologue runs more along the lines of, ‘You there! Glaring at me and pushing me further into the wall. You’re not the only one finding this situation uncomfortable, OK?!’

Bringing your own food from home might make you look like a loser – but it’s cheaper and less disgusting. Yeah, that’s right. I’m 21 years old and I sometimes take a packed lunch on the train. While I was at university I often took a packed lunch to lectures or the library. I would rather get a few funny looks than fork out my precious money on a sandwich that is around 80% mayonnaise and 15% soggy white bread with some sad, soggy meat and lettuce thrown in. Taking a packed lunch when you are a grown up (or at least appear like one to the untrained eye) is a lesson in two things: forward planning, and coping with looking like a bit of an idiot. It is also, to a lesser extent, a lesson in not wasting money when there’s no need to.


What lessons have you learned from trains/buses/planes/any other public transport?

Would you like me to share more of the lessons that I have learned? Not that I think I’m particularly wise, but this post was very enjoyable to write.

8 thoughts on “Lessons learned on trains

  1. 1. New theme!

    2. Trains are full of weirdos. I’m sure that the time I fell asleep resting my head on a large stuffed Mr. Bump everyone thought I was one of them. I find myself jumping to conclusions about people, and then feeling really mean. But if you sit next to me on your phone complaining that no-one from your union will support you in your disciplinary because you’ve been in a job for EIGHT WEEKS, I might just LOL in your face.

    3. Packed lunches are the best. Carrot and hummus, or £3 for infamously rubbish university catering? No contest really. As far as I’m concerned, judging the ubiquitous Jack Wills girl opposite you for spending silly money on awful food just because she can is fair game. FORWARD PLANNING FTW!


    • 1. I think it’s rather swanky indeed!

      2. They are. However I suppose that any enclosed space crammed full of humans is inevitably going to be full of weirdos. Arghhh people talking shit on the phone are the worst. I once overheard some knob on the phone to his gran and he was banging on about a job he’d been at for a few weeks and how much everyone loved him. It was so annoying but also hilarious and I have to admit I started laughing to myself by accident which set off a chain of sniggering because it was a busy train and we were all standing in the alcove and every other person must have been thinking the same thing as me.

      3. Judging people wearing Jack Wills is fair game no matter what you’re judging them for.

  2. I love this lessons post, yes to more! And yes to this sweet redesign, it looks so good! And to having your goodreads challenge on the sidebar, I want to figure out how to do that! There is nothing wrong with a packed lunch, either. I take mine to work all day while my coworkers go out at least 4 days a week…I save at least $40 by not going out, and that’s probably a low estimate. Plus I generally like what I make more than lunch out options, restaurant lunches just aren’t that great.

    • Awesome, I’ll try to write some more when I have another moment of being wise haha. To put the goodreads challenge in the sidebar I just copied the code for the widget and put it in the html bit of the theme.

      yeah that’s another great thing about packed lunches, you get to eat exactly what you want!

  3. This post did make me giggle! I definitely think there are plenty of people with strange habits on the train, I have to say that I do find it irritating when the train is relatively quiet and someone sits there for 15 minutes yelling down the phone! I’m sure people think I’m strange too, you’d be surprised at how many people stare at your cane and yet don’t offer to help you with your suitcase…

    Definitely with you on the homemade packed lunch! Although it’s even better when paired with a latte (sorry, I’m not sorry!) :-P

  4. I just happened to have written on my own blog about commuting via public transport. As a newbe to daily tramming I’m finding that public transport is a great time to catch up on all those things I didn’t seem to have time for before. I’ve been focusing on this more than the people I am traveling with. Although, I have noticed an abundance of people who don’t see the need to shower or at the very least sprits some deodorant. And then there are those who, despite wearing headphone, play their music so loud that the rest of the carriage can hear that they are in fact listening to Justin Bieber!

    • I’ll have to go read it! :)

      I completely agree. When I was at sixth form I used to have 2 hours on a bus every day and it was a great opportunity to read a book, finish any work, or just chill out. Arghhh people with tinny headphones and incredibly loud music annoy me so much. The people with the loudest music are always the ones playing the worst music, as you say – Justin Bieber or some awful scream metal or droning dance music.

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