Making conversation on the train

In which I do my best to avoid my fellow commuters.

Empty train carriage

Sitting in the car, stuck in traffic is horrible. While I listen to the radio I am thankful that I am in my own company and not longer a prisoner of public transport. By driving I am no longer having to take the train and rely on the omnishambles that is the British Rail network. After being a commuter for half a year I came to realise the horror of the daily ride to work. I’ve always been used to travelling alone either by car or foot but being enclosed with other people just highlights my dislike of being a member of the public.

Now though I am back on the rails and commuting into to work via the majesty of the British rail network. This means slow and overcrowded trains and my best impression of being horrendously anti-social so nobody dares to talk to me.

Being on a train is an exercise in mass anti social behaviour, nowhere else would you deliberately try to avoid sitting next to someone. This may just be a British thing, but as this picture shows despite the train being full there are spare seats available. This is so you don’t have to sit next to somebody else.

People on a train looking miserable
Everyone having fun?

There are some ways to prevent people from sitting next to you. Did you know that when you buy a train ticket it entitles you to take one carry on bag, and that bag is also entitled to one seat? No, you didn’t? That’s because every time someone takes up a seat on a busy train with a bag, and then has to be prompted to remove it, is a criminal. They are committing a crime against being a decent human being, take your goddam bag off the seat it is not a sentient creature needing rest it’s just you being rude.

This goes for you guys who think that by reading the broadsheets makes you look smart, and to be able to hold all that brain power you have to also take up the personal space of the person next to you.

In fact there is often only one type of seat guaranteed to be free, that by the window. For some reason the normal commuter has an aversion to moving over and sitting next to a pane of glass. Again, this relies on the standing train passenger having to ask the seated occupant to either “move the heck over” or get out of the seat to let them in. This process is normally complicated by their being a bag in the desired place looking out on the countryside.

The only place you are guaranteed to be able to find commuters huddled is at the door. That portal in and out of hell that is as crowded as limbo, and full of souls in just a happy mood. Rather than move along the train the masses prefer to gather in a place that prevents passage to a better place.

The exit from the purgatory of the train.

London Midland train at train station
The train to Hell is now departing from Platform 1, we are sorry for the delay on this service

I don’t have a problem with public transport infrastructure (as it is an inanimate object and it is hard to feel too angry about steel), in fact I think we should have more of it. It’s just the people on there.

I know that 99% of the people on trains and buses are normal, and I’m not suggesting that there is any stigma. It’s just that whenever I get on any transport I seem to always be near the crazies.

The ones who cough flem into tissues and check it out, or mutter to themselves, or smell of pee… Or even worse, and these are the ones I hate the most, want to talk to me.

Even with my best death stare they want to strike up a conversation. I’m already grumpy and tired so what about me says “hey let’s chat”?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Middle Seat.”

It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?

Author: geekergosum

Ah, so you worked out the riddle. You just needed to use dwarfish and the doors to Geek Ergo Sum opened. Or perhaps you just used Google. Either way you are here, on my little corner of the Internet.

5 thoughts on “Making conversation on the train”

  1. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on this topic. I’ve also often wondered if it is just a British thing. Tourists from other countries seem to be far more chatty too. Something tells me this was a great Daily Prompt for you? 🙂

    Like

    1. Having to make small talk is one of my pet hates, and on a twenty minute train ride this is all it can be. I would much rather just sit and watch, thankfully most others on the train feel the same but there is something about my face that attracts the one person in the carriage who is feeling chatty.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The last time I decided to be friendly on a train, I had to flash my wedding band so he got the hint. It’s put me off somewhat…

        Like

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