Friday, January 11, 2013

The Horrors of Public Transport

Catching the train in the morning to go to work is seriously one of the worst moments of my day. Not only am I tired, grumpy and yet to have my caffeine fix, I am also secretly wishing I could have stayed in bed all day and still somehow make enough money to pay my rent. I sometimes even try to convince my cat that she should go to work for me, or that we can swap bodies so that she can go as me and I can stay at home sleeping and licking my butt all day.

Of course Bella is a lazy bitch and glares at me over this proposition. She too doesn't even want to think about the horrors of travelling an hour and thirty minutes just to get to the bus station and then walking up a nasty hill to get to my cosy air-conditioned office. That is just way too much for her (and me) to even contemplate.
(Image Source)

And so it begins. After a lovely almost-3-week break I am back to the horrors of public transport once more. I have considered driving into work of course, but sitting in peak hour, back-to-back traffic with people who can’t drive and not being able to read my emails and update my Facebook status (legally) seems almost worse to me than being squashed by a sweaty fat person on a peak hour train. Who knows, maybe my priorities are wrong or maybe I just secretly like being squished J

I also have this paranoid, OCD thing where I need to get to the train station on time so I can park behind the white line. The white line was only recently painted as the train station I go to barely resembles a train station and doesn't even have a car-park. But then the council decided that if people are parking on the side of the road it might be a good idea to paint a white line there. You know for all of those fuckers who think its ok to park in the middle of the road and all. So I was pleased as punch to get to park behind the white line this morning. I even managed to park my car relatively straight which doesn't happen very often (damn you straight reverses!)

The train of course was its usual self-inflicting nightmare. It was on time (strangely for once) so that was a bonus. But getting on I begin to face the many horrors of public transport.
First up the train is pretty packed already and I don’t live to many stations from the starting stop. Shows just how many people choose to live out in whoop-whoop in low-cost affordable housing. I usually sit by the door and then seriously regret this later when I have been almost sat on by about three people before the ride is even over. Oh and the ones who step on my feet (you know who you are!).
Today I decided to do this anyway and just accept the fact that I may be sat on. I fired up my music and closed my eyes. I usually keep my eyes closed the entire train ride so I can try to imagine myself anywhere but on the stinky, overcrowded piece of metal that costs me an arm and a leg each week (even with a student card.)
However today I made the mistake of sitting next to a rather large woman. Not fat (at least not by society’s standards) but rather big. Considering I have just lost over 10 kilos I am happy to say I can now fit myself into the tiny little seats on the train without my butt cheeks ending up on the seat next to me. Too bad I cannot say this for the majority of the population who seem almost content to rub legs with their seat buddies on a daily basis. So not cool.

Eventually I got used to the leg rubbing and accepted it as I have to most days. Then the coughing started.
At first it was just one person coughing who sounded like they had swallowed a lake and were trying to cough it back up. Maybe that’s a bad analogy but you know what I mean- yucky, wet cough that sounds sticky and gross and makes you start to think of all those virus movies. You know the really bad one with Matt Damon where his wife coughed all over someone at the airport and then suddenly the whole country was sick- yeah that one.
This is one thing that annoys me most about public transport is people’s poor hygiene. So many people go to work sick as a dog which really is just selfish as they are going to make other people sick and themselves sicker in the process. This person on the train is a good example of this but at least; it seemed she was covering her mouth.
I have been on so many trains where people cough without covering their mouths. You look up expecting to see either a young bratty child who hasn't learnt to cover their mouth or some dirty low life that couldn't care less. This is what you expect of a person who doesn't cover their mouth on public transport but most times they look just like you and me- normal, in some pretentious looking work attire.
Soon there were about three people coughing their highly contagious; shoulda-stayed-in-bed coughs. I sigh and hope my immune system is feeling up to it today.

Even with my music blaring I can still hear the conversation of some bogan lady swearing and carrying on like they do. Usually bogans manage to keep to the middle of the day trains as they usually don’t work and don’t get up till lunchtime but today was of course the exception. One time I left work early, as I was sick, to get a train back home and there was a young guy on the train discussing a drug deal over the phone (and loudly). I have also heard a woman speaking about wanting to kill her ex and something about getting more Centrelink money. Sometimes I miss catching those middle of the day trains, at least they were entertaining.

But the worst (for me) are the people who constantly move and fidget. I was sitting next to this guy on the train one morning that would not stop moving. First his feet and legs then he acted like he was going to get up and then sat back down and started his strange mannerisms all over again. It was pretty freaky sitting next to him I was waiting for him to have an aneurysm or something but no, he just wanted to wriggle and piss me off.
By the time the train was almost at the city I almost got sat on once (I swear that’s a record!) Also only about three bags managed to hit me in some way or another which I must say is another record.

As much as I hate public transport there are of course some benefits. Not being stuck in traffic is one, being able to read, listen to music and sort of relax is another. It is also much better for the environment and of course great for the government who can charge copious amounts and know that they can get away with it. “You wanna get to work sucker, you better pay up. It might cost you a week’s wages but hey the economy needs it so suck it up,” I can imagine them saying.
Eventually I will have the dream job of sitting on my arse at home in front of my laptop, iPad, iPhone, PC or typewriter, selling my stories for massive amounts of money.

Until then, this is life.

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