3 February 2010

Top Ten Commuter Sins

You get into a rhythm.  For long periods you can cope, you can deal with it.  Sure some days are better then others, but generally you get along and it's not too hard to forget that what you're doing would drive most normal people insane very rapidly.  I am of course talking about commuting.
This coming August marks my fifteenth year of being a commuter.  My journey has over the years altered route a few times due to job changes, but on the whole has never varied much in duration.  I get up, shower, dress, grab a coffee, smoke a cigarette and then realize I'm going to miss my train… pretty much every day.  I sit in the quiet carriage and quietly fume as people ignore the concept of a quiet carriage.  I write or read or sometimes just doze until the initial leg of my trip is over.  This first sequence of my commute from waking up to arriving in London usually takes just over two hours.  Next there's quite a long walk through the (usually) rainy and (always) crowded streets of the city. Then there's a tube ride, then another walk before finally reaching my destination.  It's never fun, it's either cold and miserable (autumn, winter and spring) or unbearably hot  (summer) and it always involves trying very hard not to get angry.  About two hours from door to door, give or take… then in the evening I do the whole thing again but backwards, which usually takes a little longer… but like I said, you get into a rhythm.

There are times however, when that rhythm breaks down.  The journey becomes extremely tiresome and overly annoying when things go wrong.  You get to the station only to realize you've left your ticket at home. A packed tube train is so full you can't get on and then have to wait twelve minutes for the next one… which is then also full.  It's sunny when you leave home but pissing down with frogs and spanners by the time you get to the city or alternatively it's as cold as a witches tit when you leave the house and hotter than Hastlehoff's speedos when you get there.  It's at the times like these where your inner voices start saying things. They start to goad you and cajole you and try to convince you that no matter what the alternatives are, they've got to be better than this commuting hell.  And sometimes those voices can be very convincing… but like I said, you get into a rhythm.

Personally I feel that one of the worst things about being a commuter is not the stress of missed connections and running late for work (although that can be considerable), it's not the financial cost (again certainly substantial), it's not even the inconvenience and discomfort, it's simply the vast amount of time it takes.

Most commuters I know have a far shorter journey times than I do, but completing that journey as I have, back and fourth every working day for years and years on end, (somewhere in the region of  six thousand times and counting), gives one an almost Zen like sense of how it affects your moods  and the mood of others who are also going through the same thing.  Commute for long enough and you'll start to see the aforementioned rhythm of it, something you won't understand when you're just starting out.

Once you've reached that point, you start to do things like work out just how many hours, days, weeks, months and yes even years you've spent waiting for or riding on trains.  My commute running total is pretty startling; for every working day I spend, I spend about another half a working day traveling to get there and then get back home again afterwards (sometimes more).  As I mentioned earlier I've been doing this for almost fifteen years… which means that I've spent about seven and a half working years just traveling on or waiting for trains.  What I wouldn't give to have that time back.  All the things I could have achieved in that time don't bare thinking about, all the extra sleep I could have had, all the time I could have spent with my family and friends… gone.

But there are a couple of things I have gained from the experience.  Firstly I am now immune to the rigors of travel, I can go anywhere, endure any length of plane or train ride and feel exactly that same as I do every day upon conclusion. 

The second thing I gained from commuting was the time to observe other people… a lot of people.  And from my observations and with my clear authority as a seasoned commuter, I have concluded something.  I have watched and noted the behavior of all sorts of people from all walks of life while they travel and I have slowly come to a point where I think I can speak with some authority.  And here it is:

Most people… and yes I am 100% sure I mean most… most people are… (how can I put this succinctly)… most people are completely pointless, selfish, inconsiderate, arrogant, ignorant sacks of brainless and useless crap, who'd be doing the rest of the world a huge favour if they'd just throw themselves into a large pit and then set themselves on fire… like I said… most people, not everyone, but most.

There are of course many people who could (if they were so inclined) remove themselves from this particular bucket of social spume by simply adjusting a few little things in their lives. It is in the interest of such a concept that I now present for you the following list of commuter sins.  Have a look down the list to see if you are guilty.  If you've committed any of the heinous commuter crimes shown then please either make a conscious effort never to be a repeat offender or simply make your way to death pit six pleasethankyouverymuch.

Top Ten Commuter Sins Countdown:

10. Put your feet on the seats.
Don't care what you say… don’t care how clean you think your shoes are… you're a pig.

9. Forget to get your ticket out before you reach the barriers.
'I seem to have arrived at a barrier with twenty people behind me… how am I to progress… it would seem that some form of ticket is required to bypass this obstacle… oh yes I have one somewhere, let me look through all of my pockets and bag for a minute'… twat.

8. Sit in an aisle seat and put your bags on the window seat.
See it all the time… it's just a selfish attempt to hog two seats to yourself… die… die screaming.

7. Sit at a table seat if you've no intention of using the table.
On some trains there are loads of tables and finding a table seat is as easy as stumbling onto the train, but on those trains with only a couple of tables per carriage… do me a favour and don't hog one if you don't need it.  I need to type some braingunk.

6. Drunkenly try to get a sing-a-long going on a train.
The last train home from the city invariably turns into a drunken wanker-fest, quite possibly including drunken singing and or random attempts to chat up women… if you do this and I get a chance, I'll push you down a bank into a ditch and piss on you.

5. Listen to a personal stereo.
No matter how quiet you think you have it, it's not quiet enough for the guy sitting next to you who's trying to sleep.  He might look like he's already asleep but he's not… he's planning your murder… seriously he is.

4. Talk louder when you're on the phone than when you are off it.
A very common sin and one for which the only cure is a damned good slap.

3. Keep the key tones active on your phone while txting.
This one could quite conceivably get you stabbed.  I've never understood the need to keep key tones switched on for any reason unless you're blind (which would be a valid and perfectly acceptable reason). Not blind… turn the fucking tones off retard.

2. Disregard quiet zones in any way listed on the sign.
If you find yourself in a quiet zone either on purpose of just by chance, have a read of the sign.  It'll list all the things that are bad form.  Oh and don't pretend you didn't realize you were in the quiet zone… there are signs everywhere and even the doors you passed through to get on have QUIET ZONE written in stonking great pink letters on them.  Be nice and don't ignore it or I'll follow you home and burn your house down tomorrow… yeah?

1. Play music through your phone speaker.

It's unlikely that you do this one to be honest because if you're reading this… you're reading.  The moronic munchkins who do commit this most cardinal of all commuter sins never look like they would have such a skill.  You should never do it and you should teach your kids never to do it either… people have died for less and to be honest with less justification.  It can only ever lead to bad things… oh and it sounds shit too.

And that's it, the top ten Commuter Sins.  There were more but I thought I'd draw the line at ten for now…Got to dash… got a train to catch.