On a recent train journey I realised how much I hate the people who are on the train with me at any given time. Now I have spent a fair amount of time on trains, they were my primary mode of transportation when travelling between college and home. They are also my primary form of transport when I travel outside of Carlow because I don’t drive – due to the fact that the whole idea of sitting behind a wheel and having to operate a large mechanical object terrifies me, and buses just take way too long. Basically I’ve been on a lot of trains. I can make the announcements better than the recorded voice because of the sheer volume of trains I have been on. But I do not enjoy the journey because I always find the people on the train incredibly and unnecessarily annoying.
I always seem to end up sitting beside a really well-meaning but chatty person and not the ‘I want to tell you my life story’ type of person the ‘tell me everything about you’ type of person. When I was in college this was easy enough to manage because they would just get really into what I was studying and tell me all they know on the subject, implying that they knew everything about it, then the trolley would go past and I would stick headphones in so they could no longer make conversation with me. Now when I meet people on the train I run out of things to say within the first 60-80 seconds of the conversation and all they get out of me is where I’m from. As I come from a relatively small county they proceed to just ask me about famous people from there, in the vain hope that I will be related to someone they have heard of. I’m not just for the record and I also hate small talk with strangers in confined spaces.
I also dislike the really loud obnoxious people that just like to be heard on trains. They are usually a rowdy bunch who is drinking, practically shouting at each other, leaning across the aisle so they can shout in closer range of their friend and in some cases, depending on the level of drunkenness, chanting and singing – making it impossible to sleep, read, study or even hear music through headphones. On my most recent trip I was stuck behind a group of young gents in their mid-twenties. They were drinking and talking loudly – they weren’t necessarily disturbing anyone on purpose, they were just really loud and their topics of conversation were just ridiculous. One guy told a story about how he has nothing to do in work as of late so he took two hours for lunch and managed to get the ride for himself. They main concern his friends had with the story was not about the sex itself but was with how the girl he hooked up with was able to take two hours for lunch as well, his response was that she ONLY worked in HR – and his friends accepted this reply as if that career would of course mean that this girl could take a long sex filled lunch. This young man also discussed his golf club membership and how his name made it easier for him to get in. You know because his name carries a lot of weight. I mean, seriously, why do you feel the need to announce this while surrounded by a bunch of strangers, I mean thanks I’m getting a paragraph in a blog about it. Oh and I have often ended up sharing a train with people who feel the need to blast music while the coach is full. I don’t want to listen to your early noughties hip-hop and badly remixed 90s songs for two hours people! I would rather not be subjected to that if you don’t mind. I would like to listen to my own shit music so if you could turn yours down so I can actually hear the music in my head phones that would be great.
So far it seems like my main issue with the people I am sharing my journey with is the level of noise and chit chat. But don’t be deceived, I also dislike the really quiet passengers, specifically, the really quiet people who stare at me during the journey. They are usually a few seats away, sitting on the aisle seat opposite me. They start off harmlessly, making awkward eye contact as they look around. Then it happens again but rather than looking away when they see me returning their stare they keep staring, like they missed something about me the last time they looked at me. Then it gets creepier. You will look up from your book and see them watching you with a confused look on their face and this time they look you up and down then look away. Then they do it again and they don’t look away and suddenly you realise they are full blown staring at you and you don’t know whether to move or not because you are worried they may be planning on murdering or eating you. Then you start getting self-conscious about it and think there is food on your face or you forgot to wear trousers. Then after all that you realise that they are in fact not looking at you but looking at your book or laptop. Then you get paranoid that they want to steal it so you refuse to leave your seat even though you have drank a fuck ton of water and your bladder feels as though it will burst. Finally, after the entire ordeal has freaked you out so much that you have thought about every object in your bag you could use as a weapon of defence against them, the train comes to their stop and they leave, carrying on with their lives not knowing the stress and potential bladder damage they may have caused you.
I think from now on I should book an entire coach for myself when I travel by train so I don’t have to be around people or you know, I could take the bus or learn to drive…yeah I think I will be putting up with train people for quite a while longer.