It’s your seat. No, I insist.

October 9, 2008

Today I have mostly been noticing how people will not sit down in a seat on the tube. Someone will get off at a stop and about 7 or 8 people will eye up the seat but no one will sit down in it. I attribute this to all these people being English or having lived in England far too long. It’s a kind of politeness that isn’t really people being polite, it’s people just not wanting to feel guilty for having taken a seat. It’s the exact opposite of what I’ve described before when people will position themselves really close to seats so they can get them.

You can see these people from a mile off, the ones who huddle around the doors peaking in for a clue as to which would be the most profitable way to run. I can only imagine they’re bankers or go getters, not very bright but with the kind of enthusiasm and determination needed in our cut throat world to get ahead. These are not the people who get guilty for taking a seat that someone else might be better off with. When these guilty ridden people somehow manage to occupy the space besides the seats you get this guilty standoff until either another seat becomes available, at which point both seats will usually become occupied, or, a go getter jumps in and steals the seat leaving all the sheepish commuters a bit annoyed at their lack of haste.


Solving my daily commute woes

October 8, 2008

Everyone has a frustrating journey in to work, or, that’s what we assume when we have a frustrating journey in to work. I’m sure that someone who works on a gorgeous island in the middle of a fantastic sea doesn’t have a frustrating time getting out of their comfy bed and walking down the beach every morning. This, however, is neither here nor there. The fact of the matter is, when commuting to work in a train or car you need to find ways to amuse yourself and bring your mood up.

Normally I’m quite good at keeping my mood up, I see grumpy commuters, people getting in eachothers way, and I amuse myself and their distress. I use their misery to help lift my spirits, which sounds terribly nasty but if I could lift their spirits as well, I would. However, this hasn’t been working of late because I’ve been reading on the way to work and my commute has just changed to a busier route. As a result of the busier route I often move to let people onto the train which means I can’t read my book. Such sacrifices are rarely rewarded with very much, but other people will persist on making it so that they can read, but so that you (me) cannot. Because of this I have to find other ways to keep my spirits up during the morning commute and today I realised I should write daily posts about various things that happen on my daily commute, behaviour and realisations about how people act.

This then, is my first observation. There are very few people who will actually reward you for being kind and generous on the London tube. Be weary about giving up your seat, something I do, as people will position themselves so as to get seats before anyone else, or look especially grumpy. I have noticed this more of older women, who I would happily give up my seat for, but when they walk right up beside people sitting down in a brisk fashion and suddenly look grumpy and tired I feel like I’m being manipulated or made to feel guilty.

If you demand my seat, you’re not getting it. If you feel you have a right to my seat, you probably don’t. It infuriates me that people think they have to have a seat. This displays itself in middle aged men (they won’t demand my seat, but they do position themselves so as to get seats) who have most probably been sat down all day in front of a computer and will sit down when they get home in front of a tv no doubt. What really brought this to my attention was when a (probably beggar) got on the train, and, looking look he was uncomfortable asked for some middle aged mans seat. I am unaware of the exact conversation, but the guy sitting down replied with “so do I”.

I appear to have disappeared into a black hole of digression and with that I will stop, safe in the knowledge that people on the London Tube, during the rush hour, are selfish and ungrateful swine (and apparently the plural of swine, is swine).