Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Shameless Subway Antics

Witnessing the behaviour of people on the subway every morning and every evening has got me thinking there are some bad apples and some really great people in the world of commuter chaos.

After moving from a smaller city to a much larger city, I've made some observations. Some good, some not so good.

Every morning my fiancee and I 'ride the rocket' together. Sounds very sweet doesn't it? It's not that sweet of a ride actually. There is no privacy of driving together in our car, picking up coffees along the way and listening to the radio as we slowly crawl with the other cars to our destination. At least with a car, you have a sheild surrounding you from other people. Other people's body odour, other people's bad habits, foul language, colds and coughs and heavy breathing. Personal space does not exist on the subway.

One good thing is usually during the rush hour, trains arrive quite regularly. Waiting too long is never usually an issue. So I get very annoyed when the trains are already packed so full I'm literally smushing my face into someone's backpack and someone still pushes themselves into the wall of people in the doorway. They often get my best look of disapproval. Why do they think they are so important that they deserve to climb onto the train instead of waiting the minute for the next one to arrive? This only makes people even more uncomfortable and therefore irratible for the day. I'm guessing they don't think about that sort of thing.

As for seating on the subway. Well here is my personal rule. If a person is pregnant, carrying a cane or just looks like they really can't stand, they should get to sit. I'll admit after a long hard day at work, I just like to sit down and read a book on my commute home. But a seat isn't really that important to me. I've been sitting all day! I have seen very pregnant women stand while men and women sit comfortably beside them. Why are some people so ignorant? It's funny because one of my first experiences after moving here was a man offering me his seat. I was a little taken aback as clearly I am capable of standing. I politely declined and hoped that he would be just as kind to someone who really needed the offer.

Of course good people take the TTC everyday. But moving here from a smaller city, I've noticed everyone just looks kind of numb. It could be the fumes from the trains or the long days at work. We just have to be more considerate and conscious of other people and do what we can to respect personal space even when it seems impossible.

Some ways to make personal space less of an issue include:

  • Moving out of the way when someone is exiting the train - don't just stand in the doorway!
  • When sitting, please don't spread out your legs so far you're forcing the person beside you to clench their legs together. Who do these people think they are?
  • To the people who are dancing around to their turned-up-way-too-loud MP3 players. We don't want to hear your music! And quit dancing. You're not that good.
  • If you want to eat a full meal, please do so at home or at work or at a restaurant. Basically anywhere but a train filled with people.

I'm not an expert but I know what annoys me every single day. I consider myself normal (at times) so I think this may be the case for others as well. Shameless Subway Antics are here to stay but it would be nice if we all took the time to think of what we're doing and how it can affect the next person.

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