I’ve commuted for over a month now (that qualifies me as a seasoned traveller, I think) and have noticed a few recurring themes… And what better way to sum them up than with an A to Z of commuting by train?
Backpacks – apparently you need one. It’s part of the train commuter’s starter pack. I always wonder what’s inside those huge barrels of outdoorsy-brand-name treasure chests.
Chattering is a no go. I remember the days when I’d chatter away over a packet of mini cheddars (there was once a bit of an incident on the quiet carriage of the King’s Cross to Leeds train, but the less said about that the better). But I know better now and regardless of whether it’s face to face or by phone, proper etiquette is to zip it. And put the Cheddars away.
Delays are inevitable (I’ve discovered). And annoying every time.
Empty seats rarely happen at rush hour so be prepared to be crammed in like sardines.
Free stuff in the station FOR THE WIN. Mrs Wife and I are currently holding a competition in this regard, so far I’ve had an ice cream and a soup making kit, she’s had some Lurpak,a pepperami type sausage thing, a breakfast biscuit and a protein shake. I’m saying that’s neck-a-neck.
And Giving up your seat just doesn’t happen.
Headphones are nice to block the world out.
I don’t hate it on the train as much as I thought I would.
Jokey conductors. It’s 7am.
Kids at peak time. Are the worst. I’m trying to decide of my least favourite are the smallest variety of humans that can stand up that take up room with those little bag carts they ride on and usually play a noisy iPhone game on Mummy’s phone while she eats a bagel or the older, obnoxious pre-teens.
Being confined to the Last train after a quick one (or two). A benefit of a car is you can stay as long as you want and spend half as much when you’re only on lime and soda.
Metro. Especially when the Burger King vouchers are on the back page.
Non-regular travellers. Which yes, I did used to be one of. The father daughter duo that chatted loudly about cycling from their embarkement at Hebden all the way to Manchester Victoria last week, are a pareticular favourite or mine. Not annoying at all, as you can imagine.
Opening the doors as quick as you can when the light goes on should be an Olympic sport.
Platforms. I’m doomed if mine ever changes.
Reading material is essential. I’ve averaged a book a week so far. Can recommend One of Us (highly) and Margaret Atwood’s Year of The Flood. Less of a fan of Brave New World and The Danish Girl.
Smells range from delicious coffee first thing to middle aged man sitting opposite you slurping a can of Pepsi then burping under his breath and breathing it out when you’re at your wicks end after a particularly challenging Monday.
Trainers (see: B)
Unlimited phone data. I need it, apparently since I run out 1/2 way through the month at the moment.
Very annoying people sitting nearby. I seem to attract them, which I take some comfort in since if you can’t see the twat you must be it.
Wasps. Sometimes get onto the train and it’s the worst ever. Sometimes instead of flying on they sit on my ear and hitch a lift then torment the commuters, while simultaneously drawing out an unusual sense of camaraderie the entire journey.
EXhasperated office workers, just everywhere. [Yes, I had to cheat there. X is hard]
Yikes the bloody prices! I often wonder where Northern keep their balaclavas and stripy teeshirts. [Notice the strong Dad-joke, there].
Zero – the amount of manners people have pushing onto a train at 5pm on a Friday
*Takes a bow*