On how to travel by train without annoying everyone else

(A rant, please excuse me, I need to let off steam ;))

Travelling by train is quite easy, really, as is travelling by train without irritating your fellow passengers. At least I think it should be (although maybe I annoy everyone else without knowing it).

There are signs up everywhere telling people not to smoke, drink, eat, shout, put feet on the seats, listen to loud music and a few other things which aren’t particularly irritating.

These are a few as yet unwritten rules, which I would love to see implemented to save my teeth and my good temper:

(Please bear in mind that for the most part, I’m not aiming these rules at doddery old people, or people who are travelling by train for the first time in 35 years (for example) or people who can’t see, or are injured, or have some other legitimate reason for whatever they’re doing. I’m not even really talking to/about people travelling during the day when everything’s empty, they can probably do what they like without anyone caring. I’m talking to/about capable people using trains during morning or evening rush hour.)

  • if you are walking along a platform or across the flow of foot traffic in the station or in front of a lift or up/downstairs, DO NOT STOP WALKING (unless you know no one’s behind you and that’s unlikely). You will most likely cause a pile up, and if you don’t, it’s because of the split second reaction time of your fellow travellers. Find somewhere out-of-the-way instead. Looking for where people aren’t walking helps you find a suitable standing spot.
  • if the train or the lift is already stuffed full of people, DO NOT SQUISH THEM FOR THE SAKE OF YOUR BIKE! People don’t like being squished any more than necessary. Wait for the next one.
  • if you are wearing a [huge] backpack, CHECK YOU HAVE SPACE TO TURN ROUND – you are liable to wallop someone without realising it. Also, taking it off and putting it on the floor will make it easier for more people to squeeze themselves into the carriage.
  • if you get on the train and someone offers you a seat DON’T DITHER ABOUT – either sit down or decline (politely). If there are 2 (or more) of you, come to terms with the fact that you might not be able to sit together during rush hour. The chances of someone else jumping up and offering your travelling partner an adjacent seat is remote. Especially if there is a vacant seat in the next row. You might well be lucky, but it isn’t a right. Say thank you, even if you are facing the wrong way and you didn’t get a window seat.
  • if you need to sneeze, COVER YOUR NOSE, even if you don’t have a hanky or tissues, the chances ate pretty high that you still have a shoulder and/or hands. Use them.
  • if the train’s full and you need to get out at a central (or otherwise busy) station, the chances are huge that other people do too. DON’T BARGE PAST THEM ALL TO GET TO THE DOOR WHILE THE TRAIN’S STILL MOVING. They exist. They can’t disappear to satisfy your need to be the first off the train.
  • if you’re playing with the ticket machine to get prices for imaginary journeys while you’re waiting for your train, and someone is standing close by waiting to buy a ticket, cancel the imaginary journey and STAND BACK TO LET THEM BUY A TICKET. You can carry on when they’ve finished.
  • if you see a person with crutches or a white stick or even an ordinary walking stick, or a buggy, DON’T GET IN THE WAY. They probably need a little bit more room to manoeuvre than you do.
  • if someone gets off the train to make room for you to get out, SAY THANK YOU.

(I won’t continue, I’m cross enough as it is!)

Is it really that difficult?!

On making your own rules

If I ever have my own workshop (and I would really like to), I would implement the following rules:

  • only the people who believe in me are allowed in
  • no shouting
  • no putting people down
  • nothing which smells bad and/or is likely to be unhealthy if you sniff it is to be brought into or kept anywhere in the workshop (unless it’s REALLY necessary, and the air conditioning’s working, and even then it shouldn’t be sniffed)
  • proper (real, heartfelt) laughter is “ausdruecklich erwuenscht” (means something like especially requested)
  • the ovens are there to be used, regardless of how small the thing you worked on is
  • people who talk about me instead of to me will be ignored and/or banished.

Things I’d like to be true:

  • there will be cake 🙂 and tea and apples and slow cooker soup in winter
  • the windows are there to be opened
  • the radiators can be turned down if required
  • the tap water is drinkable.

And maybe some others…