Nandosgirl’s Weblog

{October 3, 2009}   What is socially acceptable behaviour on public transport and what isnt….

I begin todays posting by asking myself, what is the social etiquette when one is on a train, or metro or any form of public transport? It’s a topic I have asked myself and many others, it is also a question I have asked many people over years. Many many friends have received early morning texts with exclamations at the behaviours of those around me on public transport. (Sorry to all)
This does not limit itself to one country either, although I didn’t expect weird behaviour on the metro to stop when I move country, I possibly did expect to see a different class of behaviour. Now I can’t really explain why I thought that but there it is.
Two examples spring to mind as I sit on this train to work. One yesterday, a 30-something lady was quietly reading her book when a boy sits next to her and had quite loud music playing. Both minding their own business (obviously I wasn’t) when the woman says to the boy “Please can you turn your music down, it’s very loud?” He replied “no” and looked a little triumphant and defiant at the same time. The lady responded “it’s very loud that I can hear it” The boy looked smugly on while his mates who are standing are all sniggering by the door. The lady then proceeds to take his headphones off one ear. He looks absolutely livid when she says “look, look how loud it is” The boy looked mad and you could see in his eyes – he wanted to lash out in some way, but he didn’t say anything and got off at the next stop with his friends.
What is the social protocol here? Should she have taken the headphones off the boy? Should she have given him the name of a good ear doctor? Should he have respected her request? It’s a very odd scenario and the boy looked no older than 15. It just made me think about the way you behave on public transport.
The second example has just happened when I began writing this piece. The train conductor has come to check our tickets and the guy next to me is picking his nose with some fervour! The conductor and I just looked at this guy giving him a strange look. Should you pick your nose in public? That’s not a question limited to public transport only.
What should you do on public transport? Talk loudly, read, listen to music or clean facial orifices where possible? This morning on the metro, a guy sat in a seat in front of me with a cotton bud and proceeded to clean his ears look at it every once in awhile to make sure he had everything! GROSS! WHAT ON EARTH? WHY?? Is the public transport an extension of your lounge? I think not!
On the other hand, I do make mistakes myself and I understand that I am not blameless. I am that person on the train that sometimes has 3 – 4 bags with her on the train and is struggling to handle everything (its not my fault, laptop bag, handbag, lunch bag and gym bag – now looking at that list, I should probably buy myself a Samsonite!). I am also that person that occasionally puts her feet up on the metro or the trains if I’m working or if it’s an empty carriage and have been told off once or twice – I did listen!
Close friends will say that I should stop complaining and learn to drive. I suppose they have a point, maybe I should get a move on with that…..

The crazy haired one is me.

The crazy haired one is me.


princessmisia says:

dude, you’re also the person who insults people on the metro in English and thinks they don’t understand you LOL

For the ones who never saw Nandosgirl in real life, she looks EXACTLY like this drawing:P

love you!

Laura says:

Here’s one NEVER DO ON A METRO, based on what happened to me last night.

Sunday Night, 8:00 p.m.

A mostly empty train. Looking around I see one woman across the aisle from me, one guy sitting across from her, and a couple about 6 rows away. Satisfied that it will be a quiet night, I take out my book and begin to read. I was not far along before I hear an upset across the aisle. The guy was leaning towards the woman when she jumped up, grabbed her bags and disapeared to the far side of the car. Odd, I thought to myself, wondering what dialogue was exchanged. I didn’t have a chance to return to my novel before the man lurched up (yes, lurched) and made his way to the seat next to me, driving me against the wall of the train. There he sat, leaning in towards me and staring…staring…

I was expectedly freaked out. I looked around the car, trying to discover my own escape. The couple I had spotted earlier had fortunately noticed my dilemma and were waving me over. As I climbed over the guy (he was not moving) he said something crude which I pointedly ignored.

The couple filled me in on what I had missed regarding the first interaction that creepy guy had with a train patron. Apparently he had asked the woman if he could kiss her.

The metro train pulled into the next station and another young girl came on board. We spotted the creepy man make a motion as if he were trying to get his body into motion (though it didn’t want to cooperate) in her direction. So, we hosted a rescue mission, that couple and I, warning the girl of imminent danger and suggesting she follow us into the next car over, just as soon as the train stopped.

And the adventure didn’t quite end there, either. As we settled into our new seats we saw through the open door that same man had disembarked at the same station and was circling the platform as if searching for something. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief as the train doors closed.

So, I would submit for the record that while picking noses or putting your feet up on a chair is debatable behavior, asking strangers to kiss you, sitting next to them on a completely empty train, and following them around should get you escorted off the train by beefy security guards 🙂

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