Being a full time student in Dublin, and working part time on the weekends in my home town in Mayo, mean I have to travel home every weekend. When I don’t have a lift, I have to depend on public transport, and after three years of bus trips and train journeys, it is safe to say I have met my fair share of, shall we say, odd people.
First up, we have the chatter boxes.
So call me rude, but when I’m travelling alone I prefer to read my book or listen to music. I don’t enjoy making small, awkward conversation with a stranger, especially if I am hung-over, tired, or find them odd. But in my experience, I have had dribblers, intimidating men, those with the worst breath imaginable and of course, just some really annoying, nosey people who don’t get the hint when I am pretending to be asleep.
The older folks
Usually, the chattiest people on the bus or train are the older passengers. Oh course I don’t mind a bit of chitter chatter from an elderly person who is looking for a bit of company, however, some of my experiences with the older folks haven’t always been very normal.
One day I was sitting on the bus when a elderly woman asks if she could take the free seat beside me. Of course I moved my bag and let her sit down. The usual conversation began: “So where are you travelling to?” “What do you study?” “Isn’t it great weather today.” Then out of the blue, she asks me: “Do you believe in Jesus Christ? Would you every kill a baby?
I sat there with my mouth open, I was in shock. Had I heard her right? Next thing I know, she’s shouting on the bus that abortion is the devils work and everyone needs to start praying to the saviour and stop murdering unborn children.
Everyone was looking at us. To say I was mortified would be an understatement.
Another Friday evening, I had an elderly man sit next to me. Again the typical chatter begins, until out of nowhere, this sweet, kind man starts to cry. He apologised and began to tell me all about his son who had passed away the year previous and how he used to travel on the buses with him. I didn’t know what to say or do, so I started crying along with him. It was a long, emotional 4 hours.
The drunks and others
What is it about people drinking alcohol while travelling? On many occasions I’ve been on the train or the bus, and there have been passengers who have been beyond drunk. Sometimes, these passengers can be entertaining, but usually, they are loud, rude, messy and very intimidating.
I had a drunken woman fall on me once while walking through the train carriage. She landed right across my knees and her can of cheap beer soaked my clothes and stunk! I’ve also had people offer me drink and drugs on my travels. I even had a drunk man try to play eye-spy with me on the train before. Seriously, eye-spy?
The love birds
Okay, so is this just me, or would anyone else get really uncomfortable sitting at a table on a train, directly across from a couple who were literally all over each other? There were two seats there, but this girl decided to sit on her boyfriends knees for the majority of the way home. As I said, literally on top of one another.
There constant kissing and giggling was making me so uncomfortable, but there were literally no other free seats on the train. And of course, that was the one day I didn’t have any headphones. Seriously, get a room please, or in this case, your own train cart.
Public transport; you are expensive, busy, usually boring, and you bring along a strange crowd of people. But until I get a car of my own, you will simple have to do.