Musings on life, the universe and an elephant named Flobo

Straphanger Chronicle

Boy oh boy haven’t the trains become busy! Every day without fail in the last week, I have gotten on a full train in the morning and squeezed onto a packed train at night. I had expected the trains to become less choked with commuters now that school is out. Perhaps it is all the Christmas parties and people being responsible drinkers that is the cause of this congestion.

Usually, I am able to find a seat. Yes, I tend to spend most of my day at work sitting behind a desk however I do prefer not to have to stand for 40 minutes wedged in between strangers as the train tilts to and fro. For one thing, I am a rather clumsy person. For another, after being at work all day I am just exhausted and want to find somewhere to flop.

A train I was on yesterday was so full that a woman was sitting on a guy’s lap. I assume that these people knew each other however it did get me thinking, for a good part of my journey, whether it would be found acceptable if I perched on someone’s lap. I didn’t end up doing it. Firstly, because I couldn’t locate a nice lap that was just that right level between boney and cushioned. Secondly, because I didn’t want a stranger thinking I was coming on to them. Commuting can be awkward enough without that…

This also got me to thinking. Trains are badly designed. Either you get the rows of two seats which are occasionally interspersed with a four seater as the direction the seats are facing changes half way down the carriage, or you get those awful carriages with a row of seating against each wall. I assume these rows are designed to pack more of us in however it is just terribly uncomfortable and more than a little awkward when seated in one of these rows when you have someone standing crotch to head level and stretching out as they hold onto the straps. I was presented with such a view of a male crotch this afternoon, and although I tried to focus on my phone (since I’ve finished the latest bag friendly novel I have been reading), it was impossible not to occasionally find myself staring directly at him. I think the guy noticed the direction of my gaze at one point during our shared journey as he jutted his pelvis out just that little further. At least I am not the type to blush.

Temperatures in the trains have become slightly more stable, or perhaps I am just getting more used to them. I have managed to get on two trains this week that didn’t reduce me to the state of a popsicle. I was quite proud of this achievement. Yes, I know it was more to do with the actual temperature of the train and not my body perfectly handling the external temperatures with which it was presented, however it felt like a win. You’ve got to celebrate the small as well as the big.

I have 6 days of commutes left to go before the work year ends. After that, my commute is going to grow by approx. 20 minutes when I return to work after moving house. Oh goody… more people watching 🙂

Safe travels everyone.

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