It’s fair to say that few of us enjoy commuting. Especially driving to work, which I have done for many years. It’s bad enough being stuck in queues of traffic on the motorway. But when you finally do arrive at your place of work, you struggle to find a parking space because so many of your coworkers seem to believe they are each allocated two bays, not one. But what are the worst commuter offences? Here’s my pick of the best of the worst.
1. Walking and Texting at the Same Time: Especially at a train station
Rush hour in a main line train station is no place to dilly-dally. In these places, rage is all the rage. Typically grim-faced, no-nonsense commuters surge towards their destinations in fast moving shoals, like fish moving upstream. They are grim faced because percolating under the surface of their demeanour, all manner of tensions are simmering, likely to boil over at the slightest provocation. And these commuters rarely deviate from their normal direction, except when forced to do so by obstructions – such as people who are walking whilst texting and who, by definition, are not focused on their environment. Then the locked-in tension explodes. All the fault of the walker-texter, of course. Yet this is not the most important reason why walking and texting is inappropriate. There’s also the fact that we are at our most vulnerable when we are distracted. At a time of heightened terrorist threats, it’s not a good idea.
2. Talking Loudly on a Mobile Phone in a Confined Space
What is it about mobile phones that makes people believe they can ignore everyone around them? Mobile phones seem to promulgate the idea that users can behave as though they are literally in the privacy of their own homes. Thus, they yammer as loudly as they wish into their phone, regardless of the fact that those around them do not wish to hear their conversations. When they’re on their i-Phones me-mailing, it’s I, I, I, all the way. And these are the same people, as it happens, who hold up the queue going through the ticket gates: their phone rings and, straight away, they stand to attention and pick it up, just at the point when they ought to be passing through the gates, leaving everyone behind them fuming.
3. Placing Luggage or Feet on Seats
Seats are reserved for people, not luggage, people! Yet again, this offence is committed by those selfish oafs without a thought or care to those who are standing, be they elderly, infirmed or pregnant. They deserve to have their Oyster cards/season tickets confiscated or shredded into a million pieces and burned.
4. Eating foul Smelling Foodstuffs on the Train or Bus
Aaargh! It’s enough to make you want to scream until your tonsils burst. The real crime is invariably what they have chosen to eat. I have no problem with people stuffing their faces with something inoffensive, for example, pumpkin seeds. But a chicken korma takeaway in the morning? No, no, no – it’s a step too far.
5. Cycling on the Pavement
This one is not only annoying, but it’s also potentially perilous. The crime is rarely committed by serious cyclists, whom you can recognise by the official cycling gear they’re wearing: Lycra, high vis this, high vis that, but usually by aspiring serious cyclists who clearly have a long way to go.
Commuting is an inescapable part of modern life, and these offences have become flashpoints in the daily struggles of urban living. But we can make the whole thing much more bearable by simply being considerate of others. It really is that simple.
Would you add anything to this list?