I’ve commuted to uni for just over a year now and slowly have found a love for going on the train. Why? Because I have found several ways that you can enjoy your journey, no matter what mood you’re in. I’m a bit of a strange character – lots of people see me as quite the extrovert, but I am quite introverted… (I get pretty nervous about talking to people and I cover this up very well!) I’m saying this as if you’re an extrovert or an introvert, these tips for a successful train journey will hopefully appeal to you as I can cater for both types of people; because I have aspects of both of them!
- When you see the train approaching your platform, try to get your 007 head on and rapidly search for a double seat WAY before the train stops. Then, POUNCE. Get to the doors as soon as POSSIBLE. If there is already a bloke at the doors before you (and if you are a girl, like me) smile at him sweetly. 9 times out of 10, he will smile back and say the words you were hoping for, “After you!” Then jump onto the train, and literally POUNCE on that free double seat, put your bag down on the other seat and enjoy your stranger-free journey. HOWEVER, if this is during rush hour and the train is really busy, I really wouldn’t suggest putting your bag down on a free seat…by all means, if you see a free double seat POUNCE on it, but don’t take up the other seat with your bag. It’s just harsh on the other commuters during that busy time of day!
- Try and always grab that window seat! You definitely have way more elbow room!
- If you are alone on a double seat and if you REALLY don’t want to sit next to some weirdo, here are a few deterring tips: eat a really smelly packet of crisps (Cheese and Onion or Smokey Bacon work the best); pretend to be asleep and put your bag in between your seat and the other seat (so you’re not being harsh by fully covering up a seat, but you’re doing it enough so they won’t sit there); pretend you’re ill (cough and sneeze a little).
- If you really don’t want something from the snack trolley, at least smile and acknowledge the trolley attendant. (They must get ignored all the time!)
- If you need to pee, make sure you press the ‘LOCK’ button. Thankfully I have remembered to do this every time. But you do hear the stories.
- Also, GIRLS, it says above the seat, ‘Do not flush whilst seated’. I’d obey that command if I were you. I’d hate to know what might happen if you disobeyed it.
- Don’t play your music really loudly – if you do, people will get pretty agitated with you. That’s not fun. As much as I’d love to listen to the kid with greasy, black hair listening to ‘The Darkness’, it’s really not what most people would want to hear.
- Make friends with the guard. Smile at him. Have a bit ‘o’ banter with him. He’ll LOVE it, and it makes his journey a lot better as well as yours. Also, always have your ticket and rail card ready when the guard comes, way in advance. No one likes to fumble around with their purse/wallet.
- If your train is delayed, don’t cry or get too stressed. Okay, it is very stressful; trust me, I’ve been there. But, if you really are stressed about your delayed train, chances are, someone else is probably pretty peed-off too. So, drop a random comment to someone about how annoyed you are. Then, (hopefully) the conversation will start to flow and you will have made a new friend! This happened to me with a woman called Kathleen once. We were both stressed out because the carriage was full to the brim with people as there had been a delay in a previous service, we got talking and she told me about her life. We talked the whole way, exchanged names and she will forever be the old lady I befriended on the train!
- If you are travelling late at night, WATCH OUT. There are a few strange people about. Be tactful, keep yourself to yourself and try not to engage in conversation with anyone. I was travelling back at 1am from a night out at uni once and a sweaty, skank man started chatting me up. He then told me about his son and how he doesn’t appreciate half-term. So I replied by saying, “Oh yeah, that was me a year ago, when I was at school!” That put him RIGHT OFF!
- If you are on a table (where there are 4 chairs) and you are sat with people you don’t know, catch one of their eyes and smile at them. Engage in conversation if you can, as you are having to spend the rest of the journey looking at one another! I did this once with a guy called Ben. We laughed and joked the whole way to my station, it was great!
- If you are sat by the window and someone has confined you in so that you can’t get out and you need to get out at the next stop, glance at them to see what they are doing; they might be reading, staring straight ahead, or worst of all – ASLEEP. If they are having 40 winks, cough lightly. If that doesn’t work, cough louder. If that doesn’t work, cough louder and slightly kick their leg. That will work. Guaranteed.
- Don’t eat meat on the train. That is rank, smelly and not cool. (Unless you are trying to deter someone from sitting next to you, THEN GO AHEAD! Great shout!)
- If you are listening to music at a reasonable level, remember that people can’t hear it. Don’t jig around. Maybe tap your toes a little, but don’t jig and do ‘the shuffle’ to The Party Rock Anthem, because I’m afraid people can’t hear your music. (I’ve made this mistake.)
- If someone is sat next to you watching a film on their iPad, don’t watch what they’re watching. It might not be pleasant. A woman was sat next to me once watching a VERY rude scene between a man and a woman. It was awkward.
Stick to these tips and you’ll have relaxing/funny/safe/great train journeys!
Big love, Whitey, xx