With no sense of urgency, Amblers, despite being on a morning commuter train, apparently either just ride the rails for fun; wandering the lonely platforms hither and thither on a whim; or else have a job to go to but probably as something quite hippy-fied, meaning they can just get there as and when they feel their chakras are aligned properly.
- Result: Get out of my way.
Shamblers may, at first glance, seem like Amblers, but don’t let their general lack of speed fool you – Shamblers have somewhere to be, but apparently been told to shuffle there as inconveniently as possible to other commuters. With no sense of their surroundings generally, Shamblers will lope along in front of you, somehow taking up the entire concourse and cutting off your flight plan/exit strategy, whilst managing to get approximately nowhere.
- Result: Seriously, are you actually TRYING to get in my way?
They’ve been to this station a number of times before – perhaps every day for the last several years, but the sight of a ticket turnstile still renders them incapable of rational thought. Rather than have their ticket ready, they will wait until the last second until they are required to present it and then — and only then, will they start rummaging around through their invariably jumble-sale outfit with at least forty pockets, the mere existence of some of which baffles and amuses them. They will turn out these lined marvels with wonder, stopping to gaze in awe at a crumpled and used piece of tissue etc.
Double points if you have to rummage around in a bag. Triple points if it doesn’t occur to you to move out of the way to let others through.
- Result: What are you, retarded?
They will, for no reason apparent to man nor beast, suddenly stop for no reason. Generally in a doorway, so that you have nowhere to go. If you don’t have your wits about you, you could end up being inadvertently intimate with them.
- Result: Inadvertent surprise sexual encounter, ending in abuse and possible litigation.
Headstrong, fancy-free and armed with a complete lack of spatial awareness or depth perception, despite owning the prerequisite two eyes and (presumably,) brain, Aisle Bargers will wade clumsily down what is always a constricted gangway with gay abandon, assaulting all and sundry with limbs, bags, hips and their arse, in no particular order.
- Result: British politeness generally means no one says anything, so they get away with it. Here’s hoping they pull that crap on the Paris Metro, or better yet, the New York subway.
The Platform Ponderer
Another close relation of the Ambler and also shares characteristics of the Sudden Stopper, the Platform Ponderer, will stop suddenly, often near a timetable screen, drop whatever they are carrying — an overladen backpack, a briefcase, a child — and stand, looking confusedly around, as if a train station is both entirely new to them and also they last place on earth they expected to find themselves after disembarking from a train journey. Normally they will find the most inconvenient place to act out their befuddlement, such as the dead centre of the platform, or again, just in front of a doorway. Sometimes they will need to catch a connection but seem to have no skillset of how to discover what platform it might be departing from, which means they can turn into a …
With all the self-perceived importance of someone that was born into aristocracy and who is about to defuse a bomb, they have scant seconds in order to make their train and woe betide anyone who gets in their path. Last-minute Larrys have been known to take on an entire train’s worth of commuters, who are all heading in the opposite direction — cutting a running swathe through the throng like a lone hero against a rampaging hoarde of orcs.
- Result: Carnage. Oh, the humanity.
The Bag Reserver
We’ve all done it. It’s the passive-aggressive way of signalling that you’d rather not have anyone sit next to you, thank you very much. Extra douche points if you only begrudgingly move your crap after all other seats have gone & a pregnant woman is glaring at you whilst entering the first stages of labour.
- Result: You want another seat? Buy another ticket, jackass.
The Aisle-side Sitter
The Aisle-side Sitter takes the passive-aggressive tendencies of the Bag Reserver and skews them in favour of the latter. Sitting on the aisle side sends out the message, loudly and clearly, that you are more important than the rest of the peasants on this rolling carriage of sweaty proletariat.
- Result: If you’re that important, shell out for first class, asshat.
The Newspaper Nuisance
An average broadsheet takes approximately half of a full arm extension to read properly. The space to the side of a train seat is about four inches. No please, rustle that shit right in my face again. I probably won’t set fire to it while you’re still holding it. Probably.
- Result: Buy a tabloid. Or better yet, a paperback. Or a kindle. iPad. Anything.
The Table Hog
One of the most insidious types, table hogs combine the worst aspects of The Bag Reserver and, on occasion, The Aisle-Side Sitter, with poor spatial design for maximum frustrative effect. Spreading themselves out over the public transport version of an occasional table that was designed to just barely accommodate two entire cups of coffee at its widest end, provided you could balance them together, the Table Hog may also use aisle-side sitting tactics to maximise their space quotient. Typical objects to assist include bags and briefcases, as usual, but also drinks and half-eaten sandwiches — basically anything that would make you feel icky to move aside. The worst offenders sit aisle-side, put their feet on the seat opposite, their bag on the seat next their feet, food & drink on the table and are idly leafing through a magazine or business papers on the empty seat next to them, thus taking up four entire seats AND a table for one person.
- Result: You appear to have mistaken this public-use booth for a private table you reserved at a restaurant. Dipshit.
But all of these pale in comparison to the ultimate blight to commuting:
If you’ve got a fold-up bike that you can stow away somewhere — we’re all good. You’ve already shown you’re considerate to other passengers right there. However, if you board a train with a full sized bike, you are, incontrovertibly, an asshole. You will either block the doorway & have to move it at every stop, or worse, LEAVE IT IN THE DOORWAY UNATTENDED & GO SIT DOWN, meaning other people have to negotiate their way around the damn thing in order to get on or off. And we’re all too polite to do what we should and throw the fucking thing to the floor because it’s someone else’s property, even if they care so little for it that they’re happy to balance a two- wheeled object on a moving carriage!
- Result: Get a fold up. Or a skateboard. Or better yet, try walking so you don’t continue to be an inconvenience and a hazard to traffic and pedestrians alike once you get off.
Did I miss any? Tell me in the comments.