Everything that bothers us on the train to work: the irritating, the awkward and the downright angering…
It’s safe to say that commuting to work is no one’s favourite time of the day – sweatily standing in a hot and stuffy carriage, squashed between strangers trying desperately to avoid eye contact.
Whether it’s a 10-minute tube ride or an hour-long train journey, travelling to work in rush hour is not for the faint-hearted – often subject to delays, cancellations and an unfortunate lack of seats, but if you want to work in central London – it’s also absolutely necessary.
In the past few months, we’ve spent a lot more time than we would care to on public transport (ahem Southern Rail!) so we understand only too well the struggles of commuter life.
Here are 11 problems that those who commute on a daily basis will understand only too well…
1) Waiting on the station platform for hours in an endless string of frustrating delays and cancellations, only to be given an unsatisfactory explanation ‘Apologies for the delay ladies and gentlemen, the driver is currently having a cup of tea’ – yes this writer has genuinely heard that excuse before.
2) Being forced to stand in the carriage due to lack of seats, then clocking someone taking up a whole row with their shopping bags And expressing your anger in the most British way possible: sighing loudly and passive-aggressively until they feel sufficiently guilty and embarrassed.
3) Bumping into someone you vaguely know at the beginning of a long-distance journeyAnd then having to choose between completely ignoring them or making awkward small talk for the next hour and a half.
4) Having no personal space whatsoever during rush hour, standing closer to strangers than we would to our boyfriends Or if you do manage to get a seat whilst others are standing - more often than not ending up with a stranger’s genitalia in your face.
5) Actually getting a seat but finding to your disappointment that it's the really warm one that smells slightly of urineWe all know that feeling.
6) Racing for a seat and then realising that you're sitting next to 'the over sharer' Then having to spend the whole journey smiling politely as your 'neighbour' loudly recounts their life story, going into detail about their many troubles.
7) Someone in your carriage eating really smelly food and stinking out the whole train. It's always a McDonald's egg mcmuffin and the culprit is always the person next to you.
8) Facing the unimpressed stares and head shakes of the tired business men and women around you while you’re innocently trying to apply your morning make up 'It’s just foundation guys, not a severed head…'
9) Sitting near 'that loud girl' (there's always one) who's having a loud and aggressive phone call for everyone to hear And then judging them, raising your eyebrows at the person next to you whilst secretly listening in.
10) The ticket man coming around unexpectedly when your railcard is lost at the bottom of your really messy bag And then having to tip out the contents in front of everyone (condoms, tampons etc.) in an attempt to find it, only to realise that you left it in your coat pocket.
11) When someone stands up for you mistaking you for being pregnant or a pensioner And you hold back tears and play along so as not to cause any embarrassment on either end.
12) Eventually getting off the train in a rush and getting stuck behind someone walking slowly with a wheelie suitcase And having to use every ounce of self-restraint not to break down in tears or scream.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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