I am possibly the only person in Greater Sydney who is quite happy with Sydney trains, but it’s not what you think. Delays, over-crowding, cancelled services, air conditioning not consistent with the weather and more. I know it’s far from perfect. My delight in Sydney trains has less to do with the trains themselves and much more to do with my fellow passengers.
The time a man literally stopped in his tracks and backed away from me slowly once he’d laid eyes on the cover of the book I was reading? Merely the tip of the iceberg when it comes to things that have amused me on the train. I started documenting them a while back. In no particular order, here are just a few excerpts.
“I just changed carriages on the train because the guy behind me was snoring so loudly and forcefully that I could feel it on the back of my neck. In my new carriage, people (multiple people) are laying on 3-seaters with cushions under there heads. One person is completely covered by a red blanket. Like a shroud. Everyone else is dozing except one guy reading the paper and drinking a breakfast beer.”
My travel mug of lukewarm tea paled in comparison.
“Guy on train sneezes 26 times. Loudly. His mate: “Shit, you just gave everyone diabetes, ya c*nt!” Now all of them are marveling over some snot on the floor.”
This conversation was the one that kept on giving. They were returning from the soccer and admiring each other’s grey hairs with compliments like “That’s mad tinsel, mate!”. One of them finished his kebab and complained about something stuck in his teeth. A quick brainstorming session and he had a loose thread from his shorts to use an impromptu dental floss. Brilliant.
And yes, I was careful to avoid the snot when I left the train.
“A guy just had a go at his girlfriend for going downstairs to sit in train carriage because “What kind of person voluntarily goes DOWN?!” Half-full lower level of carriage fell silent. She said “Obviously, not you!” And stomped up the stairs at the other end. Awkward.”
The look on her face was clear, as was his furious blush. How did choosing somewhere to sit suddenly become so loaded with bedroom dissatisfaction? Gosh.
How to deal with a man-spreader
“One seat available in whole carriage. The middle of a 3-seater. I say “Excuse me” to the woman on the aisle seat. She glances up from her iPad, looks down again. Doesn’t move.”
What’s with THAT? Rude! Anyway…
“So I squeeze past her and plonk myself down, half on the seat, other half on the bloke (half my size) spread over 1.5 seats. He didn’t move even as he watched me shoving past the woman. Take THAT, man-spreader! He shuffled across pretty quick after that.”
Lessons: If you have a valid ticket or Opal card, you’re entitled to that one seat in the whole carriage. Be polite. If that doesn’t work, be firm. And sit on them. This is how I roll on Sydney trains.
Cricket on a Train
I put this out to my Facebook friends:
“There’s a huge black cricket pacing up and down my carriage. Should I:
a- changes carriages
b- find someone to check if he/she has a valid opal card
c- alert fellow passengers?”
I went with c and alerted the lady next to me. It was a bit like The Hunger Games. We were forced to make an alliance for our own survival.
We devised a plan. If it went on us, we would scream (to alert the other) and run away. Then, this happened:
“A small stampede for the stairs has seen cricket lose the use of a back leg. It is now being scrutinized by some concerned teens.”
“Male Teen #1 (the hero of the carriage) has euthanized injured cricket. The girls opposite are ignoring his heroism. Male Teen #2 is expressing his admiration and ensuring the cricket is completely deceased. Male Teen #1 is clearly the hero this carriage deserves. I feel somewhat inadequate.”
These two captured my attention when the man expressed complete surprise to his female companion on seeing someone pull a seat by the handle to make it face the other way. “Can you do that?” he exclaimed in utter amazement, despite having literally just witnessed someone do it. He rested his head against the window, still looking at the seat with an expression that clearly read “What a time to be alive!” and then this happened:
“His female companion just admonished him for resting his head against the window. BECAUSE NITS. Nits on a window. This is more hilarious that the Cricket on the Train saga of last week. Fucking window nits. I’m dying. Window. Nits. He’s legitimately almost bald too. I forgot to mention that. They’re now talking about the state of public transport. So dirty. As demonstrated by some guy they know whose son (according to the woman) got nits from the window of a train”
Sydney trains; always an adventure, even if you’re just going home.
#IBOT @ Capturing Life.