Friday, February 10, 2012

Sorry, Hermes!

It seems that I have somehow angered the god of public transit. Those of you who have done the daily TTC commute, or its equivalent, will understand that commuting via public transit is rarely a walk in the park, but for the most part maintains a consistent level of inconvenience.

Not so much anymore.

For the past couple of weeks, every time I'm on my way home (never on the way to work, of course) something happens to make the commute more trying than normal. On at least 3-4 occasions, it has been the classic delay due to a mechanical problem or activated passenger assistance alarm on a train further up the line. One day, it was both.

Then there were the days with the irate streetcar passengers who in one instance got into a yelling match with the driver, and on another occasion with each other. In both cases, we ended up sitting at a stop until someone finally gave up and got off.

What's really gotten out of hand, though, is the constant invasion of personal space - even the public transit amount of personal space, which is much smaller than normal. It's acceptable, for instance, to squish in between two people on a three-seater bench if there are no other independent seats available. What's not acceptable is to then lean against one of those people in an overly familiar fashion and try to chat them up while reeking of alcohol.

On another occasion it was the leg sprawler. This is the guy (and it's always a guy!) who feels entitled to sit with his legs spread as far apart as they can go, regardless of the fact that this intrudes into the leg space of the person sitting next to them who is then forced to either contort themselves so that their legs occupy as little space as possible or accept the inappropriate amount of leg-to-leg contact with their neighbour.

My favourite, though, was the leaner. When the streetcar or subway is crowded, it will inevitably happen that the person standing next to a seated individual will have to temporarily lean over or even into them to make enough room for someone else to get past them. This is annoying, but acceptable. Yesterday, on a streetcar that was decidedly not crowded (there were still empty seats), I was sitting next to the aisle when I was joined by a guy who apparently thought it would be a good idea to stand so close that his legs were pressed up against my seat and lean on the pole at my shoulder. For the entire trip. If you've ever been in this position, you'll understand why it was so incredibly awkward. I had to lean away just so his stomach wouldn't touch my head. And whenever anyone needed to get by, he'd move so that he was actually standing where my legs would normally be.

Every day it's been something, so Hermes, whatever I did to piss you off - I'm sorry! So very, very sorry.

1 comment:

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