Riding the train, though I love the sheer sense of independence it promises, comes with a couple of draw backs.
(1) Kissing couples. American’s typify Europe as a love induced romantic destination, and apparently the scuzzy underground is where all of this fantasy thrives. I don’t know what it says about me that whenever I see kissing couples on trains I find myself wondering whether or not the couple are cheaters. Why is just one of them wearing a wedding band? Where are they going? Why are they groping one another within spiting distance of me?
(2) Seat politics. Call me old fashioned, but when I was a kid I was raised to give up my seat to the elderly. When I see young professionals and teenagers blatantly ignore new elderly passengers, who then have to cling to railings instead of being seated, I want to punch said professionagers in the mouths.
(3) Bad fashions. Generally this is a lesser offense for the people in Europe as opposed to the Americas (what? It’s absolutely true. Why do you think the Sartorialist spends 80% of his time outside of his native land?). But occasionally I will be forced to sit in the vicinity of a man wearing too-tight, too-short jeans, or women who have been wearing the same slacks from the early nineties. And before I know it, I’ve been fixating on said pieces of atrocious clothing for well over 10 minutes a piece, which makes me feel unproductive.
By the way this is an asian interpretation of me on a train. I am lazy and steal pictures from the internet at large. sue me.
(4) The worst offense, in my opinion, is the myriad of potent smells that are in-evadable. You’re sitting next to the cat lady, wondering if her cats are stuffed into the pockets of her oversized coat. You’re basically sharing a seat with a drunk who, doused in last nights spilt liquor, is still drinking at 5pm. There’s the Indian lady who hops on for 3 stops. I think she works in an Indian restaurant and I can smell the nights specials as soon as the automatic doors swish behind her. One lady looks very nice, but she doesn’t wash her clothes. One man has a gland problem and sweats a lot. Two teenaged boys chainsmoke between their classes all day. The worst thing about sharing confined places with so many people is that when you finally step off the train after reaching your destination, you’re a melting pot of strangers offenses. The morning’s spritz of $90 perfume was pointless as now you only smell like an ash tray that was fished out of a swampy bay. It’s very depressing.