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And now for something REALLY scary!

I can’t count the number of articles I’ve read about not wanting to talk to people on public transport.

The classic scenario goes like this. You’re sitting on the plane, getting out your headphones or your newspaper or whatever.  The guy next to you looks across diffidently.

“Headed to Melbourne?”

You say, with a polite but firm smile, “Yep.” And then you clamp on your earphones, glare down at the paper, and pretend to be completely absorbed in it for the rest of the trip.

Or how about this one?  Your car’s being fixed so you have to catch the bus today with the POOR people. There’s the ones who mumble at the bus driver and can’t seem to count out their change, the mentally disabled (or additionally abled?) people who happily grin at absolutely everyone and shout ‘Guess what I’m doing today!’, the drunk men who lurch around complete with their own atmosphere, the old foreign ladies with unlikely-coloured hair who smile at each other and talk in Czech, the pensioners with their free bus tickets, the moody teen who’s just got out of juvenile detention and is discussing the pros and cons of jail with a like-minded friend, the gaggle of girls with panda eyes and muffin tops, and the middle-aged greenie who still believes in public transport…and YOU.

“Have you read Dostoevsky dear?”

“Where are YOU going today?”

“I’m not drunk you know.”

So you carefully pick out a seat where you’re not opposite anyone, and sit on the aisle so no one can sit next to you, at a point equidistant from all other passengers (but, if you have to be closer to one in particular, you obviously pick the greenie, who is at least semi-sane).

I don’t understand! Sure we all have off days, but public transport is a god-given chance to find out about some fellow human being we’ve never met before and will never meet again!

YES!!! A boxed set of the encyclopaedia of humanity, a documentary made for us alone, our very own moving Oprah!  Why DON’T we want to talk to people or be talked to?  Is the prospect of chatting to someone we don’t know, so VERY scary?? (To me, no – I like it. I mean, who ELSE is gonna talk to me)

That said, when the drunk man sicks up, don’t forget to lift your feet.

About butimbeautiful

Rose has two blogs,, and Enjoy!

13 responses »

  1. You know Canberra people really hate buses, at least at my workplace. I had to get my car serviced yesterday and I went to work after dropping it at the mechanic via bus. My workmates were so appalled that they all offered me a lift back to pickup my car in the afternoon, just so I didn’t have to ride in the bus with the great unwashed. I appreciated the gesture but didn’t care one way or the other. I rode packed buses and trains for years when I lived in Sydney. And yes, rode with drunks all the way from Central railway to the Central Coast (that’s 2 hours on the train) and experienced the odd techno-colour yawn from the drunken bums. I also completed my accounting studies while commuting as well (4 hours of commuting a day 5 days a week can have it’s benefits, think of all the reading and study time).


    • Yeah they really used to hate them at mine too. One woman said ‘Suppose someone tries to TALK to me!’ and other people would say things like ‘people who go on buses are weird!’. Probably not as weird as people in cars..but then, each car is an island unto itself.

  2. Hah! Yes, lifting ones feet WOULD be wise!

    My son and I had a blast riding public transport all over Thailand. He was twelve at the time, and cute little Thai schoolgirls who, of course, couldn’t speak a lick of English (and our’ Thai was limited to about 10 words!) flirted with him the whole time!

    I’ve also had some amazing conversations with people on transcontinental flights…and today I’m going to take the ferry over to Seattle just for the hell of it!

  3. You have a much more interesting brand of crazy on your public transportation than we do.
    About a month ago on the subway, some guy spent three stops yelling at my hat.
    After two stops he moved to the other end of the car.
    But kept yelling.
    God I love the mp3 player.

    And the vomit isn’t so bad as long as it’s only by your feet…

  4. I have met some of the most interesting people in the Green line going to and from the Cambridge Court in Boston. I suppose there are crazy people out there, but they are everywhere, not just on mass transit.

    BTW, when I was a crazy Yank visiting Oz in the late 1960’s I talked to people anytime I could. And interestingly enough, they were good at conversation. What has happened to us?

    • We found Ipods. Though, when I was in the US, about 8 years ago, I was surprised by how articulate people were, compared to Aussies. Aussies aren’t dumb but they’re not very verbal, often.

      • Did Aussies stop engaging in verbal communication sometime since the 1970s? Just wondering. It has been a time since I’ve been wandering through Armidale, Sydney and Melbourne. Then again, I was a cute little Yank girl and I had an “accent” and probably got away with murder there. In fact, having refused to leave the men’s side of the bar because of some confusion over where to meet a friend, I KNOW I got away with more than any local girl could have – and I was simply considered that rather dotty Yank girl. Sweet, really, but clueless. You can get far on cute and clueless at age 19.

      • Yeah well I was 39 – but still, being a sort of vaguely cute Aussie chick helped, I’m sure. Isn’t it funny they had ‘men’s side of the bar’ in those days. They don’t now – wouldn’t dare!

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