Getting on the London Underground is sometimes like entering a weird child-like cartoon. There are certain characters that seem to appear every day and odd situations seem to play out in front of your eyes that seem somewhat unbelievable. There are certain characters I have learnt to avoid; there are some that provide me with constant amusement and always make my morning commute that little bit more enjoyable. So here they are a few characters to warn you of next time you take the Tube.
The Impatient Idiot
This person is incredibly common during rush hour times on the tube. They usually situate themselves at the back of a crowd of people waiting to board. Now sometimes they tut as people get off the train, and then when the way is made clear to enter they push like they have never pushed before. It’s difficult to tell whether they are doing this to be helpful and make sure everyone fits like sardines in the carriage, or whether they are being incredibly selfish and quite like hurting people just because they can’t wait another minute till the next tube. If you’re lucky, at the same time you meet their nemesis the ‘pusherbacker’. This person does not appreciate being herded like a cow into a carriage and will often push a row of two or three people back into the Impatient Idiot whilst various people start shouting various swear-words to stop the madness. This particular scene is most enjoyable when you have a seat.
The Blonde Girl
Oh yes, you may think I’m being horribly stereotypical but there is one on EVERY single tube journey I have gone on. They talk really loudly and make comments that always have me in stitches. An example ‘I’m gutted I’m not in Rush-Hour Crush this week, I really made an effort’. They also make sure to inform the carriage of anything that has happened in their day, and tut perfectly loudly when somebody accidently nudges them when they refuse to move out the way to let them off the train.
The OTT Couple
Standing or sitting, this couple are always somewhere on a tube. Sitting down they are usually not so bad, leaning on each other’s shoulders, whispering into each other’s ears – yes it does make you feel slightly nauseous, but sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether that is the public display of affection, or the slightly jerky train. When they are standing though, they hold onto each other to make sure they don’t fall over, hugging and kissing. I’m all for people being in love, I don’t even object to hand-holding and I think I’m relatively OK with dealing with public displays, but when you’re stood within millimetres of these couples kissing on a packed to the brim tube it does make your journey that little bit more uncomfortable.
The Strong Old Ox
It’s standard procedure when an elderly man or woman, somebody who is pregnant, or someone who is disabled gets on the tube they immediately get a seat. In fact, forget standard procedure it is good manners. Every now and again though, you go to stand up to let an elderly man sit down and he insists that he can stand up like all the other commuters. You can fight as much as you like, but they are very strong-willed. So, as you quietly sit down, you can’t help but keep an eye on them for the rest of the journey, taking a sharp intake of breath whenever they nearly fall over or the train jerks forward suddenly, or when you see the Impatient Man starting his pushing campaign. Each time you always think to yourself ‘Fair play to him, but when I’m 75 I will be taking that seat when it’s offered’.
Now some of these characters I would tell you to avoid like you have never avoided anyone before, but to be honest, when you’re tired and blurry-eyed on your way to, or from, work sometimes it is the eccentric, weird and unintentionally funny people that make your commute that little bit more bearable.