The commuter's guide to not being a dickhead on your journey to work 4 years ago

The commuter's guide to not being a dickhead on your journey to work

Commuting is an absolute ballache.

Though no one wants to live at work, there are times when you wish you didn't have to travel between the place where you sleep and the place where you barely earn enough money to be able to afford the place where you sleep.


We drive. We get the train. We take the bus. We grin. We bear it. Unfortunately, some of our fellow commuters make it all the more difficult to grin and bear. In light of this, here are a few polite suggestions to make the experience better for everyone.

Have a fucking wash.

In a free and open society, built on tolerance and respect, it is imperative that we stamp out people who don't wash, especially before cramming themselves into a train or bus already crammed with other people. It's rotten, in every sense of the word.

Showers are - have you heard? - good. The shower is a place you should often frequent. They make you look nice, they make you smell nice, they make you feel nice; they are, by any definition of the word, nice. If you have a shower, you too can look, smell and feel nice. Nice!

Unless you're in an all-body cast (and in which case can probably justify working from home for a few days) there is no excuse for not showering, or, at the very, very least, hitting the sweet spots with a wet wipe and doing a head-to-toe blast of Febreze before heading out the door.


Not washing is an act of selfishness; you might not be bothered by your stink, but the people of Coach C would love to be breathing air instead of the fetid stench of onions and old sick currently emanating from your underarms.

Please, have a fucking wash.


Don't put your fucking bag on the seat.

It's difficult to gauge which the average dickhead commuter has less of: common sense or shame. What goes on in the mind of someone who puts their bag on the seat next to them during rush hour? Are they thinking: "This is fine, seats are for bags too, so this is fine"? Or: "I could not give less of a shit about anyone on this train besides myself and my beautiful son, Bag Jr."?


It is truly baffling that even in the 21st century, the most shameful of all centuries, people can still have this much of a lack of self-awareness and empathy and expect to get away with it. We are British, but we have a limit. If we're stood up on a 90-minute commute, somewhere around the 87th minute we're going to pluck up the courage to say something.

Eyes redder than the fires of hell, a vein throbbing so violently in our forehead that it threatens to pop out and strangle the offender by the throat until dead, we charge forth and bellow: "Hi, so sorry to bother you. Do you mind if I sit there, please?" And then have adrenaline-induced heart palpitations for the rest of the day as a result. Don't do it to us. We can't take the stress.

Please, don't put your fucking bag on the seat.



Move down inside the fucking train.

This train: it is, I'm sorry to say, not just for you. Other people - yes, others - they also use this train. For getting to work. Like you, and me, and everyone.

No one likes being gizzards to gills with a bunch of strangers, but that's the brass-assed reality of it. The train's packed and personal space is out the window - seriously, if you want personal space, stick your head out the window.

If there's a gap in front of you and two dozen commuters desperately trying not to merge into a big fleshy pile of coats and briefcases, then you would do well to take a few steps forward and give them a bit of room. What Would Jesus Do? He'd do that, because Jesus was famously not a twat.


The number of people you see cluelessly staring at the empty floor before them, turning to look at the throng of miserable sods mushed together behind, then back again to the empty floor, a thin string of drool dangling from the corner of their mouth, would suggest that the impulse to do the sensible thing is not as common as common sense would dictate.

Please, move down inside the fucking train.

No fucking dawdling.

"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it" - a classic quote from Ferris Bueller's Day Off.  A quote you rarely hear comes from the sequel, Ferris Bueller's Tuesday Commute from Guildford, where Bueller says: "Life moves pretty fast, so get out of the fucking way or I'll put this umbrella through your neck."

Commuting is about getting from A to B in as little time and with as few obstacles as possible. Bumbling dummies standing in the middle of the platform, gawping at the sheer wonder of their own existence, are most certainly an obstacle, one that has to be dodged on a near-daily basis.

Obviously there are exceptions: there are always exceptions. The elderly, the infirm, the young, the pregnant - you are all obstacles, but we can't hate you for it. It's not your fault. We wish you weren't in the way, but you are and that's okay. Shuffle along at your leisure.

The rest of you: pick your feet up. We're late, we're tired and we don't want to add 'get stuck behind lumbering oaf' to the list of shit that we've got to do today.

Please, no fucking dawdling.


Keep the fucking noise down.

Noise is bad at the best of times. In the morning, it's unforgivable. In a confined space on the way to work, it's a war crime.

If you're capable of driving your headphones to the same volume as an F-14 fighter jet taking off, well, that's impressive, but the shit music blaring out of them is not. It is, in fact, very shit and loud and it's amazing that you can have that blasting directly into your brain without giving yourself and anyone in a 10 ft radius an aneurysm.

And to you, the loud man or woman talking on the telephone: why must you shout? That device you are speaking into is a miracle of modern technology: it can pick up the sound of your voice and transmit it to the person on the other end of the call perfectly well on its own .You don't have to yell at them from the other side of the country as a back up.

Babies: why are you commuting? You're a baby, you don't have jobs; go home and cry there. It's what the rest of us want to do, only you can actually get away with it.

Please, keep the fucking noise down.


Leave your agenda at fucking home.

Whatever bullshit you're bringing to work with you today, keep that bullshit to yourself. Better still, seal it up in a tupperware box and drop it in a river.

The commute is not the place to creep on people, nor is it to try and convert them to your religion/cult/pyramid scheme, nor is it to sound off about how shit the Tories are, nor is it to sound off about how shit Labour is, nor is it to bemoan Mike Ashley's influence over Newcastle United, nor is it to tell people not to eat meat, nor is it to have a pop at your least favourite minority.

Please, leave your agenda at fucking home.

Don't fucking lean on the handrails.

Those handrails? They're for hands. Those rails ain't for leanin', son. If they was, they'd be leanin' rails, now wouldn't they?

If you're leaning on the rails, hands are denied. Those hands are connected to arms, in turn connected to bodies, which have a tendency to rollick and roll around train carriages when not suitably anchored by, say, a handrail.

It's tempting. God knows we've all been tempted to give the handrail a good old lean. We've all lain awake at night, dreaming of that rail, slowly leaning our backs against it, feeling the plastic-coated metal pressing into our spine, taking our weight, supporting us. How good it would feel to do that in real life... just... once....

But no. Don't.

Please, don't fucking lean on the hand rails.


Fucking show the transport staff some respect.

It's a difficult and shit job, ferrying people around this bollock of an island. No one wants to be on the 07:23 from Plymouth on a wet Wednesday morning, so why don't we try and be nice to the people whose job it is to get us to where we're going without dying.

There are all sorts of issues with British public transport: it's overcrowded, it's unreliable, it's expensive. None of this is the fault of the bloke on the platform or the woman checking tickets. Direct your hate upward, to the people at the top. They're walking away with the millions, not Trevor the conductor.

Please, fucking show the transport staff some respect.


Don't take the fucking piss.

This, basically. Everything above can be distilled into this.

If you see piss, do not take it. That piss is not yours. Leave the piss alone.

Please, don't take the fucking piss.