I did every irritating tube habit and watched Londoners get angry
It was a terrifying insight into the psyche of tired commuters
In the 19 years I’ve lived in London, bad manners on the London underground is by the far the one thing that irks me almost everyday. Unlike other commuters who are wholeheartedly fed up with life and decide to act on these annoyances, I generally keep quiet and let out a sigh at most. So, I took a train ride and did all the worst things I could possibly think of to piss off Londoners to see how it feels to be on the flip side of this situation and this is how it went (I was praying I wouldn’t get beaten up to be honest).
Standing on the right, I mean left, hand side of the escalator
Everyone knows there’s one side of the escalator for standing and the other side for walking. Like, even if you didn’t know you would be able to notice this rule straight away. That made this disobedient act quite nerve racking to do because I know how crazy commuters are after a long day at work. Surprisingly though, the commuters I came across were moderately polite when asking me to excuse myself to the right hand side of the escalator.
One businessman though was not having it. I’m sure he’s used to everyone being at his beck and call in the corporate environment he’s bound to be in, so when he saw me standing on the wrong side and blocking him from his opportunity to get home as quick as possible, he became a bit frazzled. Nothing too major though (thankfully), just a tap on the shoulder and a very hostile ‘can you move’. Yeah, he wasn’t asking.
Getting on the train before anyone can get off
This did not go well. Not because I was verbally or physically abused or anything, just because of my fragile stature and inability to be dominant. Every time I tried to get on the train before anyone got off I would just get swamped by people rushing off the train and forced to retreat to the sidelines of the entrance until the opening was clear. I even tried to mirror their tactic and look down and force myself on the train just to get a reaction but this just disorientated me and I backtracked behind the yellow line and again, moved to the side to let everyone off.
A seat for me and a seat for my bag
I was inspired to do this one when I was on a relatively packed train and I witnessed a man assign a seat for his iPhone. What made it worse was that it was a priority seat. Anyway, I was only on that train for one stop and wasn’t able to see if he got any slack for that shitty move. As for me, my bag didn’t keep that seat for long.
As soon as the train stopped at a station and people got on it, they would dart to the ‘free’ seat and stare at my bag until I felt too awkward to not move it. One woman was so impatient that she skipped manners altogether (kudos to her) and shuffled herself into the seat and my bag out.
I also rearranged this to try out my own version of manspreading, legs splayed over the seat next to me. We were on the Central Line, and it was hot, sweaty and busy. People were understandably not impressed, but at least they didn’t mention it – they were probably a little bit more annoyed at the photos we were taking of my bad tube demeanor.
Blasting that music
No, I didn’t play music out loud on the train because I have a conscience and I’m not antisocial. But, I got a music booster app to get my earphones to intrusively play music at it’s loudest possible volume. During the ride through the tunnel I didn’t get any responses and I guess that’s because the sound of the train drowned it out, but during stops it was a whole different story.
I have never been so scrutinised through eye contact before in my life – I actually started blushing because of all the attention I was getting. Not only did people stare, but I could see them huff and puff, relocate seats when there another available seat in the carriage and put earphones in themselves just to block me out. This was by far the worst of the bunch and I don’t understand why anyone would willingly do this if they didn’t have to.
Just turn it down.