A definitive list of who you’ll meet and hate on the tube

Literally, can they just not

Another Friday turns into Saturday, Saturday to Sunday, and before you know it you’re standing squashed within an inch of your life on the Monday morning tube. You stand there asking yourself: how much do I really need my job? Should I get up at 4am and walk to work instead? Surely it’s not a bad thing if I spend all my money on Ubers? Sweaty, smelly and uncomfortable, the rush hour tube is not the place to be.

That said, the tube and all the hilariously irritating people on it have come to occupy a piece of my heart (albeit a small one). First, the tube facilitates #edG Instagram pictures. Second, comprised of many colourful and overlapping lines, the tube map means going from A to B becomes a short game of ‘Connect the Dots.’ Third, if you’re very lucky, you can bear witness to a couple/family fight or listen to half of a post-night-out catch up happening over the phone.

The tube is a weird and wonderful place, and one that provides access to some of the finest specimens our city has to offer. Let us consider its recurring characters.

The smelly eater

We’re squashed, hot and fed up. We do not need a McDonalds, samosa or chicken wing to stink up the carriage and make this even more unbearable than it has to be. We also do not want to see you wiping your greasy fingers on the side of the seat. Eww.

The loud music listener

Heads up: your earphones are more like speakers. I don’t especially want to be listening to EDM or D&B on my way to work. I’m basically still asleep. I didn’t ask you to wake me up. PS. Please don’t hum along, I didn’t ask for that either.

The overly aggressive member of rush-hour

Taps on the window. “MOVE UP INSIDE THE CARRIAGE PLEASE, LADY COMING THROUGH.” This happened to me this morning. You need to pipe down.

The young person looking at their phone so they can pretend they didn’t see the pregnant/old/disabled person and remain sitting

You see this all the time. The young individual staring fixedly at their screen, barely blinking, so that they don’t have to acknowledge the person in question and consequently stand in a crowded carriage. Shame. On. You.

The foreigners

Yapping away, no idea where they’re going, fifteen suitcases in tow. Not the time, not the place – can you not just wait until we get to work?

The PDA couple

Kissy kissy, smooch smooch, handsy handsy. Keep it for when you get home. Please. For all our sakes.

The person who walks on the tube while you’re trying to walk off


The seat stealer

They’re a million miles at the other end of the carriage. They spot your person moving, shimmy their way up beside you, and before you even have time to blink they’re sitting in what should’ve been your spot. Cheeky AF.

The make-up doer

Mirror balanced on one finger, mascara held in a second, lipstick lid in the third finger. It’s truly an acrobatic act. And her eyeliner is still spot on. How?????

The newspaper reader

The perfect passenger. Sitting within the parameters of their seat, catching up on world affairs, respectably dressed and a quiet presence. Have a good day at work, kind sir.