Commuter Girl writes in about the challenges of tolerating other humans on public transit.
My daily commute on public transit has the ability to highlight all of my little social intolerances. What triggers the biggest response in me and starts my internal mind-chatter is behaviour that I perceive as being disrespectful to other passengers.
I appreciate that many people are simply turning unproductive time on a train or bus into productive time, but do you really need to share the latest drama in your life with the rest of the bus as you share it with your friend on the other end of your cell phone? Really people, my own personal drama is way better than yours any day! And as much as I appreciate stretching my musical repertoire, I don’t really need to hear the music blaring out of your headphones from two seats back – especially when I happen to be wearing my own headphones at the time. Oh, and have you ever tried sitting in an akward position to try to avoid the guy beside you digging his elbows in your ribs as he types away on his laptop? Hey, to do that, you at least have to take me out for dinner; a girl’s got to maintain her standards!
I often see Translink’s cheery “we’re all in this together” messaging but it sometimes leaves me wondering where the balance point is between tolerance of the needs of others and care for yourself. Where do we draw the line?
Dear Commuter Girl
The commuting curse of the finely-tuned introvert! Sometimes it feels like we’re all in a giant bus, jostling for position and trying to maintain some space and sanity, doesn’t it? Sounds like there is a lot trying to get your attention on your transit travels – my question would be: What else is trying to get your attention in your life that you might be trying to ignore? Is there something ‘digging you in the ribs’, ‘blaring into your ear’ or otherwise poking intrusively into your consciousness? Usually this is unfinished business of some kind – could be as simple as unpaid bills or undone dishes, or as complicated as unresolved relationships.
One more question: How much time do you spend taking care of others versus taking care of yourself? Do you routinely put others first? This annoyance could simply be a rather aggravating nudge from the universe to take back your space. Poke back.