Thursday, 26 November 2009

The Microculture

The commuter train is its own weird little microculture. There are rules and customs by which transient visitors are expected to abide.

There are also relationships that, much like a workplace, exist only within the confines of the train. People that have little in common are thrown together in less-than-pleasant circumstances for hours at a time. We each have our own little rituals to comfort us, like a favourite place to sit or a complex assortment of items to occupy us on the journey. Assuming, of course, that we have the luxury of a place to sit.

The "regulars" have plenty of opportunity to scope each other out and choose alliances. Sometimes, this is as simple as a friendly nod of acknowledgement or shared eye-roll at a late train or loud ipodipshit*, or it can evolve into a fully-fledged commuter team.

In this post, I'll introduce some of the cast of characters that are likely to reappear in future posts:

*IpoDipshit- name given to any one of the identical people listening to rubbish music out of headphones so loudly that the earbuds must be facing the wrong way in their ears. Also represented in gesture by a motion depicting strangulation by cord from white earbuds.

Train Buddy- the only other person on this route that goes the full distance. Cool geek that is my default choice (probably to his chagrin) for seatmate and conversation in the mornings.

Comedy Expat- after a conversation this morning, he suggested that he could be called the Manstruator, but that is a post for another day.

Ciderguy- always cracks a can of cider on the train and is an unlucky omen regarding successful journeys.

The cyclist - interesting council worker who apparently runs or cycles to the station each morning but somehow never appears sweaty or smelly. I think he just likes the feel of lycra in the morning.

Nescafe - never says a word, except for when he phones home to check in at exactly the same place on the route every day. In the evenings makes himself a hazelnut nescafe that fragrances the whole carriage.

The Verbose Professors- Profs A and B- often found in a pair- interesting chaps discussing abstract, irrelevant, and sometimes entertaining topics.

Shirt and Tie- quiet and fairly attractive guy that never speaks, but gives off a slight vibe of underlying jerkdom. Good choice of seatmate when I want to get my head down and work.

The Gaggle- loud group of giggly and completely inane uni students that assume that all aboard are supremely interested in their business.

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