The Secret Life of Melanie O.
Friday, October 14, 2005
Why I love model trains
I commute to work every day. It's not an easy commute. First, I have to drive to the railway station, which is about 15 minutes away. I then have to fight with other hassled commuters to find a place to park. I then take the train into the center of Sydney, after which I have to change trains to get to my final station. After alighting the train, I have a 10 to 15 minute walk to the building that I work in, all uphill - both ways.

The worst part of the commute is not the running up and down the station stairs to change platforms, nor is it about getting a new ding in my car from the person next to me in the parking lot who can't seem to pull straight out of a parking space. No - the worst thing about the commutes are the rides on the train.

As a kid, you think that trains are cool! Trains are fun! Trains come in HO scale and run around on oval tracks in your grandfather's basement with fake smoke billowing. But, as an adult, you find that local commuter trains, especially, are a pain. Mainly, they're a pain because of the kinds of people you are subjected to. For the sake of brevity, let's look at a few categories of what I like to call: the Riders from HELL.

First, there is the person who insists on eating something really, really smelly and repulsive, stinking up the entire carriage. This could be anything from tuna fish, to an overripe banana, to curry or something else pungent and lasting. These people seem oblivious to your watering eyes and the silent heaves undulating from your body.

Then, there is the person who hasn't bathed in two weeks and who has an aversion to deodorant. Sometimes this is a cultural thing. Sometimes, it's because there's a homeless schizophrenic riding in your carriage. This can, of itself, make for a very colorful journey. I have decided that I would rather spend an afternoon in the zebra pen at the zoo, than be stuck in a carriage near a non-bather/non-deodorant user.

crazy man crazy lady
You get to encounter plenty of scary types on the trains.

The third type is the dimwitted loud-mouth. Sadly, I have come across more women than men who fit this type. We used to call them "Crazy Ladies" in the days before Political Correctness. She is probably an ex-con. This is the kind of person who thinks everyone is in their way and starts shoving everyone off to the side as we all wait for the doors to open so we all can get off at the next stop. This person believes the world revolves around them and everyone else is an idiot. Hon, you know what they say: "It ain't everyone else. It's you."

The fourth type irritates me, only because it makes me wonder where we're headed as a society. These are the young men mostly, who sit in the vestibule and won't give up their seat for an elderly person, disabled person, or noticeably pregnant woman. I only have two words for you guys, and the first word starts with the letter "F."

The fifth type is the drunken loud mouth. You wouldn't think there'd be too many of these on a week night, but I routinely encounter about one a week. They abuse the women near them, ignore the men, and just generally prove that all life evolved from amoebas.
The sixth type should just not take the train at peak hour if at all possible. These are the Mums with Prams. You know they aren't coming home from the Office - they're out with the kids. They take up 3 spots on the trains while people, weary and just wanting to get home, get to listen to their screaming children who want their dinner. I know this sounds rather intolerant of me, but it's difficult to be tolerant of these prams, which are just mobile army units outfitted with juice boxes, toys, nappies, blankets, and often, two children in tandem screaming and crying.

The seventh type is the person who wants to "be your friend" and chat during the entire trip when you just want to close your eyes and take a snooze. Fortunately, this type is rather rare, as most commuters are sleepy and sullen in the morning, and tired and sullen in the afternoons.

The eighth type is The Groper. The Groper is why you will never ever actually be able to sleep on the train.

The ninth type is the backpacker or commuter who feels the need to carry a small wardrobe with them in a huge
backpack, and then doesn't bother to take it off before entering the train. As it usually happens, I am stuck in peak hour, standing, squashed next to a backpacker whose pack is battering my head and my boobs. I am nearly a D cup. I don't need my boobs battered by someone's backpack. This makes me very irritable.

I'll take the model trains over the real ones, any day.

posted by Melanie O. at 10:09 PM -
  • At 12:10 AM, Blogger Someone there said…

    You are good! You have Good stuff here! :)

  • At 12:20 AM, Blogger LivinginOz said…

    Thank you! :-)

  • At 1:19 PM, Blogger gardenbug said…

    I could never figure out how people survived their daily train trip into New York City. They have a routine that includes the daily newsaper and a cup of coffee. Some of the regulars meet on the train and play cards all the way in. As for me, It is a waste of time, energy and money. I'd rather work 10 minutes from home....or telecommute.

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About Me
Name: Melanie O.
Home: Durham, North Carolina, United States
About Me: Female, American health and beauty-conscious professional who has rekindled a childhood love of dolls.
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