So I am just back from two months of hectic travel and it took me from plane to bus to train. It was awesome! I love the throttle of the plane when it is just about to take off, absolutely adore the regular rhythm of the moving train as it rocks me to sleep like a baby and enjoy the pit stops of the buses in the middle of nowhere and funny movies that they put. There is almost nothing that can spoil these experiences for me except PEOPLE! Really, only if I did not have to put up with obnoxious co-passengers who range from irritating to completely unbearable!! The insensitivity of such people stuns me and I usually oscillate from complete aloofness to squabble and in some extreme cases, a slap right across the face! Here I tell "all" about my not so wonderful experiences with co-travelers, I am sure you will all relate to some of them......
The Party People
Aren't they fun!!?? Of course, but only in a real party! When they make bus or train their party venue, it is nothing but plain annoyance. This happened while I was traveling by train from Delhi to Mumbai, and it was past 10 pm. I had had a long day as I had caught an early morning flight from yet another place to Delhi and had been on the move since 4 am. The train looked like my refuge where I would simply slump down on the berth and sleep. Just as I was dreaming about the sleep, a family of 8 entered the coach and began to noisily settle down in the neighboring coupe. I assumed that they would settle down eventually but after the noise of dragging luggage died down, the family took to chattering in their highest pitch. They must have come back from a roller coaster ride because they sounded like they were still reliving that experience. Two hours later, it was 10 pm and I just kept tossing on my seat. Finally,I made my way to the next coupe and told them to keep their voices down. I did not even tell them to switch off their lights that were disturbing others, I just wanted them to SHUT UP! They gave me those looks like I was an "Alien" and then began whispering. I finally went off to sleep to be woken up by a high pitched laughter! As I sat down and bumped my head at the upper berth, I decided to call the cabin attendant. Yep! that intervention helped even though I kept receiving the dirty looks from them the next morning. I did not care!
The Chatty Stranger!
We all have come across this person....he or she is excited and wants the world to know. The only problem is that you are the chosen victim and that particular time you are not in a mood to have your ears bitten off! I met a guy who kept disturbing me with some stupid questions that were not really his business, to start with. Now, I am someone who does not like to talk too much with strangers while traveling. A courteous smile and that is it. I settle down with a book and don't look at others. That is the hint for others to not even try to initiate a conversation with me. With my young son in tow, it has become difficult yet I manage to do it! But there are some persistent individuals, who want to know your life history. C'mon we are just co-passengers, not life partners. Questions like "where are you going" are acceptable but "why are you going there" are not! I even got a comment on "your child is too small to be going to school", yes thank you for your wonderful advice, I will keep him at home and home- school him- happy?!
Don't take me wrong, I am a fan of Messi's! This is just to explain a kicking syndrome...the one which makes you kick the front seat in the plane or a bus. Now I get it, these places are cramped up, may be you are getting suffocated or may be suffering from claustrophobia but kicking my seat will not help you! It will only disturb me and make me feel super weird! That thud in the back makes me angry....very angry!
The Harried Squad
There are certain things about people traveling by Air, that I have not been able to understand till date. Let me know the answers if anyone has them! Why do some people find it sooooo difficult to switch off their phones in a plane? Is someone dying and even if someone is, it is not worth putting the entire plane carrying hundreds of passengers at risk for that "one" dying person!
Next one, when the announcement for boarding has been done for passengers from seat number 20 to 30, why do people allotted seat numbers other than between 20 to 30 get up and get in line? Will that ensure an extra business class seat for you or extra food? What exactly are you doing except wasting other people's time, irritating the crew and blocking the way to the plane?
Now this one is a classic, why do people stand up and clog the aisle when the plane doors are still closed? Is there a treasure chest at the end of the doorway? If so, lemme know even I will clog the passage and shove a few people to get out of the plane next time. Or is the plane going to leave within 5 minutes and you need to be out by then?!
This has happened with me a number of times, people sitting in the aisle seat would just not get up to make way for passengers who have to sit in the middle or window seat. Do you think you are so thin that people can simply pass without getting hassled or you think they will grab your seat the minute you get up?? No, seriously I really need to know whether it is your insensitivity or simple laziness?
If you travel quite a bit, this is one breed you would have definitely encountered. Teasing, leching or touching is what gives them high and sometimes a tight slap is what they really need! This one time when I was traveling by bus, I felt something brushing against my rear. I was sleeping but woke up almost instantaneously. My watch showed 4.30 am and I wondered who the hell was awake at this hour. So I waited until I felt a hand touching me again, this time I grabbed this person's one finger and just turned it backward. He screamed and jumped out of his seat! And next, I planted one tight slap on his face. The conductor came to attend to all the commotion and the perpetrator was calling me "sister" by now! I told the conductor to throw him out of the bus, this made the "guy" literally beg as it was dark outside and there was nothing but forest for miles. Sometimes it is our inaction that encourages people such as these. I have had more incidents and every time I have raised my voice, these people usually just withdraw. The key is to keep a presence of mind and act suitably. Remember acting as per the occasion is the keyword here. Dont rush in to act just because of a hunch. You may want to read one of my experiences of when I wanted to kill a cab driver.
These were the annoying categories of co-travelers I have met over years. Do let me know about your experiences and how you tackled them in the comments below. If you have a story, get in touch with us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Now that we are done with the bads, I shall get back with a "good people" stuff real soon. So keep coming back!