5 Reasons...

...to explain my hatred of train journeys. Having spent nearly two years now flitting between Uni and home, usually with my pocket sized [yet invariably heavy] suitcase and numerous last-minute, junk-filled plastic bags in tow, I can safely say that the joy of travelling has been completely and utterly drained from me. Scratch that, it's been well and truly ruined, abolished if you will.
Now, five years or so ago I was quite content with the idea that I may never move very far away from home; that the little village I'd been accustomed to for nearly ten years would suit me just fine thanks - even the cigarette butts that confetti the pavements couldn't have [and still can't] put me off. This of course was before I began travelling, and soon I got the bug. First off was a celebratory trip to sunny Wales with my wonderful college friends after the doom that was A-levels. I'm talking tents, rain, insect infestations, wrong turnings, cold showers...the lot. Yet that sense of independence and fun-loving freedom just enticed me - I longed to get away, not permanently of course- I am far too much of a homebody to ever consider migrating any time soon, but it's true that the escapism you feel when you're somewhere new is just incredible.

A few years down the line and we've had a couple of lovely holidays in Italy [which I firmly believe was home to my former self, if ever there was one] and are looking forward to a treat this year when we jet off to Majorca [ash cloud permitting] and experience a whole new culture. The difference however is that whilst I was equally as enthralled with the journeys to Italy as the holidays themselves, this time I just can't wait to get it over with. The association I now have with travelling is one of painful goodbyes and confusion; I will forever see my family home as my rock, and that is where my heart is, but all of the hard-work and relationships I've experienced at Uni are here. Thus I'm in constant limbo and every train/bus journey is as difficult as the next.

On the plane to Italy
Today, I was journeying back to Uni, minding my own business on the train when I really started to think about the discomforts of this particular transport that really, really annoy me. I will share these reasons, in the hopes that I'm not the only one noticing these awkward occurrences and that we can all find some solace in our shared, grumpy-old-lady-like suffering...

1. Deciding where to sit
Okay, so if you're clever and organised you will no doubt have reserved a seat on a busy route so as to avoid the cramped, almost sideways walk of doom down the carriage to scrabble for a chair. The rest of us however face a sort of diagonal hobble down the aisle, manoeuvering our luggage and trying desperately not to look like were analysing potential sea- neighbours whilst we actually do so. Business men and women are usually a no-no; they'll almost always be yapping on their phone, or even worse they'll have an ear-piece and appear to be talking to you when in fact, they're not. Definitely never happened to me before... Teenage boys are also usually off the safe-list as I've always found them the most likely to be blasting out Tinie Tempah from their earphones in the hopes of looking cool. You don't. So that leaves the elderly train passengers (fine if you're up for having a good ol' chinwag about the old days) and the shopaholic young women who've kindly donated the seat next to them to their new Prada handbag [that'll be another point entirely]. So you can sense the confusion here.

2. Seat hoarders
This will be a quick one, I promise! There is just one thing I'd like to say to all those who plonk their teeny tiny handbag/ folded newspaper/ mobile phone onto the seat next to them to avoid any unnecessary train-neighbouring. I will sit on it.

3. The train empties...
and suddenly you're left with the option of moving away from aforementioned train-neighbour and into a suitably spacious, ever elusive double seat. I'd just love to know what the etiquette is here. Usually I remain where I'm seated, even though that double seat two rows down looks ten times more comfortable and temptingly quiet. I stay where I am [somewhat embarrassingly] so as not to offend said train-neighbour by moving away. I mean, if anyone leaves the seat next to me only to grab a chair somewhere else I immediately panic and wonder if I forgot to put my deodorant on that morning. I'm guffawing as I write this because I'm clearly an irrational human being who worries far too much, and yet this realisation will do nothing to stop me staying where I am (no matter how uncomfortable) so as not to offend a total stranger. Therapy needed?!

 4. Boom boom boom
As much as I love the Black Eyed Peas, or music in general for that matter, I'd prefer to hear it on my own terms, at my own choice of volume. It's a tiresome cliche I know, but on the home-bound journey yesterday a boy standing about three seats down was providing the rest of the carriage with some bass-heavy hip-hop that I'm pretty sure he couldn't hear anyway due to the presumed deafness he'd afflicted himself with for playing his music so loud. Keep it to yourself bro.
Headphones: created to replace speakers, not compete with them

5. Tickets
Finally, the one factor of train journeys that panics me the most is hearing, in pretended politeness 'Tickets and passes please'. Saying that, you'd think I was one of those fare-dodgers who somehow manages to avoid paying for any transportation, ever. Proudly I'm not, but the sense of terror that I feel when I can't see that flash of orange in my purse must be on a scale similar to that of a masked robber nearly, but not quite, getting away from the scene of the crime. Inevitably I haven't lost my ticket at all (bar one annoying occasion when it was hiding lucratively in my back pocket) and it's sitting exactly where I put it when I told myself that this time I most certainly need not panic, because I know exactly where it is. Cue short term memory loss and the cycle continues. I don't think I'll ever stop panicking about losing my ticket; the criminalising stare from the train guard on that one, ultra-frustrating occasion has scared me to the point of terror. I WILL NOT lose my ticket. I think I'd break down.
 Sweets always make things better :)

Wow. Its ok- you can look back now. If you actually read that then frankly I'm shocked. Pleased beyond belief, but shocked all the same...that was some lengthy rant! Apologies to all of those who did manage to read to this point, but honestly I quite enjoyed getting into grumpy-old-lady mode. Perhaps it could be a regular feature?! We shall see, until then dears...have safe journeys, whereever you may be heading, and to those of you who are not, count yourself lucky!!


Sophie Bryce said...

Ahhhh Danni :D
I think of ALL of those things when I'm on a train. Especially the whole "do I move to the free seats" dilemma. It's such a decision, I never want to offend anyone :(. Worst is moving away from them into the seats directly opposite, so you can have more space. I've never felt more like a free space snob, ever.
Lovely blog as always, missy <3

Maria Fallon said...

Hahaaa! I'm so relieved someone else experiences the awkwardness too :D I dread every journey :P


Anonymous said...

Haha! Great post. I actually really like using the train, but I too used to suffer the uni-home train journeys. I especially identify with the ticket panic and the "should I move to that empty seat" dilemma.

xladx said...

haha class! I have to get a train every weekend and its always rush hour and the train coming from london...so reading this made me LOL since it happens ALL THE TIME to me! Although one of the worst moments is when I had booked a seat and a guy REFUSED to give it up!

One day, I will get him back...


daisychain said...

I could have written this!

Maria Fallon said...

Guys I'm so relieved you all feel the same!!

I reckon national rail should come up with a 'common-sense rule book' .. that way we all know where we stand when that horrible 'shall i move to the empty seats' moment comes up :P


Anonymous said...

Haha I experience number 3. alot! I always feel guilty about moving seats so I remain next to the person, all the while eying the empty seats


Sherin said...

I am definitely relating to these. I've experience #'s 1 and 3 and completely understand waht you're saying. It's so awkward when thinking about moving to another seat!

Rick said...

The train is an awkward social convention. My favorite is if someone refuses to sit next to you. Always makes you feel good inside.