Seven Annoying People You Will Meet On Trains (And Other Public Transportation)

Let me start by saying I don’t hate trains. Travelling by train is slow, but for shorter distances, I much prefer it to flying. I do, however, take an issue with the people on trains. So, without further ado, my list of pet peeves and people who incorporate them. Beware of clichés and stereotyping.

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1)The Living Boombox: Remember when it was cool to walk up and down your street with a giant boombox blaring the newest hits on your shoulder? Yeah, neither do I because we’re not living in the frickin’ eighties anymore. While it has thankfully become rare to encounter people who listen to music without headphones on public transportation these days, you will probably still have to listen to someone else’s bad taste in music whenever you board a train. It’s understandable that you want to show off your new 300€ headphones, but didn’t they come with sound insulation? Don’t even bother asking the Living Boombox whether they could look after your bag while you use the toilet, their ears are far too damaged to understand you. Depending on their variety of music and bribability, you could try to insert a coin and use them as a jukebox of course.

2)The Construction Worker: This person might as well be working on a construction site because with the amount of times you hear a whistle from their general direction you would think Beyonce, Shakira and Rihanna are taking turns walking down the aisle. Unfortunately, it’s just their phone’s message tone because they can’t be bothered to turn it off. Usually, this person is completely oblivious to the murderous stares they get every time someone sends them a message and could not fathom why it would annoy someone in their wildest dreams. Even though you are probably one step away from taking away their phone and throwing it out the window, you should probably try to talk to them first. If they still refuse to turn off their sound, you may resort to the first option, consequences be damned.

3) The Suprise Attack: The defining quality of this person is the smell wafting off of them. You will immediately notice this olfactory delight of a human being because they smell like they have just poured an entire bottle of cologne/perfume over their heads before they boarded the train. If they were a rare pokémon, it wouldn’t take you long to catch them. You will always find them right away just by following the rising levels of nausea you suffer caused by their dedication to overpower your sense of smell.

A variation of the Surprise Attack is the Time Traveller, who seems to have come to us from an age far before the invention of the deodorant. They probably just played a long and challenging match of their chosen sport because the sour smell of sweat they give off is permeating the whole train department. One of the above you might be able to tolerate by breathing through your mouth, but if you are faced with a combination of the two it is probably time to get off and take the next train.

4) The Party Animal: This specimen often travels in groups of at least seven. They frequently forget they’re not on a chartered party bus, but a regular train and feel sorry for everyone who is not in the mood to party. They are either coming from or going to a soccer match/techno parade/rock festival and plan to keep a steady blood alcohol level that would kill a medium sized mammal all weekend long. This is perhaps the most risky category of travellers because they will try to animate you to bawl along to bad songs with them and make you choose who looks best even though you really couldn’t decide between bad and worse. In this case, you might as well give up because they won’t stop anytime soon.

If they like you, they might even sacrifice one of their precious beers to finally engage you.

5) The Hippie: This person is perfectly comfortable making themselves at home wherever they are. You will find them lying down for a quick nap while claiming several seats for themselves, or chilling with their bare feet up on the seat opposite them. They might be wearing the traditional wide shirts and round sunglasses, but most likely they will be a hippie only in spirit, so you will often have trouble identifying them until it is too late and they are resting their head in your lap.

6) The Tamagotchi: You finally got off work and all you want is to sit back and relax during your ride home. Well, don’t get comfortable because the Tamagotchi is ready to engage! This person is so needy, you are transported back to your childhood days – except you don’t want a needy Tamagotchi to take care of like you did then; you’re already busy enough as it is. The Tamagotchi is determined to make conversation no matter how many monosyllabic answers you give. Taking out your headphones or opening a magazine is no use: they wouldn’t get the hint if you hit them over the head with it. Which you might very well be tempted to do. They might be sitting next to you, opposite you or shout their part of the conversation from the three rows down, but they will make conversation with you if it is the last thing they do.

7) The Dictator: This is likely to be an older person. You will recognize them by their piercing stare and thin lips as they scrutinize your every move. The moment your feet touch the cushion of a seat they will get up and loudly tell you off. If the Dictator happens to find themselves in the vicinity of the Hippie, the Living Boombox or the Party Animal, everyone else better scramble because an explosion is about to go off. And as we all know, cool guys don’t look at explosions.

This guy is too cool to turn around AND knows how to travel in style.


That said, no one is perfect and I definitely sometimes have a little Living Boombox and Hippie in me. How about you? What are your pet peeves and what do you do to get on other people’s nerves?


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