Busy buses and trains are not my favorite places. I don’t like crowds and people bumping up against me and invading my personal space in a confining vehicle where I can’t easily exit gives me sweaty palms. And with the abundance of rain we’re experiencing now and wet people stuffed in a confined place, I’m definitely not a fan of transit at the moment.My favorite way of avoiding the hustle and bustle of the crowd… iPod. I’ve been doing it for years, first with a discman, then with the nano and now with my touch. It drowns out the crowds and puts me in my happy place and helps me tolerate the ride.
But every once and awhile I notice someone trying to talk to me. Thinking that I should carry the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Spirit with me at all times, I take out my ear phones thinking that they want to ask me for directions. On more than one occasion I’ve regretted this and thought that maybe I should assess the situation before I give my full attention.
General inquiries to me on transit usually include whether I have change, whether I want to buy a translink ticket (um, I’m on the train/bus already, why would I buy another?), whether I want to purchase other products or general conversation about life.
My favorite is the man who asked me to take out my headphones in order to tell me that people who listen to music while on transit are rude and that society is getting to closed off from each other. Of course this wasn’t in a conversational matter, instead it was simply him telling me what was wrong with my actions and trying to make me feel like a bad citizen for not wanting to speak with him. He then berated me for putting my earphones back in.
And he wonders why I don’t want to converse with people?
Of course there are downsides to listening to music while in transit, I’m sure I’ve missed some great conversations that I could be overhearing, but then again that’s why the pause button was created. And I do understand that people just want to talk to others, some people are just chatty. But I spend at least 8 hours a day chatting and making small talk with people, the time I spend in transit is my quite time, I don’t want to chat with strangers .
So I will continue to ride with headphones firmly in place. I’ll take the dirty looks and fall trap to those who I think want directions only to be finagled into crazy conversation.
It’s all research for the blog after all.
What are some of the best ways you avoid the awkward conversations while en route?