The Unwriten Rules Of Train Travel pt.1

Midnight post! Not even sorry. I just spent 20 minutes on a train and I have so many topics to write about.. We tend to do the most thinking when we travel, at least I tend to.. Tonight I was paying close attention to the way strangers interact on trains.. and public transport in general. Let’s talk about eye contact.

The interior of the train is generally more lit up than the exterior. This is why there are often reflections in the windows. The unwritten social rule on trains is that it is absolutely unacceptable to accept the existence of other passengers. This, of course, is why modern trains have windows. So you can look out of them.

Here in the UK we get seats that face each other. The real struggle is when someone sits right in front of you. The seating is designed to be close so that looking ahead at the other person is quite intimate. Unfortunately intimacy breaks social rules and therefore you are not allowed to look ahead of you. Where do you look then?

Most people seek refuge in the screens of their phones. Other seek it in their eye lids. The ones who are out of phone charge and just chugged a coffee have only one option left… Look out of the window.

Sadly looking out of the window is not reliable. It is effective only over the few hours of daylight we get. When it is dark, or darkish, you end up looking at the reflection of the

person sitting in front of you. It’s just the way that the seating is designed. Looking out of the window; puts you looking, point blank, at the reflection of the seat in front of you. This initiates more paranoia than becoming a weed addict..

“Do they think I am looking at them?”

“What will I do if they look out of the window also?”

Murphy’s law is at place here. The person in front (we will call them “Dude”)will always look out of the window also. For a split second you will have established eye contact over the reflection. Now you have both really fucked it…

“Was Dude looking at me specifically?”

“Does he think I’m watching him? I’m not. What if he’s still watching me?”

“He will probably look over any time now to check if I’m still watching him.. I should check if he does..”

You will look over and Dude will see you do it. Now you are both sitting there trying to figure out who is watching who. In reality you are both guilty. You know this, but does Dude? What if Dude thinks less of you now?

That’s the internal side of things. The external side is worse. Why are you looking out of a window when it’s dark outside? Can’t see shit! Do you even realise how weird it looks, someone staring off into the dark? That’s what serial killers do! They stare into the dark until the dark gets into their hearts so they can start killing people!

And that’s about all I have to say about eye contact on trains. If these things have not come across your mind before, then I am sorry. I have most likely prevented you from enjoying train journeys. You will now spend the rest of your travel time suffering from extreme paranoia…

Follow this blog so I can prevent you from enjoying other things also!

Safe travels!


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