10 people I don't understand on the tube

Ah, the tube. It’s an interesting place. I’ve seen all sorts on the tube since moving here, and underground is a strange old world. It seems to operate by different rules.

Setting aside the fact that it’s downright odd to spend well over an hour of my day, every day, underground, here are ten people who baffle me on the tube.

1. People who push and shove when it’s not even busy. Let’s face it, pushing and shoving is never ok, and some people turn into animals when hurrying at rush hour, but this confuses me even more when it’s not even busy. Once, I was walking to the Piccadilly Line at midday, it was fairly quiet, and a woman pushed me hard into a wall to pass me, when there would have been metres of space if she’d passed round the other side of me, or said excuse me. She in particular is in my bad books, as it made me drop and smash my phone, too.

2. People who fall asleep. I’m a bit in awe of these people. Firstly, I feel so uncomfortable and hot and out of place on the tube I could never relax enough to sleep, it’s so loud, and how are they not afraid of missing their stop?!

3. People who use their body or BABY to wedge open the tube doors. They’re heavy doors, and the fact people risk so often getting trapped in them confuses me anyway, but more than once I’ve seen parents stick out their buggy, with baby inside, to wedge open the doors! Not ok.

4. People who eat smelly food. Any food, really, because when you’re packed in that tightly I really don’t want the noise of you chewing in my ear. But smelly food is worse, especially when air circulation isn’t exactly highly effective down there. Shoutout to the woman on my train the other week loudly eating the smelliest egg sandwich I’ve ever smelled. At 7am.

5. Parents who yell at their kids, especially when they’ve done nothing wrong. I know it must be nerve-wracking taking your kids into a space that is so busy, where there’s risk of being separated or getting off at the wrong stop, but the amount of shouting I’ve heard at kids for moving their arm, or shuffling round to face another direction is ridiculous. Also, your shouting hurts my ears.

6. The people who dive dramatically onto a seat, only to get up and get off at the next stop. If you’re travelling for about 1 more minute, surely you could allow that pregnant lady, or the man on crutches, or the weary-looking woman carrying 4 bags, that seat?

7. The people who think their headphones are speakers. That tinny noise leaking out of people’s headphones is one of my pet hates, but there’s also a group of people who have their headphones so loud I can hear their music as clearly as if they were on my own headphones! Shoutout here to the man blasting out Beyonce the other day on the Jubilee Line.

8. The people who stare at other passengers. The amount of times I look up to find someone staring at me intently is creepy. I’ve also spotted many a person staring round the carriages at others - a spot of people-watching is natural, but the intent stares that seem to emerge when people are tired, or bored on the tube, is slightly uncomfortable.

9. The people who hog the armrest. Just no. This should be a complex process, of working out who was there first, or whose arm goes in front or behind. Don’t sit down three stops after me and shove my arm out the way, sticking your elbow out so it reaches halfway across my seat.

10. The people who shout at others to move down the carriage when there’s physically no more space. Yes, it’s annoying if you can’t fit on when there’s clearly room, but when it’s obvious a carriage resembles a tin of sardines, I’m sure you could wait the 60 seconds until the next tube comes along.

So there you have it, the 10 interesting characters I regularly come across. Do you have any to add?


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