It’s unusual how talking to strangers on public transport has become something of a rarity. I’m guilty of this, I find it awkward making conversation with somebody talking to me, I don’t know them, I have no idea what to say! Plus you’re going to be with them on the bus/tram/train/plane for another hour, what happens if you say something insulting by accident? You can’t just leave. Therefore it’s way simpler to put in some earphones and listen to some music.
On Monday I was travelling back to Sheffield from Newcastle, a man joined me and this girl with her head in a book about medicine, as you can imagine we were already having a thrilling conversation. I don’t know why but if you have a table seat on a train people always try and talk to you. Anyway, because I’m ignorant at the idea of talking to strangers, and I was also upset because I left my boyfriend in Newcastle, I did my usual I can fall asleep anywhere apart from in my own bed trick. Until that annoying voice-over thing came on and screeched to the coach that we were at Doncaster (about 15 mins away from my stop).
Before I go on, this guy was about 75, loved to go out to clubs and I could hardly understand his accent. Oh and he also had 5 sugars in half a cup of coffee and liked Kit-Kats.
I’m good at reading people, I always have been, however I wouldn’t say it’s a good trait as I see people’s flaws in their personality more. I could tell that this man was eager for conversation, he’d already tried talking to medicine girl (who can I just point out spent 5 minutes eating a banana, how is that even possible?). When we stopped at Doncaster he asked me where my stop was…so I answered. We continued talking for a while, about how he used to work in Sheffield and how he was going to Portsmouth. He then talked about being from Sweden, and how 95% of people there are alcoholics (his statistic, not mine).
A guy came on the train who was wearing earphones, he sat next to medicine-banana girl, opposite party-animal-prone-to-a-kitkat man. He continued to set up his iPad, after the man sat next to me had an unsuccessful attempt of talking to the new arrival.
After this attempt, he talked to me about how he found it incredibly boring that nobody socialises any more, he explained that he likes to learn things about people and have fun.
People just shove things in their ears and block out anybody who tries to communicate with them
He’s right. It is sad how nobody talks to one-an-other, but I guess that’s how society is nowadays.
The funniest thing about my encounter with party-animal-prone-to-a-kitkat man, was that he asked me if I was going out that night (which I was), his response was “yay good for you! Where about are you going and what is it like?”. After explaining to him about this dingy nightclub I was going to. He asked me a question – wait for it – he asked me what the rules of beer pong were. Just to reiterate, this dude looked in his mid 70s. When I explained to him what it was, he burst out laughing “you English people sure do know how to get drunk and have fun”.
I hope I’m as awesome as party-animal-prone-to-a-kitkat man when I’m in my 70s.