You Know What Sh!ts Me?: People Getting Ready on Public Transport

I hate taking public transport. It’s already bad enough that I have to deal with the system’s terrible schedule, the dirtiness of the vehicles, and the fact that carriages are never at a comfortable temperature – but God, if there’s one thing that’s worse than all of this, it’s the people who take public transport, more specifically, those commuters in the morning.

Alright, so not everyone’s a morning person – granted, it’s probably safe to say a good 80% of us just hate mornings – and being grumpy in the morning is simply an uncontrollable side effect. That’s fine. I can handle grumpiness. But what I can’t handle is the fact some people think it is in within their social right to get ready on public transport.

It is not.

This is how it SHOULD be done. (SOURCE: Reginaldo Andrade's Flickr photostream)

This is how it SHOULD be done. (SOURCE: Reginaldo Andrade’s Flickr photostream)

The train, bus, ferry, light rail, or may I dare to say, the footpath, is not the place for you to get your morning shit together. I’m sorry, but I was under the impression you shouldn’t leave the house until you were ready for the day, or was that just me? Because judging from the number of women I’ve seen putting on an entire face of make-up on public transport alone, I feel like I’ve missed the memo.

Come on, girls. Is public transport really a good place to wave your mascara wand around? I mean it’s a skill to be able to apply make up on a moving platform, I give you that, but it is not a tip endorsed by make up professionals. I believe the correct and preferred way is still on an immovable seat in front of a large mirror. Do you really want other people to know how image obsessed you are, even if you never see them again in your life? That’s no way to give off that effortless beauty look you’re going for. Plus, I would prefer if none of your powder blush landed on my jeans.

I would also prefer if I didn’t have to deal with your dripping hair on my book/newspaper/phone. Or even just watching dripping water fall from your head down your neck onto your back. It’s strangely icky. I know you’re probably clean, assuming your hair is wet because you took a shower rather than taking a quick dip in that puddle outside your house before jumping onboard public transport, but I don’t have to consciously know that you got naked in the morning and scrubbed yourself clean. Icky. And the fact is, I’m seeing more and more people who I can tell have taken showers in the morning. It’s troubling, because the question is, when will we draw the line? Because I am going to be pretty upset if people start taking showers on their morning commute, especially if you’re one of those people who takes a little wee in the shower. Really upset.

And then there’s the issue of breakfast. If you have to eat, or want to eat, I suggest getting up a little earlier because it is just rude to be having your morning meal on public transport, especially if you’re not going to offer it to the person next to you. I am able to deal with coffee or other hot drinks, but not your toast or boiled eggs (oh yes, I’ve seen someone peel eggs on the train). Not only is there a problem of the smell of hot food, which lingers after you’ve long finished it or long gone by the way, there’s also the issue of you sitting on the aisle eating your food and the problem of me having to get over you to get off at my stop. It’s an awkward moment that simply shouldn’t exist, and wouldn’t if you would have have your damn breakfast at home like a normal person.

It’s not a lot to ask, but it would be a whole lot easier if you could actually be ready when you’re ‘ready’ to leave the house. But it seems everyone is getting ready on their morning commute in one way or another. No one is ever ready anymore. Have I been handling myself in public wrong all these years? Should I cut my morning routine by half, so that you can share the remainder with me as I struggle to pick my outfit on a moving vehicle on the train to work/uni/out for that day? Please tell me. I don’t want to look like a put-together morning idiot.

– by Nicole Lam

You Know What Sh!ts Me?: Society Hates Sick People

I write this from my bed, a bed that has become refuge for the last week or so. Half-drunk tea cups and soup bowls accumulate high in the surrounding area, protected by a fence of snotty tissues and Soothers wrappers. And as if this wasn’t bad enough, this hell of chilling and scolding fever, I have to prove to the people around me that I’m legitimately on the brink of death.

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People get sick, quite often I might add. As far as medicine has come in our existence there is still no cure for the common cold or for the viruses that have caused my tonsillitis. I do not blame the medical or scientific community for this. There are some crappy things that just become part of life and having the flu a couple times a year is one of them. However, society itself does not tolerate this common human affliction.

Why is it that just because I have an assignment due for uni today (which I have completed) and work tomorrow morning that I still feel this guilt for not being able to make it to either of these places? For example, the e-mail I sent to my tutor this morning was a mess of sorrys and reassurances that I will give him a medical certificate. If I am sick, the first priority should be that I get better, not that I have to prove my degree of sickness, but somehow this makes sense: if I’m too sick to leave the house and hand in work at university then I should somehow not be too sick to leave the house to go to the doctors and get a certificate.

I can’t call my boss and simply tell her I can’t come in because I’m sick; instead, I end up saying something along the lines of: “I’m so so so so sorry, I could maybe come in for a couple of hours,” but in my head I’m thinking: “What? I’m sick, I need rest, why am I saying these things?”

I understand that being sick inconveniences a lot of people; my boss will have to find somebody else to work and my tutor will have to wait to grade my assessment, but if we all know that this happens to everyone quite regularly than there should be allowances and backup plans made. Above all we shouldn’t be made to feel this insane guilt when we’re already feeling intense sickness.

I should mention that I’m really jaded about this topic because at one time in my life being sick nearly cost me my job. I worked at a cafe for a while, and after being there for about a month the boss gave me a raise for my hard work. At this point the boss seemed awesome. A couple months later I get sick and call him to say so, which he then replies with ‘That’s okay, you should come in anyway.’ So I do, and for that week I work as hard as I can, when I only have about 60% of my usual energy and 189% of the mucus. At the end of the week he tells me that he is thinking of firing me because I had been ‘slacking off at work even after I was given a raise.’

A lot of questions arise from this one incident, but the main one for me was: what happened in this man’s life to make him think that making a sick person work would be okay? The answer, I have to assume, is the world we live in. A world where there must be billions of people sick at this very second but they are all being treated like a horse with a broken hoof.

I know this seems like a really big ‘what grinds my gears’ article, but I am very seriously curious to know if anyone feels the same. I understand that these practices are put in place for the whole of society to be more efficient, but on a personal level it seems like such a sacrifice.

 by Josefina Huq