Wednesday, 10 November 2010
Whenever you get onto your local subway system, you are seemingly bombarded by the sheer number of strangers. You feel pretty insignificant in this ocean of human life, and have no idea how to process so many people. Well, this huge quantity of sitters, standers, and sleepers really isn't as massive as you'd think. Regardless of race, creed, age, gender, or socio-economic status, all train riders
1) The Zoner: This person is rockin' it old school. No headphones, no book, no one to talk with, just their incessant gaze on everything around them. They are silently along for the ride, making eye contact with every person that comes and goes around them. Many people in this category appear to be in a meditative state, picking a spot on the train and just staring with constant vigilance. The name is derived from their amazing ability to, "zone out" and just ride the rails without a signal diversion. The most pitied of all train riders, the Zoner is the lone wolf of solitude amidst a crowded subway.
2) The Talker: Our next train rider has the gift of gab. Whether they are talking to a friend, a group of friends, or someone on the phone, the Talker is one of the most annoying travelers on this list. Speaking at an unnecessarily loud volume, the Talker has no qualms speaking about, "how drunk they were last night" or about, "how they can't wait for their surgery to finally be done with." Talkers have no regard for privacy, not caring if people hear their often humiliating narratives. Zoners will often sneakily listen to the Talkers as a form of distraction, but often hate what they have to say.
3) The Reader: The Reader does just that, they read. In an amazing feat of concentration the Reader can focus in on their plot lines, regardless of background noise on-board. Whether they are reading comic books, text books, newspapers, Kindles, graphic novels, or even scratch-offs, the Reader can be found on every train there is. The Talker can halt their reading progress, but it is the Reader's supreme talent of adaptation that can override this momentary setback. The Reader wants no trouble with anyone, they are sucked into the world of the book and often never look up. The Reader never has to make awkward eye contact with other passengers, a huge perk of this train riding technique.
4) The Listener: Simply put, this train rider is listening to their headphones. These days it seems that the Listener is among the most prevalent riders on board our metro systems. Listeners are tuned out of the world, missing the ramblings of the Talker, the announcements of the conductor, and the demands of the Beggar. Most young people couldn't imagine sitting in silence so they always have their iPod close by in case of emergencies. Who can blame them? Listening to music is a great way to pass the time, or even make yourself chuckle. I'll be that most people reading this are Listeners (even though you currently are a Reader).
5)The Writer: This person is jotting down their seemingly brilliant thoughts while traveling to their next destination. Some like to use their notebooks while others, "live in the now" and type on their laptops. These writers just can't wait until they get home to transcribe their latest masterpiece. Other passengers are often curious about what they are writing, in fact many passengers face a fit of paranoia thinking that the Writer is writing about them! This is hardly the case, except in the case of this Writer, who wrote all of these ideas down about all of you. Beware.
6)The Texter: Much like the Reader this person is also self explanatory, they text. In a broader sense, Texters can be anyone on the train that is using their cell phone. Playing games, reading old texts, looking at naked pictures of their girlfriend - all of these are under the larger name of "The Texter". Often times, Texters can be combined with just about every other person on this list. After all, it isn't hard to sneak in a text between chapters, or during your 3rd hour of aimless staring. The greatest enemy of the Texter is losing service underground. Sometimes, as if sent by God, they will receive a text while under the Earth.
7)The Beggar: The Beggar can also be known as, "The Great Interrupter." Talkers are silenced, Readers lose their page, and fingers of the Texter become frozen. The Beggar often has, "an announcement to make" where they proceed to guilt trip all riders into, "helpin' em out." But don't sell the Beggars short here people, they can be quite crafty. Aside from their pleas of pathos, Beggars take on many forms. A rapper with an electronic keyboard, 2 white guys with a guitar and harmonica, an old Italian man with a violin, or a group of 4 black guys in a dance group. The list is endless, but it solidifies the Beggar as the Chameleon of the underground.
So there you have it, a definitive list of everyone you will see on a train. Next time you are in the subway, take a look around and try to pinpoint everyone you just learned about. Think of it like an "I Spy" game, it's fun!
Can you think of any other types of strangers on the train?