There are a few different kinds of commuters. The first (and my personal favorite) kind are just trying to get from Point A to Point B. They’re quiet, probably tired, and just want to listen to music or read or stare out the window in peace.
The second kind is a bit more gregarious. I usually imagine that these people are not regular commuters, but rather newbs or people just going to the city for the afternoon or the island for the evening. The train is new and exciting, and they want to make friends. They will literally interrupt your reading with a comment like, “That must be a good book!”
The ironic part of that statement is that what they mean is, “That must be a good book because you seem so focused on it.” They are interrupting your focus to comment on your focus. Maddening.
But the second type of commuter at least means well. They’re just trying to be friendly (slash, occasionally, hit on you). It’s the third type that is actually a problem.
The third type is the commuter that thinks a train car is the same as a busy street or, even worse, a bar or club. They speak much too loudly, having no qualms about fighting with either fellow passengers or someone on the phone. If, God help you, you have to take the train after one in the morning, you’ll get the ones who seem to think they’re at a casting call for the next Jersey Shore. Cat calls, douchey attempts at flirting, and all around slutting and toolery are rampant.
Unfortunately, these antics are not always confined to the evening trains (though they are much more likely…you can buy beer and cocktails on the platform then). For example, this morning a group of four people (two women, two men) got into a boisterous bickering match about, I kid you not, which of the women had shown more “attitude” during a conversation about whether or not the train car was full.
A) Who cares?
B) You’re both in seats now, so who cares?
C) It’s eight in the morning, so WHO CARES?
I may need to invest in a quality pair of headphones.