Public Transport: The Impossible Challenge

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I fucking hate people in public transport. There is no other way to describe it: Most people in the subway are making me furious and I almost forget my inner peace and all that mindful breathing and shit and I would love to yell the crap out of them.

BUT I DON’T
because you know violence is not an option and I am trying to be a better person and all that stuff.

However, I would like to discuss what exactly is problematic in public transportation. Whether people are blocking the way, talking loud or pushing others in the train: Most cases are caused by utter mindlessness and that is what upsets me the most. To me, it is very frustrating since I am usually struggling between bursting into a rant or meditating my angry ass down while others obviously don’t give a single fuck about their behaviour. ZERO.

Here are the Top 10 of people in public transport that upset me starting with things I can kind of understand to things I have zero sympathies with :

  • #10: Regular drunk people
    Ok, they usually don’t upset me and just make me sad.
  • #9: Smelly people
    Whether it’s due a very bad snack choice, alcohol, personal hygiene or health condition. I usually understand it and simply find me another place to stand/sit.
  • #8: People sharing their argument with the entire train
    I do have some little understanding for it because sometimes you are just very emotional and you can’t keep it down. However, after 20min you should try to find a better place to solve your situation.
  • #7: Drunk party people
    Ok, I get it. You want to have the time of your life and this is why you chuck down cheap booze. Fine, I’ve been there too. Just make sure you don’t bother others too much.
  • #6: People taking several seats for no reason
  • #5: People sharing their music with the entire train
  • #4: People blocking in the way by standing
  • #3: People blocking the way by walking slow AF
  • #2: Big (school) groups because they are pretty much a mix of everything
  • #1: People who are pushing

Among these things, you have different motivations and reasons. While some things occur out of simple unawareness or conditions that you just can’t change (I would say that applies to #10 – #6) others were based on a selfish decision. In the following, I would like to explain what exactly my problem is with my top 5.

Sharing your music with the entire train

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I get it. You are either in the belief that your taste in music is some kind of unique cultural experience that has to be spread or you need attention. Whatever it is for that moment you are placing your own needs above the needs of everyone else in the train. This is selfish. I highly doubt that anyone is unaware of the volume of their music if they turn it on full blast without headphones. Like bitch pls.

Blocking the way by standing

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It’s just straight up mindless. Most people I have encountered were not blocking the way because they decided to do so or because they are mean. I am talking about the ones who get on the train, stop there immediately so everyone behind them can’t get inside. I am usually not judging the individual person but the fact that they fail to have a look around them sucks. My wish is people could realize that it’s not enough just to look after yourself. After all, it’s a shared space and mindfulness is important. I don’t think it’s too much to say: “Hey, I am not the only person using public transport. Let’s make sure others get in as well.”

Blocking the way by walking slow AF

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Get on the train or get out- easy as that. I have no understanding for people who have to do a million things during that process. To make this clear: I am not talking about people who are slow due health conditions. I am talking about people who are trying to extend a conversation while getting out or people who are sucked up into their phone screens and try to read a BuzzFeed article while getting in or any other activity that is slowing down their pace.
GET IT TOGETHER! It’s a.) careless and b.) affecting everyone behind you. Some people need a seat due health condition, some really need to get that train and can’t wait for you to finish whatever dafuq you are doing. Again it’s about you placing your own needs above the needs of everyone else around you. Thank you for nothing.

Big groups

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Just sum up the stuff above.

Pushing others

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So listen, I am probably just as pissed as you are but dammit I get my shit together and don’t physically attack others ok? So dafuq is your justification for using violence instead of words?! Like no. Just no.

I am a really angry woman but even I avoid pushing people as good as I can. Before I get too angry I try to convince myself that each and every annoying situation is due unawareness. On good days I talk to the people, explain my impression and hope for a compromise.
Sometimes you just don’t have the energy or nerves for mindful interaction and that’s ok. On bad days I try to make the train ride less shitty by listening to music or focus on something nicer.  Is the situation really worth ruining my entire day? I doubt it.
There is a difference between embracing your anger and clinging to it. While I do accept the legitimacy of my bad mood I also focus on the fact this annoying situation will be over at some point.

Cherish your exit of that train, maybe curse but you made it without getting into a fight! DOPE!

Re-learning how to listen

I have the impression that most people have forgotten how to listen in a sincere way and I am probably the person who needs to re-learn it the most. Usually, I am more eager to shut the discussion down than listen to the other person. (Except Fuckbois, like nobody has the time to listen to fuckboi arguments, k?)

I am talking about discussion on topics that matter to me. A discussion where arguments from both sides are heard (heard not agreed on) is more constructive and productive than me insisting that every argument apart from mine are total bullshit. I mean I can listen first and still explain afterwards why I do not agree or see them as invalid, right?

BUT DAMN IT IS SO HARD TO LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO ARE THINKING WOMEN ARE NOT OPPRESSED ANYMORE BECAUSE THEY HAVE THAT ONE FRIEND WHO IS A MANAGER OR WHATEVER THAT MAKES AS MUCH MONEY AS THEM AND GLOBAL WARMING IS ALSO FAKE BECAUSE IT WAS SNOWING LAST WINTER LIKE ARE YOU SERIOUS?!?!?!

(Awkward silence)

I am a bit disappointed in myself that I became over the last 5 years such a bad listener because for more than half of my life I did nothing but listening to others (parents, friends, media). But during this period listening was tightly linked to obeying and the demand of not talking, so I guess this is why it became so difficult for me now.

WHY SHOULD I LISTEN TO PEOPLE I DISAGREE WITH?

Even though I am usually very convinced that my point of view is the right one, it is also very likely that I am missing out a very important detail or that my view is only working out for a small part of society and not for everyone. Additional opinions are an addition to the complexity of a discourse and they complete the overall impression.

Also, how am I supposed to change anything when I have never gained an understanding of the opposing position? Maybe their opinion is based on a misunderstanding or lack of experience. Maybe my opinion is based on a narrowed perspective. Wars might be won by fighting forcefully but sustainable change comes by opening conversations where both sides are heard.

Don’t get me wrong, I know all this and still end up flipping tables and yelling during the discussion. I am really, really bad at this. However, I have found a few tricks to keep myself from screaming and insulting for at least some time.

1.)    Tell yourself that the opposition is not a group of assholes. At least not straight at the beginning! You can still say that after evaluating their arguments.

2.)    Only interrupt if you want to ask for vocabulary explanation otherwise shut the fuck up. Try to get what they mean by using words such as “we”, “all”, “they” etc. This helps you to understand the argumentation.

3.)    Don’t complain about weak rhetoric. Just don’t.

4.)    Use “problematic” instead of “bullshit” because this is what you mean. Their argument is PROBLEMATIC or UNCLEAR and not – I repeat NOT BULLSHIT. Don’t be rude just because you disagree.

5.)    Make clear that you do agree with parts of the argumentation if this is the case. Rather than focusing on the differences, mark the similarities and use this as a starting point for a conversation.

6.)    Ask about the sources of “facts” and try to believe that “personal experience” is a valid one, just point out that you might have had different ones. (See point 4)

All these points sound super easy in theory but I usually fail after 30min. All I can do is practising it again and again with the hope that instead of 30min I might last 45min at some point. I like to believe that this routine will help me to become a better listener or at least make me simply step out of the discussion without being all aggressive.  Small steps my friends, small steps.

I hate a lot and that’s a problem

Being negative is something I’ve been really good at since … forever.

I fucking hate fake ass bitches, I hate bananas, I hate assholes.

Saying that I hate something (or someone) and neglecting it has always been very easy for me until I realized what kind of consequences it had:
My hatred doesn’t change shit.

Not that I’ve ever planned to change bananas but every time I encounter an ideology that I hate, I became aware of the limitation of my own attitude and refusal of engagement.

Does a racist really change his troublesome attitude because I spit in his face and shout “I fucking hate your stupid dumb ass racist comment”? Out of experience, I can tell you: No, that person won’t change. It most likely only fuels their own hatred towards anyone disagreeing. Yupp, that is the point when I start hating myself for hating so much and begun to differentiate between

a.) what I really hate (Is it the individual, their behaviour or their attitude)

b.) what I really feel (is it truly anger or is it more a disappointment, fear or hurt pride?)

c.) what I really want to be different

Call it overcomplicating but there are a few things that I care more about than the convenience of ending a conflict by declaring “I hate this shit and will hereby not bother to deal with it!”.

I’m still pretty bad at it and often fail to engage people or burst in a total rant before I am even able to reflect what truly bothers me. Yeah, hate that.