Monday, December 08, 2008

Social Observations in London, Pt 42

It is not the done thing to own a car in London, and consequently one ends up on public transport fairly often. Certain rules of course develop, and when they are not followed it’s rather bothersome for all. Talking to the person next to you on the bus, for instance, and this morning’s example:

The Seated Wriggler. Let me explain. In order to avoid having to ever speak to strangers on buses or trains, there is a system for indicating when one would like to stand up and pass those who are in your way in order to alight (for example when one is sitting by the window on a bus). The system is that shortly before wanting to move, one sits upright, folds one’s newspaper, picks up a bag, clears one's throat, or generally wriggles about in situ to indicate that one is about to require the adjacent person to shift.

This morning however, I was seated briefly next to a woman who was engaged in all of these activities, putting me on a high alert anticipating her move, without her actually having any intention of doing so. Indeed she was still happily seated on the bus after I had alighted. Her behaviour of course prevented me from concentrating on my Private Eye. Had I been on the bus for much longer I should have been forced to demand she either get off the bus or jolly well sit still! Very bad form!

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