I’ve always been a transportation snob. Blessed with growing up in the outer suburbs, there’s simply never been a pressing need to face hoards of disgruntled passengers crammed like tinned sardines. I thoroughly enjoy sitting in my heated, clean(ish) car. Music blaring to my heart’s content. Koala’s falling out of trees around me as a result of excessive petrol fumes. I love my car.
Until last week, when my friend and I decided to venture into the Emerging Writer’s Festival in Melbourne via the train. Mon does this all the time so she was fairly blasé about the whole situation. Myself? I was a fumbling mess.
At first I was excited, kinda like first-day-at-school excited. Then I saw a rat. No, not an ex-lover or one of the senior managers from work. A real life, furry, disease- ridden rodent, sitting right on the stairs we had to walk up to the train platform. He went into a little hole in the bush which Mon thought was extremely cute. I suggested a crackfox may live in there. (‘The Mighty Boosh’ reference for anyone that did not know there are foxes addicted to crack out there. An extremely funny and educational show. )
I then had to buy my ticket which fortunately did not produce any rats, but did have a large amount of holes and buttons, leaving me to stand there looking like an inexperienced lover. “It ate my change!” “Wrong hole, idiot.” Ticket in hand, I stepped out onto the platform eagerly awaiting the train to arrive. “I should have worn my travelling suit, maybe this won’t be so bad afterall !”, I whimsically proclaimed. Mon simply gave me a look.
But my romantic notions of a 1940’s steam train quickly vanished. Up pulled the new and improved version, coated in graffiti. Different coloured brandings of kids who wear pants ten times too big. Some of it was actually kind of beautiful, like a Matisse in the ghetto. But the hollow-eyed passengers aboard the train? They were not so beautiful.
Tradies, drinks in hand and mouthes like pirate’s whores. Old men asleep, drooling on fellow passengers. Scantily clad girls, their dirty secrets exposed under the train’s harsh fluro lighting. A few hippies smelling as a result of their strict no deodorant policy, and the array of animals that had taken residency in their dreadlocks.
I reluctantly took a seat whilst Mon cheerily pointed out that there was a chup-a-chup, can and banana beneath her seat. I replied that it was the things we couldn’t see that worried me.
Just as we’d settled into our cracked, mustard-yellow seats, we heard yelling from across the tracks. It seemed a train had driven straight past a young gentleman who had his t-shirt tied around his head, Jim Beam can in one hand and a particular fondness for dropping the ‘c-bomb’. What a cunt. Mon and I decided it would be particularly fun to stick our fingers up at the raving lunatic to see what he’d do. He promptly exploded into a series of expletives aimed directly at us. We were secretly chuffed, and shitting ourselves. Mon said between her teeth ” Fuck! I think he’s actually going to jump the tracks and kill us”. Fortunately 2 long minutes later, the train doors closed and we took off, fingers up at the Jim Beam Loony.
I told Mon that I couldn’t believe I’d actually considered catching the train to Uni when I start in July. Mon, all nonchalant, agreed that public transport is fucked but also mentioned a few benefits.
- Dirty, smelly, disease-ridden, drug-induced co-passengers
- Increased possibility of being mugged,raped,drugged,stabbed
- Impossible timetable that is never adhered to by stupid trains
- The need to wear clothing that is drool/junky repellant
- Bleeding eardrums caused by people talking to me who think I care
- 100% chance of being infected with Influenza
- High chance of a Rat Attack resulting in RBF(rat bite fever, yes it’s real-google it)
- Possiblity of vomiting on canoodling, groping couple next to me
- Possibility of being killed by junkies (although I may provoke)
- High possibility of throwing shoe @ pervert tradies resulting in train carriage turmoil
The ability to drink all day long @ University
I’ll catch the train, it’s a no-brainer.