Sunday, July 29, 2007

Reflections: You see all kinds on the transport

Where I live and work in Melbourne, I am fortunate to have excellent access to public transport. Not only is it close, and relatively convenient, but it is also cheap in comparison to owning a car in Australia.

Having said that, I have continued my weirdo magnet tendencies here in Australia, except instead of attracting the oddest of students (I am going to touch on that) in a later post, I attract the oddest of transport users. Some have been relatively harmless, like the guy who cleaned his toes with rubbing alcohol (they stunk to high heaven, you will note I said relatively harmless) and the girl who smiled at me and then insisted on doing things with her hair with stuff from an enormous bag for the rest of the trip -- all over me. There was one guy who may have been harmful had I stuck around to find out; he was chewing his tongue and staring at me, and he broke the cardinal rule of transport as we were getting off at the same stop (not coincidentally, I don't think) -- unless forced by space, thou shalt not touch thy fellow travellers. I hightailed it out of there, and washed my hands vigorously before touching anything.

Then there are the amusing types, like the cheerful drunk who ran a poll on what 'direct' meant in relation to train lines and couldn't believe I hand found the big word in his word puzzle within seconds of looking at it (I am well trained, I have been doing those things since I was a kid, and the word was 'occurrence').

The most interesting case, though, must have had his poles slightly mixed, because he missed me and accosted my friend. He said he had "Just had a revelation, and it felt amazing, and could he tell [my friend] about it" (I have to confess that I was tempted to tell the guy to sleep it off and he would feel better in the morning, but I didn't have the heart to break him). Despite my friend suggesting politely that he find someone else to tell, this gentleman told my friend that:

"He had finally fucking found Jesus as his fucking lord and saviour, and that he now knew he needed to be a fucking good bloke, and not be a prick to everyone or treat them like shit, and not be a mean c**t [yes, there are words even I won't use], and just fucking love his fellow man".

Yup. That was an interesting night. Fortunately this one happened as we got off the train, and the guy turned the other way to what we did, or I might have burst from trying not to laugh.

So, sometimes you get freaks, sometimes you get rude people, and sometimes you get the religious. While I am glad to have the use of a friend's car for the next few weeks (though it will only be used when the transport it not super convenient), riding the transport is always more interesting than sitting in a traffic jam!

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