Pet Hates: London Transport

No. 1

On the Tube, men who mark their territory by spreading their knees so wide, you have less room in the seat next to them, than entitled to by train designer.


Wait for the train to brake and, at the appropriate moment, allow yourself to be thrown as violently as possible against their offending thigh, with a well-timed high heel suddenly digging into their foot.  At the outrage on their face, smile naively with an imperceptible eyelash flutter and say, as loudly as possible, “Oh, sorry.”

The invader will retreat into his portion of the seat.  Works every time.

No. 2

Women with long hair, standing with their backs to you on a crowded train, who keep tossing their heads, whipping your mouth with their mane.


Make a show of spitting and coughing out the offending split ends, then demonstratively wipe your lips with the back of your hand. Works 50% of the time.

No. 3

Individuals sitting next to you who wear enough perfume to fill the auditorium of the Royal Opera House.


Start doing Irish setter impersonations by sticking your nose up in the air and sniffing in air with a swishing sound effect.  Follow up immediately with a couple of sneezes and a throaty cough. Do NOT look at the person at any time during this procedure.  We are still awaiting clinical test results on this one.

No. 4


Dream solution:

A quick snip at the white earphone wires, with a pair of sharp, gleaming manicure scissors.

Realistic solution:

Start staring intently at their ear next to you.  Try and keep it up without blinking for as long as possible.  Success rate resulting in said creatures turning down the volume: 30%


City men discussing stocks and shares with their Hong Kong office on their mobiles at 7.30 a.m. GMT within earshot of the entire carriage.  This experiment is particularly successful if the finance geek in question is conducting his business transactions in a foreign language you just happen to speak.


Listen attentively to the conversation whilst pretending to be dozing.  At the appropriate moment “wake up” and shout at the businessman in the same foreign language, “No! No! No! Tell him NOT to buy those shares! Bad idea!” I only tried this one once, but the objective was achieved.  Within seconds, the City man dropped the tone of his voice to say, “I’ll call you later”, then promptly disconnected the call and replaced the phone into his breast pocket, finally enabling me to catch up on my sleep.

No. 6

Women talking on their mobiles for an entire bus ride, discussing mind witheringly boring subjects like shopping, boyfriends or holidays.  Why does no one ever hold an interesting conversation on the bus?


Still working on that one.

No. 7

Women who get on the bus, late at night, and who think it is ever so cute to toss their hair and giggle at the driver while foraging at the bottom of their oversized bags (what can they possibly be carrying? Chick lit volumes are not that large) for their Oyster cards, holding  up the bus for everyone else who wants to get home.


Train the driver to say, “Get your act together, love, or get off the bus.”

Or, heck, just ban all women under thirty from public transport.

Scribe Doll

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9 Responses to Pet Hates: London Transport

  1. Christine says:

    I laughed out loud!

    Did you read this story from this side of the pond? After a woman embarked on a train in Los Angeles and proceeded for 16 hours to talk on her cell phone in a designated “quiet car,” the woman was forcibly removed from the train by Amtrak officials in Salem, Oregon. The other passengers cheered! As a fellow passenger said, “What could she possibly talk about for 16 hours?!”

  2. Sally Vaughan says:

    One of your best!!! Probably because I have suffered similarly!!! Especially the ipods scenario. And I loved your response to the business men discussing ‘confidential’ (?!) matters on the train albeit in a foreign language – I would have loved to have seen their reaction when you replied in their language!!! Salx

  3. scribedoll says:

    Ha! You’re on. I hereby pick up the gauntlet and rise to the challenge.

  4. adrian hallchurch says:

    Hey, scribedoll, your challenge for next week is to write about things you really like to see and hear on the tube, at the theatre …… now that’s going to make you look hard at stuff! ‘Pet Likes’

  5. simon roberts says:

    No. 6: dealing with mindless phone conversations.
    Solution: jam yourself up against the offender and fall asleep, your head leaning ever perilously close to their shoulder or – better – lap. Dribbling optional.

  6. Donald Mills says:

    A fine list.

    As far as Number six goes, you might want to try joining the conversation and rapidly taking it over entirely. If your improvisational skills are up to the task you could succeed in both shutting down their chatter and making their subjects more interesting at the same time.

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