This Neurotic Life: Commuting by Cody McGraw

To the surprise of no one, commuting makes you a terrible, terrible person. Even the prettiest of princesses can't escape its germ-filled clap trap and it makes the already jerky even more jerksome. However, it's something inescapable in a metropolis setting and one needs to learn to suck it up and accept the anger issues it causes.

Things like getting really angry over a delay is a complete waste of energy. Yes, it's as enraging as someone eating your hangover food, and no I am not convinced all those passenger assistant alarms being rung are actual emergencies, but we just have to deal with it and remind myself there's nothing that can be done at that very moment. Since you may be appalled how calm, cool and collective I've become I will say I have simply learned to deal with it and accept that taking transit sucks. There will always be people who think it's OK to talk that early in the morning, those who sway into you with the motion of the train; those morbidly obese people will always be blocking the exit, and no one is a huger bitch than that woman who announces each stops. Man, that lady must have more divorces under her belt than Larry King — but I digress.

I like to try to avoid touching the poles as much as I can. Despite being told countless times they have a special, state of the art germ-resistant coating, I still don't think they're safe from the coughs and dick hands of people who can't seem to figure that shit out. It's not like I'm a germaphobe (though I wouldn't be surprised if you thought so if you're a reader of this column); I just don't trust people's hygiene. I've seen a lady get a refreshing morning sneeze in the face, people clipping their toenails (because we know THAT couldn't wait until later) and even a homeless man finding a use for the Toronto Sun after taking a huge dump on the subway car.

But I have to say our main problem as a city is manners. Obviously everything we learned in grade one goes right out the window as we push and shove, call each other assholes and kick newspapers out of peoples hands just because. Like I told the man who looked like Whoopi Goldberg this morning, we are all going to get off the fucking streetcar. Relax. Let people exit before you enter, never sit directly beside me on a three-seater when the other seat is open and please oh PLEASE keep charging the subway doors so you slam into the train upon not making it. Makes my day every time. We may never have the perfect transit system but let's make it a little easier on ourselves.


This Neurotic Life is an original column for The Little Red Umbrella about the trials and tribulations of being neurotic and is written by our Managing Editor Cody McGraw. See more editions here.

Photo by Carmen Cheung

Cody McGraw is many things but the thing you can actually call him to his face is the Managing Editor of The Little Red Umbrella. See more posts from him here or follow him on Twitter (@cody_mcgraw).


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