I love Commuting

posted in: Europe | 6

The commuting journey: that daily trip usually done with over crowded, warm and, in the evening, a little smelly trains. They are often nicknamed, with much love, “hope journey”.

Hope for an on time train, for the air-con to work, for a seat to sit on, for no strikes, for the next person to use deodorant… And we all know these are way too many hopes to be all satisfied at the same time.

I love commuting: picture for pinterest

This daily trip home-work-home, even though it’s probably the most common way to travel, is really not much appreciated. It’s shared with many, but rarely the beloved ones. It’s decently cheap, but we commuters always complain about the inconvenient price/quality value.

But there are always few good points in everything. I’ll talk about these later on, but just to mention one, we all know that traveling opens your mind. And commuters really see all kind of stuff: black and blue leopard print, for instance.

A guy gives the back to the camera, while sitting on a bench in a train station, talking with someone.
An anonymous exhibitionist in an anonymous train station.

Commuters issues: hearing, seeing, smelling and personal space

Sometimes we laugh, sometimes we would like to punch the person sitting next to us. But you know, commuting happens early in the morning, when many are still in that pre-coffee state of mind when everything, EVERYTHING, is annoying: the delays, the heat, the cold, the nudge, the sun in the eyes, the blinder that is stocked, the open window, the wind from the window, the loud voice….

There, the loud voice on the train. A category of people that should be sent to the last circle of hell. They are those that on the 8 o’clock train are already well awake and talk on the phone as if they would like the train driver to listen, or that start chitchatting with the ones sitting next to them.

I don't like morning people. Or morning. Or people [design by thatladyfromeurope.com]

Noises are not the only problem: let’s talk about smells. I’ll leave out the most obvious ones, and focus on the guy eating a tasty sushi dish before getting home, or whoever left kindly behind half an apple for the next passenger, and also the lady that ate a fancy salad. At 8.30 in the morning.

Hungry commuters: a left behind half apple and a a guy in a suit eating a sushi dish.
Hunger gets you at any time. And sometimes is stays on the train.

But who am I to judge what and when other people eat?

As an Italian, though, I feel my duty to give an opinion on the esthetic choice of this big guy with t-shirt and tattoos full of skulls and heavy metal details. The socks with the fuchsia pink marijuana leaves… no, that’s a mistake.

commuters waiting for something, show off their socks and shoes with colorful pairings.
Shoes and socks of an alien fashion.

But don’t worry, the metal brother is in good company. Because the issue is certainly not the metal! Even with a suit you can fall into the wrong sock problem. Or polka dots shoe…

Commuters are tired, we all know that. But please don’t take up so much space! It’s pointless to pretend you’re sleeping, not even a contortionist could relax in that position!

Classic commuting scene: commuters asleep on trains, in the most uncomfortable ositions ever
Tiredness is a common issue between commuters. As back pain and stiff neck are.

Positive aspects of the daily commuting

As I briefly mentioned before, in all this drama there are still few good points. First and most important for me: time.
It seems a contradiction: commuting is both wasted and gained time. In that half an hour when I can’t do anything else than be trapped in the train, I realize I have half an hour of “free time”. And I take out my beloved books. And I read.

Another thing I like about commuting is the random surprise: a free product given at the train station by promoters.
I’ve lost count of how many items I’ve been given in the years of my commuting life: drinks, yogurt, milk, chocolate (for Easter!)… even a deodorant! I know there was a message for all the commuters behind that deodorant….

Free roducts received in these years of commuting: bottles, cans, yogurt, chocolateand other delicious surprises.
Delicious surprises

And the last and most beautiful thing: the colours of the morning and the evening, even in the not very romantic train stations.

Waiting for trains twice per day, it's easy to see romantic sunsets, colorful sunrises and winter thick fog.
Romantic sunsets, colorful sunrises and winter thick fog

Boredom

Traveling every single day can be boring, especially if the commuting time is long and there are frequent delays. But working for the railways might not be much better. I ask a round of applause for the bored clerk that was trying his best to entertain himself without causing too much troubles to the passengers: how many typos can I speak in, before someone noticed that Torino P.N. is NEVER correctly spelled?

Train signs with multiple spelling mistakes.
I phone a friend.

All the images in this page are owned by the author and therefore protected by copyright.
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Shutterstock and Dreamstime.



6 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Ambra

    I really enjoyed reading your article!
    I’m also Italian, and even though I live in Germany, how to forget that one-of-a-kind smell of Trenitalia trains? ahh sweet memories.
    xx Ambra

    • The Lady
      The Lady

      Thank you! You’re right, smells can be a real issue on those trains! 😅

  2. Avatar
    Kristina

    What an enjoyable read. I catch the train every morning to work during rush hour and everyone has thay dazed look, just looking down at their phones. Its fascinating 😀

    • The Lady
      The Lady

      Yes, “fascinating” is a nice way to put it! 😀

  3. Avatar
    Karletta

    I was fascinated by the concept of hope journey. I hadn’t heard that before. Commuting was just one of the reasons I transitioned to online work. But I love that you’ve highlighted the positive. How we view our experiences can really change it. This is such a great everyday example

    • The Lady
      The Lady

      Thank you! Well, there’s almost always a bright side of a bad story. And as much as I’d like to travel less time every day, I must admit this commuting life gives me “thrills” 😀

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