Murphy’s law of public transportation states that if it can manage to nickel and dime the shit out of you and make you wait through endless delays while still providing a safe haven for the homeless to spread that one stench they all seem to have, then it will. But, believe it or not there’s a light at the end of that train tunnel. Nowadays, we’re equipped with techniques and technology that can keep us sane so we don’t murder everyone around us the next time an errant lock of hair brushes against the nape of our neck in a crowded subway car. Or, the next time the most homeless, homeless guy we’ve ever seen requests that we look into his crystal balls because he swears he’s a fortune-teller. How do you keep sane while using public transportation?
Photo credit: Cem K. (iyiinsan), Flickr
…stalking ex-girlfriends, pirating your favorite HBO series that rhymes with "tame love bones," ignoring the friend request from that weird guy from the party last weekend, reading ridiculous guy-oriented list articles, oversharing TMI-worthy life events 140 characters at a time, getting unintentional porn pop-ups, “accidentally” clicking on those pop-ups…g-damn, the Internet is a great way to pass the time!
Facebook, Hulu and oh yeah…Guyism.
Photo credit: kyz, Flickr
Oh, the sweet sonic bliss of music. It can take an otherwise harrowing journey through the depths of the overcrowded public transportation system and turn it into…a harrowing journey with a really good soundtrack. Just don’t fall asleep and miss your stop.
AC/DC – "Rock N’ Roll Train"
Photo credit: Horia Varlan, Flickr
If occupying your ears with music takes your mind off that endless round-trip commute, then you’ll be delighted by games occupying your eyes and hands as well.
Anything, as long as it has re-playability and doesn’t just own your soul because you’re obsessed with it. But be aware: if you’re using an actual handheld gaming device and not a smartphone you’ll look like a nerdmaster supreme.
Photo credit: Leo Chuoi, Flickr
I certainly don’t mean socializing with the people around you (though that can be fun if they’re on the way back from a drunken night out). I mean using your mobile device to talk with your friends via text, BBM, Gchat or (if you still think you have it in you, gulp) a phone call.
You know you should be doing it anyway, so why not make a weekly call to grandma while you’re en route? That’s a good lad.
Photo credit: Joi, Flickr
One of the worst things about public trans is sucking at it. Do you find yourself always showing up a minute late, dealing with dickhead transportation employees or looking up the right train times from the wrong stations? You’re not achieving your full potential in the wild world of getting to and from shit.
Find the best parking spot near your station, know whether to take the express or the local subway, don’t ever be late for the bus; these fundamentals are crucial to your success as a professional commuter.
Photo credit: Qfamily, Flickr
You shouldn’t be surprised when the most grizzled, bearded homeless woman you’ve ever beheld shuffles by or when someone rolls their dumb baby’s stroller over your foot. Accepting the fact that taking the train, subway or bus isn’t a slow, haphazard death sentence and is just a part of your life will make it much easier when these incidents occur.
Meditation…and avoiding the bathrooms at all cost. The smell alone could kill anyone’s spirit.
Photo credit: emifaulk, Flickr
I know…you’re exhausted. Why don’t you get a little power nap in so’s you don’t fall asleep at 7 o’clock like a bouncing baby boy who got tuckered out after eating a spoonful of mashed yams?
Put those headphones on, set your wake-up alarm to "vibrate" and block out all the strange sounds, sights and smells of your current hell for a nice little nappie-poo.
Photo credit: basykes, Flickr
You know there’s a bunch of stuff you’ve been putting off that needs to be taken care of, so use this everyday living nightmare of public transportation to your advantage by taking care of any online or offline chores you can.
If you have unfinished work, check your inbox. If you want to cook tonight, browse some recipe ideas on the way home. If you need a salve for that new rash, then order it with next-day shipping.
Photo credit: Baddog_, Flickr
All aboard the beer train! As with so many other things in life, alcohol makes it just a little more bearable.
An Olde English 800, because it will F your S up.
Photo credit: Bitterjug, Flickr
(Originally published on June 15, 2012.)