Why People Who Ride Trains Are Dumb

If you're like me, you take public transportation to work because it's easier, faster, less stressful, and far less expensive. Then there's the stupid people who make for hours of entertainment over the course of each month. Seriously, watching people at the train station is like a study in human stupidity.

Now, this is a little different than most articles you'll see on this site. Rather than pick apart and examine a single idea in detail, I'm going to toss three at you at once, because they come together in such a nice tableau. It's not the last you'll hear of stupid people on trains; not by a longshot. These are behaviours that only influence the person taking the action, and as such they aren't so much ways people suck as ways people are just that fucking stupid.

First, there's the mad dash to the train. The train leaves on time, so it's important to be there on time. When the Conductor calls the one minute warning, people rightly run for the train door to make sure they get there before it closes. Then there's the people who make a mad dash for the platform before the train is anywhere in sight. It's like they're afraid they won't get a seat if they aren't on the platform waiting for the train to pull in. I've heard of "hurry up and wait," but this takes the cake.

Alright, so you're on the train. You're five minutes away from your destination. What do you do? ...That's a pretty stupid question, right? Apparently not. About five minutes before the final stop on the train line, people start lining up at the door! They abandon their comfortable seats and ability to relax, in favour of standing up on a floor that sways back and forth as the train turns. Why do they do this? To make sure they're off the train within the first three seconds instead of the first fifteen seconds. Because twelve seconds makes a whole fucking world of difference.

I'd like to pause on this topic for a moment. How shitty does your life have to be for you to go out of your way to inconvenience yourself to save a functionally irrelevant amount of time? Even if you're the very last person off the train, it still only takes a little over a minute to disembark. If it's that important for you to save those 60 seconds, take a seat near the fucking door!

Finally, we come to my favourite part of train station stupidity: the mad dash to the parking lot. Odds are there are too many people and not enough exits for the parking lot to really function properly. There are two ways to deal with this:

  1. Run for your car in a vain attempt to be the first vehicle to the mouth of the parking lot, only to find out that the people who got picked up instead of driving themselves have all beat you to it because they've been lined up at the train door for fifteen minutes.
  2. Sit in the comfort of your car, turn on the radio, and relax. Give the madhouse a few minutes to clear out, then drive out comfortably and relaxed.

Two guesses what everybody does from that list...

Now, the train station I use has a secondary parking lot across the street, because they recognized the need for more parking spaces. We even have a traffic light. The light has about a one minute cycle during train disembarkment hours, meaning it's commuter-friendly when it comes to timing; we don't have to wait very long for it to turn green. Wouldn't you know there are people who run across the road at the first sign of a break in oncoming traffic?

I think those might be the stupidest people who ride the train. They literally risk their lives for the chance to save what usually amounts to less than ten seconds, and maybe, if they're lucky, a car-length or two in line. Your television isn't going to abandon you if you get home fifteen seconds later.

All these things stem from one common source: impatience. People are so damned eager to get wherever they're going that they'll go to extraordinary measures to save a miniscule amount of time. Everyone needs to learn how to relax, and take in what's around them.

It's not a bad thing to take your time getting somewhere. You arrive less stressed, more relaxed, and probably smelling better from not having spent the last hour sweating from the physical exertion you only get when you're running late. Plan ahead and leave a little early to give yourself extra time. Trust me, you'll thank me later for it.

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