Let’s get the positive stuff out of the way first. I like trains, provided that I can get a seat. I especially like long train journeys in first class – I get a reasonable cup of tea, a fairly peaceful journey and I can read the paper.
I hate the underground. It’s smelly, stifling and there’s nothing to look at except for the armpits of ones fellow travellers as they grasp the hand rails (there’s never room to sit).
I hate buses but, since I live beyond the reach of the underground, they’re a necessary nuisance. I particularly dislike many of my fellow passengers and, in particular, the spineless wimps who put up with hooliganism meekly – or, worse yet, thank me when I don’t.
Strangely enough, I don’t particularly hate the inconsiderate ‘yoofs’ who do so much to ensure that bus rides are as unpleasant as possible. I was yoofish once and, whilst I never graffitied or listened to my music at disturbing volumes (mainly because I didn’t have the means), I’m aware that I was probably quite unpleasant in my own way.
No, I hate the spineless wimps who won’t stand up for peace, quiet and good manners. Their excuse is inevitably that they don’t want to get stabbed or happyslapped. What? And I do? I’m hardly built like a boxer myself – I’m in no position to defend myself from a knife or, worse, a gun. The difference is that I have a healthy sense of perspective and I realise that the chances of being attacked are tiny. Let’s face it, if they weren’t then such attacks would cease to be newsworthy. The streets will, I promise you, be far safer when everybody firmly (but politely) learns to say ‘excuse me, but would you please stop doing that (whatever it is)’. Trust me. It works. But if you see me doing it and you’re grateful, please don’t thank me. Just remember not to be so much of a coward yourself next time.
Most of all though, I hate Ken Livingstone for giving free travel to yoofs – come on. Make them pay like everybody else, and put the extra revenue into paying conductors – life will be so much more pleasant for everyone who has to use public transport.