No more conversational commutes
By Jessica Berget, Opinions Editor
I take public transit almost every day of my life. It is how I get to school, work, social events, and generally how I get around anywhere and everywhere. Taking public transit everyday means I am exposed to the worsts of society; creepy men asking me what grade I’m in, drunk people spewing racist and sexist ideologies, people with bad B.O. However, no matter how awful these people may be, I think the worst of all are the people who try to start conversations on public transit.
Look, I know people who do this are just trying to be nice, and I appreciate that they’re being friendly, but I really cannot be bothered to carry on a conversation with a complete stranger on the bus. It’s like I’m being held conversationally hostage. These conversations that I feel forced into cut into my “wistfully staring out the window while I listen to Elliott Smith” time, and that time is precious to me.
The worst part about these commute conversations is that you cannot get away. You are stuck sitting next to that person and making awkward small talk for your entire commute. Unless you jump off the bus or the SkyTrain you must painfully endure the socialization of public transportation. Additionally, being in a situation like this is much worse on the bus than it is the SkyTrain. On the train you can get up and change train cars or pretend that you arrived at your stop and just wait two minutes for the next train to come (I have done this many times before). However, on the bus, you are truly stuck.
Most of the time, these people talk so much it stops being a conversation at a certain point, and it turns into a lecture. Pro-tip: If the person you’re talking to has only given one-word responses, they probably aren’t interested in the conversation, or you’ve been talking so much they can’t get a word in edge-wise, and they’re too polite to say so. Be aware of the person’s reactions. Do they seem genuinely interested in the conversation? Or are they just being nice? If it’s the latter, you should probably stop.
The next time you decide to talk to a stranger on public transportation, maybe don’t talk to someone who is reading, studying, or has earphones in. Those are the key social cues of people who do not want to talk. If a person seems genuinely interested in talking and keeps the conversation moving, then by all means talk. If it just seems like they want to get the conversation over with or not talk at all, take the hint.