Does everyone who steps onto the tube have a manners lobotomy?

Yes, I can see you picking your nose over there...
Publish date:
May 29, 2012
etiquette, manners, the tube

Good manners cost nothing people!

Are manners dead? Well on the London tube network it would seem they are extinct.

Exhibit A (can you tell I used to be a solicitor?): After a few glasses of wine on a Friday evening with a friend I boarded the Underground. Across from us sat a well groomed, suited man when out of nowhere he projectile vomits everywhere - dangerously close to us and my new, suede ankle boots. All credit to the guy, who had obviously had a few drinks, he held his cool and didn’t even flinch, maybe he did this every Friday night. But what happened next made my stomach turn, he didn't say sorry or even acknowledge the rest of us on the carriage who he nearly covered in puke. Surely he would get off at the next stop where he could vomit to his hearts content without causing a fuss to his fellow passengers? No, he stays. And carries on throwing up. Right. Next. To. Me.

Exhibit B: The very next day I'm on a packed commuter tube and miraculously I find a seat. It’s 8.30am, and a heavily pregnant women gets on. I look around at a carriage packed full of seated suited men who blankly look to the floor - because if you look at the floor then no one will see your shame. No one budges. So despite carrying enough bags to weigh down a packhorse, I stand up and give the woman my seat.

Exhibit C: That same day while heading home I was mowed down by a woman who bumped into me at the station. I didn't mind the bump. What made me mad was she didn't say ‘sorry’ or acknowledge my existence as she disappeared into the crowd. I doubt she would knock someone to the ground in the outside world and move on without saying anything.

Yes, the tube is a bit of a chore but what is it about it that makes people totally forget manners? Does going underground suck out common courtesy? Maybe tube users have developed a bubble of protection so they can get to A to B without being hassled or stressed. But this bubble which breeds a lack of awareness of others and it really starting to piss me off.

I understand why people may take comfort in a ‘protection bubble’. Tubes are loud and packed and annoying. But I don't understand why otherwise lovely people suddenly become ignorant the minute they step into an Underground station. The fact is, like or not there are other people on the tube with you, we are all just trying to get around.

Be polite, say excuse me, don’t push old ladies down the stairs because they are not moving as fast as you would like. Give up your seats to pregnant ladies and try not to be sick on a total stranger. It's not that hard, is it?

Oh, and before I forget, I can see you in your ‘protection bubble’ picking your nose in the carriage in front of me! Arghh!