Commuter Etiquette: Chapter Two – How To Sit
Sometimes, if you’re not travelling in rush hour or you happen to live so far out of London that the trains actually start at your station, you might be lucky enough to get a seat. And you’d think it would be pretty easy to sit… a lot of people spend the majority of their day sitting. But, it seems there are vast swathes out there who simply don’t know how to sit. So, here are my basic tips about how to sit on a train.
Firstly, assess whether you should be sitting. Is there an elderly lady or gentlemen who could really do with a perch? Or someone wearing a “Baby on Board” badge? What about that lad on crutches? Do you really need to be sitting when there’s people around who have a greater need? This is one of my absolute pet peeves – I’ve watched elderly people give up their seats for even more elderly individuals, whilst plenty of young persons watch on, unaware or unmoved. It’s not acceptable. People are often too embarrassed to ask, but quite frankly they shouldn’t have to. Come on people, do the right thing – give up that seat. Especially if you’re sitting in a Priority Seat.
Now that you’re sitting, sit straight. Unless you’re pushing 6 ft 5, you definitely do not need to sit with your legs at a diagonal and thus encroaching on your neighbour’s leg room. At least have the manners to adjust your position when someone does sit next to you.
Come to think of it (and I’m aiming this at you gents, sorry), please do not sit with your legs wide open. Really, is it necessary? IS IT?! Especially if you’re sitting in the middle seat of three – seriously, you and your legs are now taking up half of each the seats next to you.
Do you have a very expensive handbag? Good for you. And hey, if the train isn’t busy, I don’t really care if that bag has a seat. Bet it feels mighty special, sitting next to you on that seat. Except, actually, handbags and carrier bags and sports bags – whatever type of bag you might have on you – don’t have feelings. But other people do. Tired people who just want to sit down. People who might have been on their feet all day. Don’t make them ask you to move it. Note when you’re stopping at a station, and move that bag! Worse, if someone does ask you, don’t give them a look. You are not entitled to a seat for your bag.
Got your feet up on the seat opposite? Your dirty shoes that have been pounding the blackened, gum-strewn streets of London all day? Great, I can’t wait to sit in that seat now. Would you put those shoes on your sofa?! If you absolutely have to do it, maybe slip your shoes off? See Figure 1 below. But only if there’s absolutely no one else sitting in the near vicinity. And absolutely NOT if you have smelly feet. Keep those monsters contained.
Figure 1: Loving life on a Southeastern train……..
And, if you bear all these things in mind, then I guarantee you’ll be sitting comfortably and in a non-irritating manner for your fellow passengers. Happy sitting!