Tag Archives: commute

Trends on the train

13 Mar

I have noticed a trend that I find quite worrying on public transport. Or should I say completely irritating rather than worrying?

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Lately I have seen several people on the train using their phones. OK, slightly irritating but mobile phone are so-called because people want to be mobile when they are using them. This I can cope with. What I can’t cope with is people using FaceTime during the journey. On one occasion I saw someone doing this without headphones.

I’m not quite sure what would possess anyone to do this. Zürich is very international and I completely understand that people might want to contact their loved ones in another time zones before it gets to late but why do this on a train packed full of commuters who just want to sit in silence, read the free paper and get home?

If it really is that important to speak to someone via FaceTime on your commute then why not stay behind at work for 10 minutes? Find a meeting room and have a chat with you nearest and dearest in private without strangers listening in to your conversation.

It is infuriating enough to hear one side of a phone conversation on public transport let alone being able to hear little Benjamin or Florence’s excitable shrieks in response to daddy’s questions about how their day at nursery was.I don’t know how social norms come into existence but, in my opinion, this is the opposite of both social and normal.

I even saw a man in the supermarket who was watching a TV series on his phone while shopping. The reason it caught my attention was that he wasn’t using any earphones. He was lholding up the device to his ear to listen to what was happening and not watching what was happening on his screen. If you are really so busy that you can’t sit down and watch the acting (which must be a fundamental of the show or it would just be done on the radio and would save the producers a lot of money) then you shouldn’t even bother.

Even more irritating for me is when someone sit near to me on the train and the music that they are listening via headphones to is so loud that I can hear all of the lyrics of the song. Of course this is irritating but, for me, there is added cause for concern. I used to work for a hearing aid manufacturer and I know the amount of damage that can be done to the ear when it is exposed to loud noise over a prolonged period of time. The ear is a very fragile organ and needs to be protected. The ear didn’t evolve with the intention of having a ear bud shoved down it and Justin Bieber on full blast.

I am never sure if I should politely lean over to my fellow passenger and explain that they might be doing some harm to their ears but I’m not sure if they would be able to hear me or, perhaps more tragic, if they would care about my friendly advice.

I appreciate that I might sound like a bit of a bore but private conversations are called private for a reason. And you might get a few less angry stares from your fellow passengers on the 17.31 if we can all hear a little less of Justin Bieber.

Winter has arrived

30 Nov

At the risk of sounding like an old woman, hasn’t it gone cold all of a sudden? The weather has definitely turned and winter is here. Until the end of last week the weather was beginning to get a bit colder and I was managing to survive without hat, gloves, scarf and winter coat but I have finally admitted defeat!

I dug out my hat and gloves this weekend and got out one of my winter coats and I am glad that I did this morning. It was so cold that I was praying that God would be merciful and the train would arrive a few minutes early so that I could be inside the warmth of the train.

The problem with wrapping up warm in the morning is that the trains and tram are heated too much. First world problems, right? I need the hat, gloves, scarf and winter coat to walk from my flat to the train station in the morning but after that it is just uncomfortable to wear them on public transport. I start surreptitiously striping off before I pass out.

It is particularly grim when you see trams driving past with the windows completely misted up with condensation. You know that these trams are packed with people wearing too many clothes for them to be comfortable in any shape or form and are now sweating uncomfortably in close proximity of strangers.

I remember when I first moved over to Switzerland. Moving to another place at the end of autumn/start of winter is never a good idea but 8 weeks after I moved to Switzerland, I remember waiting at the bus stop in the morning and it being -8 degrees (that is minus 8 at the end of November). My colleagues assured me that this was the coldest winter that they could remember for 5 or 6 years and it wasn’t always this cold in November; I wasn’t sure if I should believe them or not.

It turns out that they were right. I haven’t experienced a winter that was as cold as my first one here since then. I have a feeling that this winter will be really cold though. Ski resorts have already been opened for a few weeks already because there is enough snow.

However, a colder winters in Switzerland doesn’t mean “snow days” as it does in England. For anyone who is unaware what a snow day is, this is when you wake up in the morning, see the snow and decide not to risk going into work because it will be far too dangerous. The amount of snow doesn’t really matter: 10cm, 1cm or a light dusting are all acceptable amounts of snow for phoning your boss to tell them that you’re just not prepared to risk it.

And we don’t have them in Switzerland because it’s winter and so they are prepared for the possibility of snow. And, yes, the trains run on time as usual.winter-234721_1920