It turns out that your neighbor on the plane/bus/train (or the person sitting at the next table at the coffee shop) is a very, very chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats, go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?
Given how much I generally loathe people, let alone having to interact with them… I’m sure you can guess what I would do…
Most of the time when I’m catching transport, I have my earphones in and I’m listening to music whilst scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, or writing catch-up posts just like this on the bus. Now, my assumption has always been, if somebody is wearing earphones / headphones then clearly they’re not in the mood for having a chat to anybody… And in my case I’ll let them start talking to me and then slowly and deliberately pull my earphones out and glare at them for disturbing me. The one thing that then makes it worse is if I’m wearing my big headphones and they start talking to me and I go through all that and I always get ‘oh sorry, I didn’t realise you had your headphones on!’
WHAT. THE. ACTUAL. FUCK?!?!
How the hell do you not notice a giant set of fucking cans on either side of my head. I look like a techno version of Princess Leia and you simply didn’t notice?!? Well, now I have absolutely no interest in hearing anything you have to say because you’re clearly a fuckwit and all I want to do now is punch you in the throat for it.
As I sit here in the back row of the bus (back seat rebel, y’all!) I look around at all the people wearing big sets of headphones, and they’re all different colours and I can’t help but wonder HOW DO YOU NOT NOTICE THAT?!?! I also have this exact same problem with people in the street who are overly-bubbly and disgustingly perky trying to get you to sign up for some charity or sponsor a child – all I want to do is smack that grin right off their faces for a) not getting the fuck out of my way; b) for being WAAAAAYYYY too happy and c) for continuing to talk to me whilst I have my headphones on. Usually if they’ve literally blocked my path I just stand there staring at them (silently counting to ten in my head otherwise, I’ll knock them down) until they stop talking and then just respond with ‘No.’ and walk off.
Unfortunately there have been the odd occasion where I’ve been stuck next to somebody who feels compelled to talk to me, and so whilst I’m screaming out inside my head, I’m polite and civil and engage in small talk with them – these people are probably either really friendly or they’re just lonely and want somebody to talk to. As I think about it, a lot of major cities are generally like this – people all pile onto a bus or a train and keep to themselves, in their own little space, and those who do actually have a conversation have them so quietly because they know that everybody else around them can hear them, and is, undoubtedly, listening in to what they’re saying.