In general, public transport frightens me and being that I am new to public transport, I like to observe everyone around me and everything that they do. Let me introduce you to the people of the metro, first of all, there are loads of them and all of them are gross. Including me most days. They smell like sweat or cigarettes, they cough into their hands and then touch the poles you are supposed to hold on to, sometimes they even cough on you. Not to mention they are overall just loud; they talk to each other, they talk on the phone, they listen to music that you can hear from their headphones. Then they bump into you, step on your toes or just sit really close to you.
You will be sure to see some stereotypical people while on the metro, there’s always “the couple in love”, “the guy who’s late to work”, “the reader”, “the starer” (lots of those), “the candy crush player”, and many more. Not to mention, depending what line you get on, there are people begging for money. They will give you a whole life story and then try to sell you tissues or just ask for money. Good luck.
Now that I have introduced you to the people you may or may not be riding on the metro with, let me tell you a bunch of rules they all abide by with or without knowing it.
1. If you hear or see the train coming, you must run to it.
This is the only time you will see Spaniards in a hurry, I promise. If there is no way of knowing whether the train is coming then a slow stroll is all that is necessary. So, if you are like me and want to walk fast between trains, in case the train may be close, you need to find a way to get ahead of these slow walking Spaniards, this leads me to rule number two.
2. If you are smart, you wait at the correct part of the train to exit at the appropriate door.
Now, this is not as easy as it seems. It takes practice remembering which door to be at and it changes for every stop in every direction, sometimes you have to be in the middle, sometimes all the way to the left other times all the way to the right. The people who have mastered this are your “guys who are late to work”. These are the Spaniards who have to be to work on time and they are not fucking around. Maybe they aren’t late but they just know that they want to save themselves commute time. I completely agree with them. They have calculated exactly which door to stand at and probably will catch their next train in the last second, that you will miss because you didn’t wait at the right door and then will arrive to work about ten minutes earlier than if they had been at the wrong end of the train. Added bonus, if you do this, it gets you ahead of the game and you don’t have to fight the crowd that is squishing onto the escalator. Squishing onto the escalator can add about five minutes onto your commute time, imagine if you have to take three or four escalators like at La Latina or Avenida de La Ilustracion. You better get yourself to the right door!
3. You must be occupied
There’s no such thing as day dreaming in the metro. If you are not with friends, you must be doing something solitary. This includes but is not limited to doing things on your phone such as texting, playing candy crush or talking to someone. Reading anything, a book, magazine or “20 minutos” which is the metros newspaper. Finally, if you aren’t using your phone or reading, just plain staring at someone will suffice. Seriously though, these are the only things you are allowed to be doing on the metro, end of story.
4. You must avoid sitting by people at all costs
The minute someone sitting next to you leaves, you must scoot over to the corner seat.
5. You must not be happy
If you are alone in the metro you are unhappy. That is the rule. When you are with friends you may laugh and chatter and have a ball, but when you are by yourself you have to hate your life, even if you don’t hate your life, you have to appear to hate your life.
6. Your feet cannot stick out
Simple. Your feet have to be in! People are constantly getting on and off the metro, so watch out!
For now, these are the rules that I have noticed in the metro. Have you noticed anything else? Have you noticed any of these things?