How to annoy everyone on a Metra train

If you've done any of the following 10 things on a Metra train, chances are you've garnered some death glares and stink eyes from commuters sitting around you.

Oh, and you deserved them, because you were being one of those Metra riders.

So for the sake of everyone else's sanity, please do not do the following on a Metra train.

1.) Talk on your phone obnoxiously loudly ... or even at all.

There is one person (and if you're lucky, two) who is engaged in your phone conversation, and that's you. No one else is interested in hearing you fight with your spouse, talk to your children or get into a fight with a family member. Why? We just don't care. And your voice is too piercing and annoying for the rest of us to even focus on our iPods, smart phones and newspapers. So for our mutual sanity, stop talking.

2.) Play games on your smart phone ... with the volume up to the max.

We all know Words with Friends is fun -- except when I am sitting in front of you and get to hear the perky pinging noise coming from your phone every time you drop a letter into a square. Play your games--that's what they're there for--but it takes about one second to turn the volume off. And if you're incapable of finding out how to adjust it, you shouldn't have bought the damn phone in the first place.

3.) Leave your alarm on ... loud.

So let me guess. You left your phone alarm on, yet again, and now we all get to hear it buzz and ring until your brain cells wake up enough to realize, YES, that is your phone. (You chose the obnoxious ringtone, so it shouldn't take you five minutes to figure that out.) Do not spend time staring around at your fellow passengers wondering whose phone is making that jubilant noise. It's yours. Who smelt it, dealt it. And again, the one person who cares about what your alarm was reminding you to do is you. And possibly your mother, if you're really fortunate.

4.) Hit on the person next to you.

You're both facing each other from different ends of the train. Your eyes awkwardly meet once, or her bag brushed against you as she glided over to her seat in heels. You make eye contact once, look away, and you keep staring at her for the rest of the train ride. It's not flattering or cute or a turn-on. It's creepy. This is a train, not match.com.

5.) Get drunk.

By the looks of your beer belly, peppered hair and lost look on your face, it's evident to everyone that you're not in college at your fraternity anymore. Therefore, drinking a giant can of beer on a train does not classify you as cool.  It does however classify you as obnoxious, loud and embarrassing. Drinking was cool when you were 18 and a freshman in college. Now it's the norm, so please hit up a bar instead of a train car. I'm trying to read.

6.) Host your family reunion.

Traveling with family is fun; that is, until your family time turns into a live rendition of "Meet the Fockers" and everyone is interacting loudly as though they are in their living room. No other passenger understands the inside jokes, wants the kiddies running around or wants to hear your hard-of-hearing grandma yelling at your sister's niece's cousin's wife what she wants to tell them from a few seats away. Just don't. Save it for family holidays, please.

7.) Mumble to the train conductor.

They're asking for your ticket. That's it. It's not rocket science. Either ask to buy one or hand it over. Don't grumble or mumble to yourself. The conductors kind of have a whole slew of train cars to get through.

8.) Swear excessively.

Swearing was cool when you were 12. Now even I'm capable of saying the F-bomb, and even though it's one of my favorite words, there's no reason for it to be used three times or more in one sentence in somewhere public like a train car. If you'd paid attention in your English class, you'd know there are real adjectives that can take its place. So don't f%$*ing say it.

9.) Bring a roll-away briefcase/suitcase.

The rest of us get off the train and have started the speedy, Type A walk to work. And our momentum is stopped by a briefcase on wheels that you're moving at approximately two miles an hour. It's the city. You're blocking traffic. Lift some weights and learn to carry one like the rest of us.

10.) Walk slower than a senior citizen.

If you look like a grandma or grandpa or broke a bone or two, I understand. But that's where the line is drawn for excuses for walking slower than a toddler who crawls. Don't doddle--get to work. Commuters have places to go, people to see, jobs to get to and Starbucks to buy. And you've now made each and every one of us five minutes later than we wanted to be because you were incapable of Chicago speed-walking. Move to suburbia, man.

We've all at one time been considered, "Oh,that Metra rider." But end your bad habits now. Commuters just want to get to work peacefully, OK?


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    Allison Prang

    Allison is a student at the Missouri School of Journalism, specializing in watchdog journalism and political science. She is a contributor for The Mash by The Chicago Tribune, the City, a senior staff writer for The Maneater, MU's student newspaper and works part-time at Investigative Reporters and Editors, Inc. In her free time, she loves to run, read, nurse her caffeine addiction and obsess over Bob Woodward's latest best-sellers.

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