Having just spent six weeks using the world’s oldest metro system, I’ve come back to Australia with a lot of opinions on how people behave on public transport, and almost all of them can be boiled down to one thing: a lack of self-awareness.
Or any awareness for the people around you at all, really. But awareness of how much space you take up, how your presence impacts those around you: these traits seem to be missing from a lot of people who regularly take public transport, and it needs to stop.
People with backpacks on public transport need to become more aware of how much space they’re occupying. They aren’t just taking up enough space for themselves, as their backpack basically doubles the space they need to occupy. Which in and of itself would be fine, if the people wearing backpacks were conscious enough to bear this in mind and not hit people with their backpacks every time they move. Or conscious enough to take them off and rest them by their feet while they’re on the train. But they never are.
Men are often the worst offenders. Women are taught from a young age to be hyperaware of how much space we take up, so many women on public transport end up trying to make themselves as small as possible. Often, women have no choice but to do this, because the men next to them are seemingly engaging in a manspreading competition to see who can spread their legs the most before the woman in between them explodes, metaphorically speaking.
Plus, many women use handbags instead of backpacks, myself included. Probably because we know that all backpacks are incredibly ugly, no exceptions, and we had to use them at school for 13 years and never want to see one again. But I’m just spitballing here.
My point is, people (but mostly men) with backpacks on public transport need to start paying more attention to how their choice of hand luggage affects those around them. If you can’t gain enough self-awareness to be cognisant of this small thing, you probably don’t have enough self-awareness to interact decently with other human beings at all, and should avoid using public transport, or going out in public, or speaking to other people.
Unfortunately, I don’t have the power to enforce my dream ban, so I’ll just have to stick to elbowing every backpack that gets shoved in my face until people start to get the message.