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Thursday, July 31, 2014

It pains me to confront a regular

What's a regular you ask?
A regular is what I call GO people who I see almost every day.  I don't know who you are, but I know you to see you, kind of regular.

Last night, I couldn't let something slide. I could not. Could not. Could not.  Could NOT.

I took the 643pm LSE express which is what I call the full fat express train. The light express trains are the ones that leave Oshawa and don't stop til Pickering.  The 18% coffee cream trains are the ones that make two stops between Pickering and Oshawa.

I sat upstairs. One quad over sat a regular who took advantage of the empty seat in front of her and assaulted it with her wet shoes. I should mention when she caught sight of the TSO who popped upstairs for a fare inspection, she dropped those feet and was on her best behavior, so you know what that tells me? She knows it's wrong.

Once the fare inspection was over, back up went her feet.  I said nothing because suddenly I was surrounded by foot riders. So I sat and steamed, and was busy composing an exit speech in my head, so I could tell them all off, and then bolt from the coach, when my thoughts were interrupted by a commotion beside me.

Ms. Regular with her dirty shoes on the seat got up in a huff, dramatically collected all her belongings and said, "Fucking immigrants" loud enough so we'd all hear her and made a grand and pointed exit down the stairs.

As it happened, she was annoyed by the couple who were behind her chatting in their native tongue. I heard them too, but it was quiet and nothing extraordinary.  But Ms. Regular was in the Quiet Zone. She made sure we knew that when she left.

What THE WHAT?!

I don't care that she did what I planned to do, to call her and others out for their footriding BS, but her racist comment had to be addressed. Footriding was just an aside - I mean, pot meet kettle, right? Getting pissed about people talking when you're also being rude by acting like you're in your living room? I can't even...

So when I saw her on the platform, I confronted her. I told her it was offensive and uncalled for.  She didn't apologize. She shrugged, lit her cigarette, and casually walked away.

I dislike confronting regulars. In the past, it's made taking the train emotionally challenging as I then take measures to avoid the person, especially if it was a heated exchange and that person isn't over it. I modified my schedule in the evening to avoid a certain regular (a smoker who smokes in the line for the bus) who threatened to punch me out when he saw me again, and I believed him, so I started taking an earlier train from work.

I know a lot of you read the blog and wonder why more people just don't speak up. Why we quietly take photos of smokers, seat hogs, Quiet Zone blabberwockies, foot riders, boozing passengers and bad parkers.  We're afraid.  That's why.

We see most of these people every day and unlike a subway train, you're confined to these coaches for quite a distance, with no exit strategy, so protecting your personal safety is paramount.

In my many discussions with GO Transit Security, even their officers marvel at what I am willing to take on, in person, because they see a side to this commuter subculture that is very dark, and very dangerous.

I saw Ms. Regular this morning. She walked past me like nothing happened.

Phew.

10 comments:

Skin Man said...

I really liked reading your message today. I have mixed emotions about the reaction from GO staff though. They should be used to taking on what you do. Perhaps they were simply amazed that you do it for free. Because its the right thing to do.

Keep smiling CJ!

C.J. Smith said...

GO security just wants us all to be safe and leave the nasty confrontations to them and that's ideal when they're around but when they're not, confrontation is risky. I mean, even polite confrontation has caused people to stand up, rip off their shirt and wage war.
For many people, they just don't want to deal so they stay quiet, snap a photo and send it to me.

JulieBean said...

This is why I respect you CJ, you did a good deed by speaking up and put yourself in an uncomfortable place, not knowing how she would react.
This is the problem, people don't speak up because they fear the reaction they will get (myself included). Last Friday I took the early train home and watched the kid across from my put his feet up on the seat, his Dad sitting right next to him. I so wanted to say something but tact when I am pissed is not my strong point and the Dad looked a little rough so I didn't chance it, besides looking around there were a few other foot riders so I was out numbered. Instead I stewed and left the train disgusted once again with how some parents do not teach their kids any manners.

Anonymous said...

Typical smoker...world revolves around them.

Toxic 2nd hand chemicals? Not my problem.

Wet shoes? Not my problem somebody else's ass is gonna be wet now, mine's nice and dry.

People no talk good English? WTF? They in Canada now...learn to talk good English.

P.S. The grammar mistakes are on purpose......

V. said...

Anon - 9:13 am...There is nothing wrong with two people talking in their native language. They're not harming anyone. They're probably more comfortable speaking in that language because that's what they were brought up on. If you were in a different country with a friend, would you have a private conversation in the native language of that country? I highly doubt it. So what if they're in Canada now? You don't know that they don't speak English at all. Hell, they could fluent speakers and writers. Nothing pisses me off more than ignorant people passing judgement on others because of the language they speak. What does it matter to you?

Squiggles said...

I think Anon was being sarcastic there V.

Or at least, that was my impression of what was written. Because in essence the whole comment was in jest of the different points raised.

Anonymous said...

Squiggles is right, I was being sarcastc.

V. I'm on the same side as you!

JulieBean said...

I read it as sarcasm too Anon.

V. said...

I apologize for my freak out. Hard to tell sarcasm in text a lot of times. I think was the lady in the post that set me off. Again, I'm sorry!

Zahra Habib said...

Is there a reason why GO staff can't make the reminders about foot/bag riding and respecting other people who take a train a more regular occurrence? And/or send a transit officer through the train every now and then for reasons other than checking for fare payment? When the officers are a little more visible, people's manners will also become more visible.