Monday, February 12, 2018

Subway Zombies

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While my commute to work previously was only a bus ride followed by a short walk through the most picturesque part of the city centre, I now need to change twice to get to my office. First, I take that same old bus, then the U3 subway line, followed by the U1. I have a theory about Vienna's first and oldest subway line, U1, which I had the dubious privilege to use for most of my student years and, let's not lie, is definitely my least favourite line. Why? I swear that it attracts a special breed of people. No, seriously! While blocking the doorways is somewhat widespread in all means of public transport in Vienna, it is particularly bad on the U1, and also comes in different variations. My favourite (NOT) is the "subway zombie" behaviour. It is people who - in the morning or evening rush hour - slowly shuffle towards the train when they hear it screech to a halt and see other people on the platform move out of the corners of their eyes, all the while they are typing in their smartphone. If you happen to want to board the carriage right behind such a zombie who is completely oblivious of the fact that there is hardly any space on the train anyway and the "stand back, the train is about to depart" message has already been played, you just want to whisk their phone out of their hands and shove them in, all in the same smooth karate move. Those 3-4 stops (depending if I leave the train of horrors one stop earlier or not) are a daily exercise in self restraint and patience, both of which are not my strongest virtues. Some days, only the fact that I don't want to end up a frontpage headline on those free newspapers comes between me and losing my calm.


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