The Queen of the Road recently asked her readers who ride BART to share their pet peeves. A regular BART rider responded with a list of least-favorite train commute companions who will be familiar to many other BART patrons.
He's listening to this music, and it's so loud you don't need to share his headset — you can hear it at the other end of the carriage. He won't have any hearing left in 12 months if he keeps up this noise level. Despite the misconception that this is not limited to young people and rap music, this blasting of tunes is also regularly displayed by 30-somethings with country tracks and the familiar middle-aged AC/DC fan in his business suit — easy to spot with the foot beating to Angus Young's guitar.
Not to be confused with the Music Demon, these are the BART riders who wear their handbags, satchels or computer bags over their shoulders and walk down the center aisle banging heads and shoulders as they go, oblivious to the damage they cause. This species is often experienced in the center aisle on domestic flights as well. Be careful because they are also known to attack your cheek, your ears and the occasional eye. Advice: Put your bag on the floor between your feet. I would like to get off the train in a half-hour without damage to my facial features.
Rules don't apply to me
That means these riders can eat their bananas (sorry it brushed against your white coat), drink their coffee (don't worry, those spills on your trousers will come out at the dry cleaners), munch their fries (it's 5.30 p.m., we're all starving and can smell the takeout you're chomping on back there). Oops, they didn't mean to spill their soda there. Oh well, that's not too much damage to your suede pumps.
Rules also don't apply to me
This rider is most frequently seen at the MacArthur station during morning rush hour with bicycle firmly in hand, boarding the back car of the train about 8 a.m., along with 15 passengers running from the Richmond-Fremont train headed toward the city. Seats are already full, the aisle is backed up, and there is barely room to scratch your nose. But bike rider brings a full-sized bike and a friend. No, I didn't need that toe. I have others. Come on in, the more the merrier.
Familiar in most walks of life, these riders are easy to spot on BART because of their tap-tap-tap mating calls, pounding the dear life out of that laptop for a half-hour. Not an ideal seat companion when you're trying to nap or read on the commute.
She proceeds to primp and preen herself on the ride in and applies creams, powders and jells, plucking her eyebrows, spraying perfume and, on occasion, painting nails. Please note, those of us afflicted by asthma really don't appreciate the smell of nail polish or cologne in confined spaces.
Usually observed during morning commutes, these riders take the seats just inside the doors. They normally wear dark glasses or read newspapers so that they can't make eye contact with any one boarding who may need the seats. These riders seem to have the built-in ability to ignore the elderly or frail riders, parents with young children and pregnant women. You will see them happen to doze off just before the train pulls into each station and hold that pose until the doors close again. Something in that tunnel is working miracles because the person occupying those seats designated for riders in need has undergone a transformation — by the time we're pulling into Embarcadero they've mustered all their energy, are jostling at the exit door and pushing their way up the escalator and out of the station.
They come in all shapes, sizes and ages — many times attached to cell phones but often terrorizing their seat mates with information about less-than-interesting topics. Beware of the loudmouth boarding the train with a friend. Exit immediately for a new carriage because twice the noise becomes intolerable when you enter the tunnel and they have to speak up over the din. Just the other night between Montgomery and Lafayette, I learned all that I never wanted to know about how to process those insurance claims that come into the office where I don't work. My colleague had been ear-bashed with every detail of a doctor at UCSF that they hated working for, names and all. Just a tip folks: When people are wearing noise-canceling headsets or ear plugs and they can still hear your whole conversation, chances are you're talking too loud.
My bag needs a seat
You know who you are, and I'm not talking about airport riders with luggage. I mean you with the laptop bag or the duffle bag or the tote bag. If you want to take everything you own on the train to work each day, that's fine, but I paid for my fare. I have the same 35-minute ride you have, so if it's not too much trouble, yes, I would like to sit there.
— Lenore D., Walnut Creek