Public Transportation People Watching

There are two things about me that play a role whenever I travel : 1.) I don’t like being alone. 2.) I love talking and listening.

Whether I’m flying or driving, I always spend some time talking to strangers. However, this small talk is usually sparse. As much as I love meeting new people, I want to make it to my destination at some point.

If you think my daylight directional density is bad, you haven’t seen anything yet. My day driving makes me seem like a professional pilot in comparison to my nighttime navigation. I once was 45 minutes late to meet someone in downtown Des Moines at night…a place in which I’ve been to at least 45 times.

However, last week, my small talk with strangers was stretched. I rode the Megabus back home to Chicago for my friend Angie’s Bachelorette party. A six-hour drive on public transportation is prime for people watching. Here are a few things that I both saw (and heard) during my six-hour stay:

1.) I talked with one couple who was going back to Chicago to prepare for their upcoming wedding. They had ridden the Megabus, Greyhound, and other trains many times, and gave me the ins and outs of transportation. My favorite stories? [1] The girl said she once sat by a woman who loved Pepsi so much that she spoke about it as if she was giving a sermon. Continuously and loudly. [2] She sat near a man that was not a proponent of Pepsi, but rather, of self-pleasure. He also did this continuously and loudly.

2.) There was a boy and a girl in college behind me who were randomly paired next to each other, and then talked the entire ride. At first, they kept continually inserting their boyfriend and girlfriend into conversation, even when it was completely irrelevant. [The boy may bring up food, for example, and the girl would say something like “My boyfriend loves Burger King!] As the ride progressed, the talk of their significant others signficantly lessened. They were a perfect match. It felt like I was watching a Lifetime movie “Matched on Megabus!”

3.) There was a pair of middle aged women sitting behind me who decided to take a girl’s weekend trip to Chicago. They ended up drinking more than they anticipated. One would think that this would mean instant sleep for the entire trip. Wrong. Instead, they relived every moment over and over…and over. They then called their respective family members to do the same thing again.

Do you travel on public transportation? Do you put in your headphones immediately, or are you a people watcher? 


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