Things to do on the tube
Pretend you are about to alight
A few stations before your stop, look up and start putting things away swiftly - closing reading book, gathering up coat and bags etc.
You will see people begin to hover waiting for your seat. As you move off from the next station, grin at them and relax your grip on your coat etc.
If you are especially sadistic you might introduce a well timed "stand up briefly to stretch" element to the routine. See those longing faces!
Hoard the newspapers
When you board, gather up all of the newspapers within sight/reach, especially if they are identical. Keep them in a pile on your lap or in your hands. Take a few minutes to read each one (depending on how many you've got and how long your journey will take).
As you finish each one, make a motion offering around the carriage. Say nothing. If nobody specifically asks you for the paper, smile and quickly place it to the back of the pile. Calmly take the next one and read that in the same way.
The fun here is seeing how long it takes people to be prepared to ask for a paper when you offer it. Also amusing to see people waiting for a specific paper, for example if you have something different in the middle of the pile - particularly when it only turns out to be two pages from a boring supplement. Make sure you look very happy to be reading the newspapers, while people watch.
Obviously, you need at least one companion for this!
There are two options here. The easy option is to play with really simple, mundane items, and lure other travellers into joining in, e.g. "It's DOOR for goodness sake!"
The second option is to choose items relating to the other passengers, keeping the descriptions odd, without quite being offensive. For example, you might choose W.I.U.C. ("woman in unusual clothing") or P.W.S.F. ("person with strange face").
Remember not to stare at any one individual for too long. If you can come up with initials which seem to have obvious offensive meanings, so much the better, as long as you can safely say aloud "no, it's Fluffy Umbrella-Clutching Kiwi!"
Make sure everyone can hear, so they can join in if they want to.
Knock the bags over
Sit down next to a slender secretary type, and take up slightly more space than you need. Then move up slightly to make room between you. If you're lucky they will put their bag in the gap between you.
Wait until her attention is distracted, perhaps she is looking at the map or something, and then scratch a very sudden itch, or jerk in such a way as to tip her bag on the floor. No need to apologise, although you can say "oops!". Very funny, as the bag is invariably open - and surprisingly easy to achieve.
Make people apologise
Stand really close to someone and then when they step back into you, or however you make contact, say "CAREFUL!" really loudly, in an irritated manner. Immediately afterwards, look away from them so they can't engage you in a response.
This isn't really fun (or fair) but if you're having a really bad day it might help. I think it's a bit mean, but I do make sure that if someone encroaches onto my seat they are moved back onto their own by this method. One person who chose to ignore me found himself being neatly folded into his own space, and that was quite amusing indeed!
As a final twist, turn this on its head and see how much you can get away with as long as it is accompanied by a gushing apology!
This page last updated: 19 July 2004
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