My pet hate

Packed TrainOr, my current pet hate, I should say, is commuters who don’t sit down.

Let me expain.

Melbourne public transport is currently extraordinarily popular. And when I say popular, I don’t mean people like it, but they do have to use it. The Herald Sun reports that one in five Melburnians are using it to get to work, and there are now 30% more people riding it than three years ago.

When I catch the train in the morning, there are usually something like twenty people crowded near the doors on each carriage, and everyone at my platform has to push to get on. So, when I do manage to actually get on, and I’m crushed nose-to-armpit with the morning mosh-pit, how am I supposed to feel when I see empty seats?

Unbelievably, most mornings there is at least one seat free. However, there is a strange ethic that means people don’t want to sit down. There is some kind of pride in standing. Sitting might deprive some other hypothetical traveller of a seat who is more entitled to it. Sitting down seems to be a greater evil than causing people to be crushed half to death.

Please! People! If there’s a seat near you, then sit in it! I’d rather watch you enjoying a seat than have you contribute to my discomfort.

Maybe this whole rant qualifies me for Grumpy Old Men, but the crowding on public transport is only going to get worse, and we need to change seating etiquette if we are to cope.

Let’s end the lies

10 week ultrasoundWe’re now telling people something we were denying before – that we’re expecting a baby. Kate’s 17 weeks pregnant, in fact. And the baby’s due around 10th September.

It’s a relief to no longer have to cover it up, and it’s exciting to be able to announce it to people. However, it’s a bit odd that something so positive is typically hidden from friends for several months before being suddenly sprung on them.

Ironically, the friends often already know, or at least are pretty suspicious. The signs are everywhere, and good friends tend to notice. Even if there is no morning sickness or change in body shape, the dietary hints are pretty clear. They wonder why a glass of wine, normally happily accepted, is now sadly refused. They ponder why the brie and proscuitto goes uneaten, and perhaps even why the seafood option isn’t chosen from the menu (although that’s never an option for us anyway). And particularly, “women of a certain age” are well attuned to these signs in their friends, but in the end are too polite to ask.

So, those people who we find it so painful to hide the news from are the very people that know anyway. Both parties (us and them) engage in a comedic farce where we all pretend nothing is going on at all, while desperately wanting to speak about it to the other.

But now, released from that cultural prison, I can tell you that I am very pleased (although a bit terrified) about the idea of becoming a dad.