I have been a proud user of public transport for many years. I don't know why people complain about it so much. I'd far rather read on the train or the bus than do battle with every other person on the road all jostling for position.
The real problem with public transport is that you come into close proximity with people that you wouldn't otherwise. Because I catch the train at the usual before and after work times, I never have to do battle with drunks or scary thugs. But I do regularly end up sitting right near a group of school kids.
Why are they so obnoxious?? Were we this bad? Surely not.
The only thing more breathtaking than their stupidity (apparently Bali is twelve hours behind Perth) is their certainty that they know everything.
Over the years that I've taken public transport, my ears and reading time have been invaded by a few varieties of school kid obnoxiousness.
Back in Adelaide, there were the choir kids who used to sit at the back of the bus and sing songs together. Loudly. In that special overly-enunciated singing style that only school choir leaders insist upon. There's nothing like half an hour of "bumble bee bumble bee" scales to really get that pointless fury bubbling away. They also had loud theatrical laughs like HA HA HA HA. Annoying.
Then there are the kids who think that swearing is extremely cool. They do stuff like make loud remarks on the bus driver's driving. They're all about the posturing, while everyone else on the bus wishes they'd just shut up so we could concentrate on our books. The only people who think these kids are cool is themselves. They're the ones who scream obscenities at each other when they get off.
More recently I've been catching the train with a group of high school boys who make me so angry it takes all my will power not to shout at them.
They couldn't be more than fifteen. There's a group of about five of them. One of them is a Mexican immigrant called "Paz" who they bully mercilessly. It's excruciating. They make jokes about him coming here illegally, they make crude comments about his mum, they tease him about any stupid Mexican stereotype you can think of. The worst part is listening to him laugh along uneasily, until their comments become so nasty that he eventually stops laughing and becomes quiet and stony-faced. Every afternoon it's the same.
Every afternoon I hope to hear Paz finally stand up for himself, or for one of the others to say "enough". It never happens.
As if the racist bullying wasn't enough, they're irksome little shits in every possible sense. They don't seem to have one redeeming feature. They sit in the priority seats that are designated for parents, elderly or disabled passengers. They don't give up their seats for anyone. They have something nasty or negative to say about everyone. If a girl walks by, they'll say something disgusting or derogatory depending on her looks. Every single time. They have nothing but vitriol for their teachers, their fellow students, their parents, and of course poor Paz. Anyone who says boys aren't as vicious as girls needs to spend some time in the presence of these kids. They're hideous.
I'm staggered and appalled that at their young age, they have such blistering disdain for the world around them. How awful it would be to be so young and already so cynical.
So, what do you think? What should I do? I don't have a choice, do I? I have to kill them.
Edited to add:
Today is R U OK?Day in Australia. If you know someone in a similar position to Paz, or even his tormentors for that matter, ask them, "R U OK?". Not just today, but any day.
You can find out more about R U OK?Day here: https://www.ruokday.com/. If you're not OK and no one's asked if you need help, here is a great list of resources: https://www.ruokday.com/resources-for-you/crisis-support/. People do care. Just tell someone.