I think I’ve got the plot for my novel now. It’s a story of pain and suffering, of a death in a family at war with itself. The working title is “HELLO!! I’M ON THE TRAIN”.
People find other people with mobile phones irritating, but unless they’re loud or obviously showing off it doesn’t bother me: it’s no different to having a conversation with a fellow traveller. No what gets me is how indiscreet people can be; they will discuss intimate details and company secrets in a full compartment, safe in the knowledge that they don’t recognise anyone else in the compartment so no-one will give a stuff. And hey they’ll never see you again anyway.
Except you do. If you use the train every day you begin to recognise the faces. And if it were a pub in Golders Green you’d maybe feel able to strike up a conversation with those familiar, yet unfamiliar people. But you don’t know how they’d react so you don’t.
I find travelling by bus and train everyday preferable to driving. It’s cheaper if you buy the right ticket (and contrary to some surveys finding the right ticket isn’t rocket science), and less tiring. Most busses on the roads are modern and clean, as are trains, so you have to be really unlucky to catch a genuinely unpleasant one. The only downsides are it is a bit less flexible, and does take slightly more time.