Since I moved home I try to avoid public transport. I get travel sick except on trains, and I don't live near a train line. So I had planned to drive down to the other side of town (actually, it's not even a part of the city!) with my friend to see roller derby this evening. But because I decided at the last minute to go to #barcampbne and chat to lovely geeks at the pub, I decided to catch the train down to Logan.
Some background for those unfamiliar with
I get on the train, and everything is fine until we get to
CAUTION: THE FOLLOWING POST CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT MAY BE OFFENSIVE TO SOME READERS. PARENTS ARE ADVISED THAT CHILDREN UNDER 15 SHOULD BE SUPERVISED BY AN ADULT. ETC. ETC. ETC.
Mr Sweary, drunk teenage lout. Obsessed with two words.
Mr Sweary's Girlfriend, tries to calm boyfriend down, offloads
Mr Sweary's Baby stage right to a member of
Mr Sweary's Pack, composed of a group of teenagers, primarily of Islander descent
Mr Innocent-Bystander, African descent
Mr (Off-Duty) Train Guard, Caucasian descent
Mr Sweary asks Mr Innocent-Bystander what the F he’s F-ing looking at, calls him some further rude names starting with C and N, and appears ready to make it physical. Mr Train Guard asks Mr Sweary to cut the language as his two under-5 kids already learned the letters C and F on
The girl sitting across from me looks over at me clutching my handbag in terror and whispers "I'm scared!" I nod in agreement, and don't envy her one iota as she leaves the train at the next station, where the pack also (finally!) disembarks.
Mr Train Guard sees that I'm shaken up, and assures me the behaviour is par for the course. They will get on the next train and cruise up and down the line for a few hours between the same stops. Apparently it's their regular activity, and Mr Sweary is known to guards as a regular trouble maker.
I explain that I'm not used to this, and he mentions that the north side doesn't get the same amount of trouble. When I mention where I'm actually from he jokes, "half your luck". (He probably doesn't know about the Lexus-induced tension, we try and keep it out of the papers.)
This experience makes me all too aware of my place of privilege in this city, and indeed in this country. Hell, on this planet. I'm educated, middle class, white, employed, addiction-free, and I have a supportive family. I benefit from many other aspects of privilege that are so ingrained I don't even notice them. It’s sobering to be reminded how lucky I am to be in the position I’m in within our society. Hopefully I can remember this without needing to catch public transport in the near future.