It’s 1:41 AM. I’ve just got back from watching the Best of the Edinburgh Fest comedy show, a drink at a Melbourne CBD pub and two dinners. Yes, that wasn’t a typo — I had 2 dinners, thanks to my hungry hippo friends.
On my way home, I encountered a strange man on the tram. He had his earphones on and randomly sang parts of a number of songs loudly. He also quite openly complained about the constant beeping of the tram driver. At 1 AM, sharing a tram with a few rowdy people is quite common. These people, however, strike at any time of the day, so the ‘Cinderella Strategy’ or ‘the home before midnight’ tactic does not guarantee that you won’t come across these interesting individuals. The best way is to know what to do if you’re in that situation.
Tip#1: Do nothing. Sometimes, it’s best to ignore the odd one. Dowsing cold water on a fire might aggravate the situation, so it’s best not to look or watch and just continue doing your thing.
Tip#2: Pretend you’re on your phone. If you’re preoccupied, you have an excuse not to react while the whole encounter takes place. Simply put your phone to your ear and start talking. Remember to pause as real conversations are two-way. If you can actually phone someone and have a conversation with them, go for it. Try not to mention anything about the person who’s making you uncomfortable as this might make matters worse.
Tip#3: Move next to a kind and preferably burly man. If it gets unbearable, change seats or just stand if there isn’t an available one. It’s crucial to stand next to a kind-looking and muscular man just in case the odd person goes a bit more mental.
Tip#4: Move closer to the driver. On an empty tram, bus or train, relocate yourself near the driver. Drivers have a magical emergency button at their disposal if the going gets tough. In situations like this, a concerned and muscular driver is heaven-sent.
Tip#5: Pretend you can’t speak or understand English. Obviously, this depends on where you are in the world. Some strange people prey on those they can get a reaction from. Saying “No English, no English” if they start engaging you in conversation might just do the trick.
If following one tip isn’t enough to solve the problem, consider working through the list. If all else fails, do not get off the moving vehicle because you might end up having to deal with this stranger on your own. If you’re in Australia, call 000.