Top 5 ways to deal with an odd character on a tram

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.