First Time Using The Sri Lankan Public Transport System? - Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka
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First Time Using The Sri Lankan Public Transport System?

Here’s a list of annoying people you’re likely to meet!

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Every person who’s travelled in a bus or train has met one or more of these notorious characters. Whether you’re a frequent user or an occasional passenger, you can’t avoid public transport weirdos, but learning how to manage them will save you much grief and potential emotional scarring.

The Judgy-Judgies

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

These (usually) older uncles and aunties will send silent judgmental looks your way. Whether it’s your clothes, hairstyle, make-up or friends, they will be sure to let you know their disapproval. Watch out for the nasty frowns and constant staring (and the shaking of heads) that’s bound to annoy you till you get off the ride. After all, it’s a free world, so why so critical, right? Just ignore their presence or stare right back at them. Most of the judgies will accept defeat and leave you alone after a stare-down.

The Self-Appointed Flirts

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

Often inhabited by the sole male in a group of females, the Self-Appointed Flirt fancies himself highly attractive to the opposite sex. He (wrongly) believes that his charm and charisma are what draws women to him. If you happen to be standing or sitting close to the SAF, expect not-so-funny jokes and in-your-face comments as he tries to start up conversation. This guy is relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled by his exterior; he may pretend he’s interested in you, when really he’s just another guy seeking attention to stroke his ego.

The Creepies

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

AKA Leeches. Their sole purpose in life revolves around a desire to physically attach themselves onto their prey. While the majority of their targets are women, there are some men who also fall victim to the wandering hands (and body parts, yuck!) of leeches. The minor offenders will try to subtly slide their elbows towards your body when you’re seated or try to squish you against the window (or another person). Others will grind against you with their appendages (sometimes in the open). Don’t be afraid to make a fuss or to retaliate. This counts as sexual harassment and it’s a crime which can be reported. Send the message that you’re aware of their intentions and you want no part of it. (My personal faves are the subtle back kick and the elbow jab! The harder and deeper the jab, the better (yes, pun intended).

The Show Boys

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

Also known as the Sobba Kollo. Boisterous in speech and action, these – mainly –youngsters talk in loud tones because they want to be heard by others (even strangers). If you’ve ever been privy to one of their conversations, you know they make no sense at all. Sprouting nonsense just to sound important and extremely opinionated, Show Boys trigger hate at first sight (and sound). Forget about talking to your friends, because the voices of the SK will drown out all regular chit chat. Your best bet? Plug in headphones and turn the volume all the way up. For urgent messages to your bestie sitting right next to you, send her a text. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Teen(age) Wannabes

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

Nope, we’re not talking about adolescents. Mainly in the company of the Self-Appointed Flirts or Show Boys, these older women have a fondness for younger men. If you hear them talking in baby voices, laughing out loud at every joke and paying very close attention to the SAFs and SBs, then you’ve identified them right. You can expect jealous looks thrown your way should the male attention be (unfortunately) diverted to you and be prepared for a barrage of nasty comments. Try not to cringe visibly when they attempt to make cute (not!) mannerisms.

The Howlers

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

You won’t know if they do it intentionally or they’re simply unaware of this extremely maddening habit, but they discuss the latest gossip about Malini’s affair with so-and-so (“Ekaney Meya, can’t she find a better boy noh?”) and their home problems at the very tops of their voices. While overhearing the conversations can be entertaining, it’s also annoying when all you want is to get to your destination as fast as possible and in peace. Again, headphones on!

The Seat-Hoes

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

These wacksters are the first to rush into a train or bus, frantically hunting for a seat. They won’t think twice about pushing others aside or knocking an elder person over in their quest. Watch how their eagle eyes spot the empty spaces; and make sure to stand clear of their almost karate-like moves as they attempt to park themselves in a hard to reach seat—a truly thrilling example of survival of the fittest. You’re better off stepping aside and letting the stampede pass you by. At least, you’ll be in one piece at the end of the mad rush.

The Spreadsters

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

Most of the time, it’s the men who’re guilty of this, spreading their legs while seated, as if they’ve got a flower blooming between their thighs. (Yes, like Zayn Malik’s “Pillow Talk” video.) If you’re unlucky enough to sit next to a manspreader, you will either be squashed or find yourself almost falling off the seat. Give them a gentle nudge or hang onto something for dear life. In a train, you’ll feel violated while in a bus, you’re scared that at every bend or brake you’ll end up on the floor. Big ‘no’: You can live without that kind of embarrassment. Be brave enough to ask them to give you some breathing space and room to sit properly without the fear of falling off.

The Bag Hoggers

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

Wherever you might be, prepare to find yourself whacked by an aunty donning a large backpack, satchel or handbag. Refusing to place the bag on the upper shelves or at their feet, the Bag Hoggers make themselves a nuisance by relentlessly hitting everyone around, especially when it gets crowded…but nothing will persuade them to get rid of the burden. You might want to protect your glasses, mobiles and earphones because these people just can’t stand still. You can always ask them politely to take the bag off or push (i.e. shove) the bag away, hoping they’ll get the hint.

The Octopus Couples

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

Get ready for a traumatizing experience if you spot one of these. Their excessive PDA (smooching, cuddling, face-touching) makes it really uncomfortable for others to witness. It’s like watching a badly filmed adult movie when their hands slip anywhere and everywhere. You’ll be a spectator to highly gross, pukeworthy moments and longing sighs, but just pat yourself silently on the back for never having stooped that low, and then avert your eyes.

The Dasher Flashers

Yomal Vajrajith Payagala

If you’re ever unlucky enough to be victim of a flasher, scream ‘Help’ at once! These males live for the glorious moments when they put their cucumbers on display. Since it is also an illegal act, raise your voice and make these pervs regret the day they decided to let it all hang. You just wanted to get to work but no, someone had to ruin your day! Of course, getting over the horrifying ordeal is going to take time, and a lot of hand sanitizer, but you’ll know to be extra vigilant the next time!

*Disclaimer: Cosmo is not responsible for anyone who feels offended by the aforementioned individuals.


This article was originally published as ‘First Time Using The Sri Lankan Public Transport System? Here’s A List Of Annoying People You’re Likely To Meet!’ in the September 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan Sri Lanka. For more real life situations, grab a copy of our latest magazine.

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