It is customary for the cloth cap wearing and always lower class Northerners to laugh and point at Southerners.
One of the many things they point out is how we, yes I use ‘we‘ since I include myself as a fully trained Southerner thrown out of London and forced to live with the lower class Northerners, don’t talk to strangers on the underground trains. On those occasions when Northerners travel to London, typically to get drunk and beat-up supporters of football teams they don’t like, they are always bemused by the lack of socialising amongst strangers. I have tried to explain the three core reasons why this is.
Firstly, the ambient noise of an underground train, especially a ‘tube’ (one that travels in tunnels rather than trenches – ask a train nerd which lines are which!) is deafening. The worst ones, like the Victoria line, can induce headaches and probably contribute to premature deafness. Why would anybody want to struggle having a conversation in such a din? Those who travel regularly know to shut themselves away with earphones on listening to music rather than the jarring clash of metal wheel on metal rail. Hence why they aren’t talking to random strangers.
Secondly, London is seriously multicultural. British multiculturalism means that there are hundreds of ethnically diverse cultures occupying neighbouring geographical areas, but not bothering to have a common language. English, a very minority language, is not compulsory, or indeed necessary for those who keep themselves within their ‘own kind’ and are not allowed by their culture to ‘mix’ with outsiders. So, random talking to strangers who can’t hear you above the noise is pointless without a common language.
And thirdly, 90% of those on an Underground train are psychotic nutters ready to stab anybody who accidentally makes eye contact.
That’s why regular commuters in London keep themselves to themselves.
In complete contrast it is impossible to sit privately on a bus in, say, Liverpool. Just contemplating life, or enjoying the journey is impossible.
Drunk/stoned men, or old women (probably not drunk/stoned, but usually on medication) will deliberately sit next to you, and without you asking, will tell you a whole load of shit about themselves and their life. They’ll do it using four thousand words where four would have done, and will slowly and laboriously paint a picture of people and events you don’t care about. They will speak at four hundred words a minute barely taking a breath until the pain of the torture makes you want to put your hands around their throat until they can’t ever again take a breath. The headache these speech-vomiting women give is far greater than that from the ambient noise on a London Underground train.
On top of all the aforementioned communication issues, one of the statements made by older people is that smart phones are also making us anti-social.
These annoying Luddites harp back to a time that never existed, except in their deranged minds.
Back in the olden black-and-white days commuters isolated themselves not by reading stuff on their phones, but by reading stuff in their newspapers. Or physical books.
So, Luddites, the habits haven’t changed, just the tools. The tech isn’t making us any more anti-social than we were in the first place!