Thursday, March 22, 2007

Grumpy Old Man Monologue No. 6 - Knuckle Crackers

I am very excited. Tonight on my daily commute home from work on Melbourne’s exemplary train network I encountered my first knuckle cracking commuter. I can’t actually remember the last time I came across one of these rarities whilst on the train, so I think it’s time for another Grumpy Old Man Monologue. What is that makes someone want to crack their knuckles? The traveller in question this evening boarded the train a few minutes after me and took up the seat opposite - the seat having just been vacated by a commuter who had alighted at the station, allowing me to temporarily uncurl my legs from the uncomfortable position in which I had had to put them due to the woefully insufficient leg room in the carriage. This resumption of the uncomfortable leg position immediately increased the level of grumpiness I was experiencing up to about a 7.5 on the grumpometer (believe it or not I just made that word up – I think I’ll try and introduce it into the everyday vernacular, if you hear it from now on remember I coined it). The Knuckle Cracker, sat relatively quietly for a few minutes until the time came for him to begin his sinovial gymnastics. He pulled at each finger in turn on his right hand then followed quickly by performing the same action on his left hand. Everyone of his fingers made a loud cracking noise as he tugged at it. He almost didn’t seem to know he was doing it by the blank look on his face. He stared, mouth slightly open, out of the window as his joints were pulled at and his chunky jewellery rattled around on his wrists. The sound is almost up with finger nails on the blackboard in my opinion.

Anyway, he performed this digital abuse in the same manner in which the majority of the other stereotypes in my growing list of train travelling ‘Types’ perform their own distinctive behaviours – apparently totally oblivious to the fact that there were people closely surrounding him/her who don’t necessarily want to hear their private conversations, nose blowing / throat clearing techniques or the style of music they prefer.

Note: I heard some anecdotal evidence recently that knuckle cracking is bad for you. Apparently someone performed an experiment over a number of years whereby he cracked the knuckles of just his right (it may have been left I don’t remember) hand over a number of years. Eventually he found that the knuckles he had cracked everyday were constantly painful and inflamed. Urban Myth? Maybe, but I’m not giving it a go.

I’ll be publishing my hierarchical list of human annoyance behaviours seen on public transport soon. It will include detailed personal observation and the types will be divided into biological classes based on observable similarities. It ill be called,

‘Relative Behavioural Trait Differentiation between the species Homo Sapiens Commuter and its subspecies, Homo Sapiens Commuter Annoying Git’

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