Subway Bingo

by - 4:31 PM

When I was in high school, my day began with cycling to school. Along the way I'd make obscene gestures at people who blocked the road with their bikes, I'd flee from old people who suddenly found their driver's licence in a drawer and want to see if their T-Ford still works. I'd zigzag through the mobs of overanxious Mommy's who are bringing their toddlers to kindergarten, I'd overtake my slow cycling Latin teacher and get almost hit by a car at least once a week. Cycling to school was an adventure, every day.
But then I went to college. There's no such things as 'living on campus' in the Netherlands and even though my college is only 9k from my house, I am not going to cycle there every day. Cycling in a small town is dangerous already, you don't want to know what the last 4k through Rotterdam are like.
So I pretty much rely on public transportation. And compared to the thrills of cyclings like a maniac, sitting in the bus and the subway is lame. I've fallen asleep a couple of times, almost missing my stop. I had to do something to keep myself from falling asleep. Reading a book or listening to music only made things worse. I needed something new.
So I started observing people. There are so many crazy kinds of people you can encounter during 15 minute subway ride. I just had to do something with it. After a while I started counting how many I saw of each type, which quickly turned into a game I like to call Subway Bingo (although it's got nothing to do with Bingo and I play it during my busride too).
For every type I spot I get points or lose them. These are the types and things I've spotted so far.
  • Friend +30
  • Frenemy -10
  • Old classmate you liked +20
  • Old classmate you disliked -15
  • Old classmate coming over to talk +50
  • Hobo wishing everyone a good morning +100
  • Smelly stranger sitting next to you -25
  • Person taking a nap +10
  • People losing their balance when the bus/train stops +5
  • High school kids talking about their maturity 'because they're in 9th grade already!' +10
  • Person screaming way too personal information in a phone +15 (unless it's really disgusting info that scars your brain, then it's -15)
  • People listening to music at its loudest +10 (5 bonuspoints if the music doesn't seems to fit the character)
  • Overexcited tourists +15
  • Stroller/wheelchair blocking the doors -30
  • Bus/train leaving the moment you've almost reached it -25
  • Catching every connection right on time +30
  • Awkward eye contact -10
For example, Friday was a not-so-great day. I started out with an 'Old classmate I disliked' (-15). Then I noticed someone was listening to Shake it Off by Taylor Swift so loud that the whole bus could enjoy it. Mentally awarding myself with ten points for noticing(+10), I looked around and found this ghetto queen listening to miss Swift. Five bonus points coming my way!(+5)
I jumped out off the bus and caught my train right on time. Another 30 points, things were looking good (+30). Until I made awkward eye contact with that old class mate I didn't like...(-5).
Sure, if the bus would WAIT A SECOND
I reached college early with a grand total of 25 points, a number I had to keep in mind because the game continued when I went home.
At 12.10pm I left college, half-ran to the nearest Subway station aaaand... missed my train. I was two seconds late T.T (-25). Luckily my score went up again when one of my current classmates came to sit next to me and I could add thirty friend points to my total (+30). I also noticed some Japanese/Korean/Chinese tourists looking a bit too happy about being in a smelly train (+15).
As my classmate got out, someone in front of her stumbled the moment the train stopped. Another five points added (+5). I had 50 points when I got to the bus station, a good score.
I saw my bus, I was confident I was going to catch it. I was having a 50 point day, of course I was going to catch it! I broke into a run, would've outrun Usain Bolt if you ask me, but the bus left without me anyway (-25). Probably because the bus driver was just evil: from all sides people came running and he just took off without us. One of the people running with me was an old high school classmate I actually liked (+20). We sat down together and got on the next bus, but my total was stuck at 45 points.

And so an average day using Dutch public transportation came to an end. It might have been a sucky one, but I didn't fall asleep, not even once! My total wasn't as high as it could be, but without seeing that happy hobo who wishes everyone a good morning when he gets on the bus, it never gets higher than 75.
Anyway, it takes some getting used to. The public transportation is fairly good in the Netherlands and when you keep your eyes open you'll see the funniest most unexpected things ever - or maybe I should say: if you can keep your eyes open :)

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6 Fellow Ramblers

  1. Wow, that sounds like a nice way to make something boring seem fun! I used to go to school in a school bus- and to be honest, it was rather like an adventure every day because there was always something happening xD alot like your cycling days (: nothing life-threatening of course. :D

    1. There's just something about going to school... do it the right way and you have your own little adventure a day! I wish I would have gone to school by school bus, but that's another thing we don't have in the Netherlands. Do you miss going to school by school bus?

  2. Haha such interesting post! I didn't know riding the subway could be fun!
    The Journeys' of my beating heart

    1. Thank you :) The thing is, if you don't play games like this, riding a subway is überboring :P
      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Oh my gosh this made me giggle, you have such a great writing style! (And PS I'm hosting a writing / photo contest, maybe you'd like to take a look?) xx

    Emily | Lynde Avenue

    1. Thank you so much :D Your compliment made my day :)
      I'll be sure to check you challenge out!


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