22 March 2006

Pitfalls of Public Transportation, Part VII

Like my new blog-friend over at Tales from the Tube, I'm starting the Outdoor Emergency Care course for the Mt. Hood Ski Patrol. Unlike him, I get to do a lot of studying and reading during my commute to work on Portland's MAX. I have about 2 hours and 40 minutes total, so there's a pretty good opportunity to spend the commute time wisely.

The chief problem, however, is an issue of space. When I started studying the first chapter at home, I did the reading and workbook exercises alternately, topic by topic. On the train, there's no room for that, unless you're going to take up 2 seats. People get irritated by that, especially in the downtown area where MAX is most crowded (I know - what a shock). So, I end up having to alter my approach and try to work within the framework of the width of the seat.
Then you're also dealing with the movement. If you have a long commute, like I do, and you don't get a window seat, you're constantly having to shift around when people get on or off. Definitely a training distractor.

Another issue is the looky-loo or question-asker. Depending on your tolerance for shoulder-surfing, the looky-loo can be a big distraction. I try my best to ignore them, but sometimes you just want to stop, turn, and ask, "you gotta [select expletive] problem?"
The question-asker is frustrating, too, but sometimes less so if they don't take your willingness to oblige their one question as an invitation to waste 20 minutes of your valuable study time engaging in conversation. Usually, I either actually don't hear them over the noise in the car and my headphones, or I pretend that's the case. I know it's rude, but I consider it more rude to assume that one's curiosity is more important than my need to study.