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Use your personality to keep others at bay whilst on public transit

By Tori Taylor, March 12 2020 —

We all have skills. Some of us are wonderful cooks. Some of us can throw a ball really far. Some people can knit whole wardrobes and others can eat entire wheels of Brie without losing control of their bowels. Our different talents make the world go ‘round. 

I have a skill that stands out above all my other attributes. I have learned to combine my Resting Bitch Face (RBF) with my introverted toad-like personality to achieve a peaceful commute from point A to B via public transit. And as this has proven to bring me much joy, I would like to pass on a few tips.


I need to stress the importance of headphones at all times. I don’t believe one should ever leave their home without headphones. They are small but they are mighty. You pop those two little buds into your ears and all of a sudden you have the social ability to talk out loud or glare at anyone who is bold enough to approach you. Headphones are my social security blanket. And they can be yours too. Listen to your favourite music while riding the bus or use them as a cover-up for eavesdropping on the deeply personal conversation that the lady behind you is having without any shame.

Blank stare:

Staring blankly is not something everyone can do. It takes practice. You can do this at home in the mirror. I suggest spending 10–15 minutes a day with this exercise. You need to learn to let all your facial muscles droop. You have to clear the soul from your eyes — this is the hardest part for those with bubbly personalities. Most introverts — true introverts — will have no problem clearing all emotion from their eyes and staring emptily at life around them. Think of it like this — other people are energy-sucks. They will drain your will to live if they sit too close to you on the train and try to engage. You do not want this. You do not need this in your life. If that old man with the newspaper and horrendous sinusitis plops down on your bench, simply slowly turn your head and deliver one long blank stare.


This is your second line of defence. It can be attached to your coat, sweatshirt or a pillowcase stapled to your t-shirt. The aesthetics do not matter as long as you can pull it up over your head. It is important to note that the hood is more powerful than your headphones. Use your hood when the two mid-twenties walking Sephora advertisements in front of you are suffocating all your sanity and causing your left eyelid to twitch as aggressively as your desire to yell, “Mike doesn’t love you, Becky — he is 100 per cent married with three kids. Take off those tarantula falsies and see the signs!”

Mouth breathing:

Practice, practice, practice. This will be the final go-to when your other tactics have failed. If you have your headphones in, are blankly staring, hoodie is up and that neanderthal sits down right beside you — completely unaware of the vibe you‘re hurling around your radius of self-preservation — it is time for the big guns. Constrict your throat, open your mouth and breathe like Anakin in the last years of his life. Darth Vader it, dude. If you can get a slow wheeze going then you’re golden. For extra potency, mouth breath with absolutely no rhythm. I have always found people give me way more personal space if I open-mouth hiss like a feral cat with every exhale.

Take these tips and apply them to your next transit ride through YYC. You will not make friends. You will not need to listen to a stranger’s life story. You will be able to travel inner-city with a little more sanity than usual.

You are welcome.

This article is part of our humour section.

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