4 more characters I see every day on the Tallinn trolley
Read Part One here: 6 characters I see every day on the Tallinn trolley
The Skunk smells like he slept in a septic tank but ironically waited to soil himself until just before he stepped on the trolley. I’ve seen entire trolley cars on the busy morning commute empty because of one skunk in the bank, seemingly oblivious to the fact that his stench is so offensive that people would rather be late to work than endure 20 minutes of smelling it.
The worst part about The Skunk is that there’s no way of appealing to him (or her). What do you say? “Please shower vigorously and burn the clothes you’re wearing before stepping on public transport again.” If the sight of people gagging and covering their noses can’t convince The Skunk that he needs to re-think his personal hygiene regimen, a few kind words won’t be effective, either.
There have been a few times on the trolley that I’ve spotted a young girl decked out in designer clothes from head to toe, texting furiously on a fake-jewel-encrusted iPhone, storing huge bug-eye sunglasses atop her bleached-blonde hair and asked myself, “Did Paris Hilton move to Tallinn?”
Obviously the answer is no – because Paris Hilton would never ride public transport. If the sign of a male rullnokk is to spend all of one’s money on a fancy car and live at home with one’s parents, then the sign of a female rullnokk is to spend all of one’s money on fancy clothes and ride the trolley between Mustamäe and Kesklinn every day. The Socialite appears to be the nucleus of a large social circle, constantly sending and receiving text messages that must certainly relate to tonight’s massive party. But if you could see The Socialite’s phone you’d realize that she’s simply chatting with SMS Laen, “earning” money for a new pair of shoes.
The Transporter has to move his stuff — and what better way to do so than to haul it onto public transport and get in everyone’s way? The Transporter clambers onto the trolley with multiple bags full of what look like knick-knacks from his living room: framed pictures taken in the 1950s, DVDs, clothes, cookware, and Matryoshka dolls. He hauls his bags of junk onto the trolley and lets out a massive sigh. He’s frustrated. He has to share the trolley with commuters.
The Transporter is not rude or inconsiderate; he simply doesn’t understand the meaning of the word public in the phrase public transportation. He interprets the word public to mean my, which is why he is visibly annoyed that so many people have decided to hitch a ride on his personal moving van today. I once had to share a trolley with a transporter moving a TV. He didn’t put it in the aisle, though – that would be impolite to the other passengers. He gave the TV its own seat.
The Whiney Foreigner
The Whiney Foreigner is impossible to miss: iPhone earbuds permanently in place, reading either some impressively urbane book on his Kindle or E Nagu Eesti, underdressed in the winter and the first to don shorts in the summer, and constantly scowling at his fellow passengers, from whom he interprets an offense every minute or so. The Whiney Foreigner rides the trolley in complete silence yet complains incessantly to his friends of the horror of public transportation in Estonia.
“The guy next to me on the trolley smells like a dumpster,” The Whiney Foreigner tweets on his way to work. When an old lady wearing a comically oversized coat sits next to him, squeezing his face against the window, he glares at her but backs down when she glares back even more menacingly. When The Whiney Foreigner finally gets off the trolley at his stop, he exhales conspicuously; a passive-aggressive way of telling everyone that he had been holding his breath for the entire trip to avoid the smell. No one notices.