How to be the king of your daily commute

The Dart train hit boulders on the line

Deborah McGee

It’s 6am and the bedroom’s tool of torture - known in civilised society as the alarm clock - blasts out yet another reminder that it’s time to get up.

Time to stand on that dark freezing cold platform and wait for the train of misery to pull into the station full of lost souls listlessly listening and playing with their phones. That's right, nobody cares.  Evidently, the will to live is wearing thin here. But it doesn’t have to be this way:not if you’re the King of your own commute. Wise up: use this time to your advantage. And, with an average of 40 hours a month clocking up on that rail-track, there’s a lot of free time available to master the art of making the dreaded commute work for you.

How to be first to board the train: Play up to the minds of superstitious Irish people. On the platform, before the train pulls in, start off a Chinese whisper about how it’s 'shockin’ bad luck to be first to board the train'. Then sound off loudly about a recurring dream you keep having that the train will derail. Or simply use your powers of distraction and to the caffeine deprived commuters shout out: “Look: free coffee” and make a run for it.

Make your seat an extension of your office:  Don’t look negatively on that seat on the carriage: see it as an extension of your place of work – a room with a view, but one that moves! If in a four-seater, quickly mark your territory: take your laptop out, place a cheesy photo of you and your kids next to it and prop up a desk calendar – one with inspirational quotes preferably like: “Be Awesome Today!” Or “I’ve worked too hard to quit now.” People will avoid you - guaranteed.

Precious time to bond with your loved ones: Time on the train means time away from your family, or better half. Use this opportunity to get the kids on Skype before they’ve even had their Cheerios. You’re not in different time zones, but you are now in different counties, so it all counts.

How to get a seat to yourself: Fake a fit of coughing, a miserable barking cough if you can muster one. The person next to you will soon move to another carriage, or pretend to get off at the next stop. And if that doesn’t unsettle your commuting neighbour then start taking random selfies of the two of you together.

How to get a four-seater to yourself: Frantically scratch your head and phone your mother in a panic to openly discuss old cures she swears by for head lice.

How to get a whole carriage to yourself: Open up a lunchbox of mackerel, with a side serving of sardines. Finish with Stinking Bishop Cheese on a selection of garlic and cheese crackers.

Coping with nosey over the shoulder readers: It’s your newspaper, not theirs, so how can you make them stop reading it. If they don’t get the hint after deep breaths of annoyance, then just put your umbrella up.

Increase your brainpower – get a degree: Spend those 40 hours or so studying on-line. The possibilities are endless from Existentialism in Literature and Film, to linguistics to philosophy where you’ll find answers to the meaning of life. Plus, Irish Rail offers free Wi-Fi!

Reinvent yourself: Reserve your seat in advance under a stand out name. Impress other commuters by giving yourself a title perhaps, like Lord or Lady Rothschild of House Barksdale.

Get the body of your dreams: 40 hours a month, means 40 hours of exercising in your seat doing pelvic tilts, arm circles and butt scrunches. Or avoid sitting altogether and continuously walk up and down the aisle. When the train stops hop out and do five press-ups at each station.

Lead a secret life: Be the person your friends and family could never believe you could be. In other words, become super humanely popular. New people and therefore new possibilities and contacts surround you. Befriend everyone on the train. Instigate this by starting a lottery syndicate. Once you make connections with the familiar faces on board become a key organiser of events: start a book club; or daily speed-dating where every station stop is a cue to move onto the next person. All aboard the love train everyone – choo choo!

Entertain yourselves silly: Every time your train passes a heavily congested area of traffic start a Mexican wave. You’re on the train, you’re united together, you’re speedily moving towards your destination and you’re not outside in the rain getting soaked. You know it: you’re having the last laugh.