Harassment on the Hucknall Line — An unacceptable ‘Trumpian normal’ in Nottingham?
The afternoon tram commute on Monday the 8th of November was likely to be another normal one for many. I am disturbed if this was the case. I’m unsure which part of this was the most unsettling for me: the lad harassing the young girl, his mates who didn’t stop him, the dozen or so people likewise pretending they didn’t hear the lad’s rude comments, or that the girl, herself, has been indoctrinated into a culture where she stood silent in fear of retribution for speaking up.
The girl followed me and many others onto the tram carriage that was already quite full. We walked into a mix of mostly taken seats, including a group of 5 or 6 lads who occupied two rows of seats facing each other. I was positioned standing on the padded seat at the end of the carriage, a row of seated people facing me; only about 2 meters of distance was all that separated me from them so their entire conversation was easily heard — by me and everyone in-between. The unfortunate girl’s only place was in the aisle in the centre of them. Presumably not wanting to make eye contact, she faced at a 45 degree angle away from them, sadly positioning her backside to the direct view of the lad who eventually began speaking his mind.
What preceded his commentary is important context because I believe it illustrates an “I got away with this so I am entitled to continue testing my boundaries” mentality. Shortly after our tram pulled away from the University of Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts platform, the lad began vaping, blowing the smoke into his jacket — to begin with. This proceeded with him blowing the smoke at his mate across from him, as well as turning the device around and blowing smoke directly out, laughing and copping a ‘See what I’m doing!?’ attitude.
Whilst I felt an immediate urge to ask him to wait until he reached his destination to curb his addiction, I instead decided to watch to see if he would continue his downward spiral — which he predictably did.
Other important contexts include the fact that he refused to remove his rucksack from the aisle seat next to him, as he was against the window, preventing anyone else from sitting down. Probably a good thing based on his ultimate actions, but an indicator of his state of mind that anyone close enough to be touched might be in danger. His mate across from him was transporting some form of wooden board, likely a shelf from a bookcase, that was leaned…