Amazing photo by Friday Mornings
If you’ve ever heard the song ‘Northcote – So Hungover’ by the Bedroom Philosopher, you get the impression the sort of people who ride the number 86 tram are very alternative and cool. Well, maybe not cool, but harmless. I’m here to tell you that there is nothing cool nor harmless about the 86 tram, and I will be murdered on it one day. Without further adieu, let me take you for a ride on the 86 line.
For those of you unfamiliar with the 86 tram route in Melbourne, it goes through the heart of city and all the way to the north in Bundoora. It passes through such hip, trendy suburbs such as Brunswick and Northcote. On the journey, it also passes through quite a few predominantly scumbag suburbs, like Reservoir and Preston. If you get off the tram in one of these suburbs, you may well be sodomised with a rusty blade, or fall into a cue at the nearest Centrelink. I don’t really know and, to be blatantly honest, I’m never going to find out for myself.
Basically, because tram inspectors are a myth created by Public Transport Victoria, all the crazies get on the 86 tram intent on causing a fucking riot. To kick things off, there’s an ice addict that gets on every few days and tries to pick fights with any unsuspecting males. Thankfully I’ve not yet been caught in one of these uninvited battles. A friend of mine was cornered thanks to her own politeness when a drunk homeless (looking) man started to talk to her in depth about employment opportunities. After a lengthy chat, he asked her for money, gave it back because it wasn’t gold coin, touched her leg and called her beautiful, then pissed himself and left the poor girl to sit in his piss.
Not long a go an old Italian lady started screaming at the top of her lungs for someone to call the police after a man with a rats tail sat next to her. That’s right; it was a walk-by-sitting. The poor guy just got up, sat next to me and everyone got on with their lives. The other day a young girl got on the tram, dressed as if she was going to a party at Charlie Sheen’s house, but young enough for me to conclude this was her first trip on public transport without holding her mothers’ hand. She was the type of girl who, instead of saying ‘Australia’, says ‘Straya’. Or instead of ‘Do you mind putting on a contraceptive Gareth? I am far too young to be worrying about pregnancy and venereal diseases,’ she’d say ‘Shove it up my ass Gary, I can’t shit out a baby!’ Really classy. She just wasn’t sure where she was supposed to be going, or how a tram worked, or who her her father was; all of life’s big questions snowballing in her little tiny brain. She rang her friend and spat out what I think was English, asked her politely ‘where da fuq she was going’ and then asked everyone on the tram where she was. Apparently she had the memory of a goldfish, but the body of a pre pubescent fox. She asked me which stop McDonald’s was at, so I told her it was the next stop. She got off. Six or seven stops later I got off the tram, where McDonald’s actually was, without a slutty child in tow.
Of course there is the infamous story by a commuter named Jonathan Rivett, who wrote a letter to Yarra Trams describing his ordeal with an aggressive drunk man apparently quoting Shakespeare a little to loudly and closely to the poor commuters that day. You can read his story here and you can even read Yarra Trams response right here.
Of course the 86 tram isn’t all bad though. I had a great chat to an old man sitting beside me on the way back from a football match. He was genuinely praising me and my supported club after we had finally won our first game of the year. It was so heartfelt, and he was so happy for me, that I had regained faith in the humanity of the 86 tram riders. Then, when he said his goodbye and waltzed of the tram, he was promptly egged by waiting teenagers on the street.
Though the 86 is extremely detrimental to your health, it’s genuinely fun and exciting. Like bungee jumping is exciting before you realise there’s no rope. It’s like living a reality TV show. Only everyone is on drugs and wants to kill you.
Written by Christian Eva
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