At that very point here&now, you can choose between replying compassionately or being annoyed, between favouring their need for a bit of humane communication (because we're social beings and isolation is a major cause of suffering) or your " 'me' time"…
Public transports and supermarket queues are spiritual realms…
Of course, compassion does not mean accepting abuse… Regularly though, what's called 'abusive' is only so because the victim feels that way! Hence, such a situation is not only an opportunity for compassion, but also for "right speech": are you mindful of using a word like 'abuse' appropriately, and not as a quick judgement or an easy "get-away clause" nobody would dare challenge?
Trust yourself! "Seeing things as they are" includes accepting your limits too… You cannot just shoulder the whole world now? So be it! Playing the hero will not change that, but doing nothing will not help either… You have to creatively engage here&now, find a Middle Way here&now! The only fact you cannot escape is that your experience is asking a response from you right now, and the response you will give is your responsibility, your karma… Doing or not doing is already a choice: you cannot actually escape the responsibility of your freedom! Lying about it will not be enough!
Work on the tetralemma: neither boundaries nor non-boundaries, neither both nor none.
Appropriate response is neither found in "us vs. them", nor found in pretending "we're all one and everything is perfect." Even when it's hard to go beyond this dichotomy (essentialism vs. nihilism), that's the goal of holy life! Call it 'forgiveness' or 'compassion' if you must, or 'freedom' if you wish… The fact is: this situation might not be your choice (even if it was your karma, the situation probably stems out of old ignorance), but your response here&now is your choice.
What qualities do you want to embed? Bitterness or forgiveness?
3'19'' video h/t
by Janine Ibbotson:
I hope you enjoy this short animated story...Click on image to continue:
The Misguided Monk