Obnoxious Subway Behavior

September 23, 2008 at 8:55 pm 3 comments

You know what really G’s my G? People behaving poorly on mass transit. This is clearly a big topic with us Googly-Eyers, as is almost anything relating to the subway. As residents of New York City, each of us rides the subway on a pretty much daily basis, and while we love it for it’s cheapness (relative to the cost of owning a car), environmental friendliness, and all-around convenience, it also subjects riders to being crammed into a small space with a bunch of strangers, some of them smelly and weird. Ah, the double-edged sword of the MTA, how I love you and loathe you all at once! So following here is my cumulative list of obnoxious subway behavior, in an effort to stop it and curb subway rage by creating awareness. If you do any of these things, you know who you are.

1) Leaning against the pole. I think Betty may have mentioned this in another post, and even if she didn’t, she’s been vocal about it on many occasions. The subway is a mode of transportation, not a strip club, and the pole is meant for a hand (or two, if you suffer from vertigo) not your entire skanky body. Even if your body is clean, fragrant and well-dressed, molesting the pole with it keeps other people from holding onto it. If the car is fairly empty, then lean all you want, but when the car is crammed and you’re treating yourself to a backrest whilst your fellow riders go flying at sudden stops, you might be kind of a jerk. So unless you want people’s knuckles and jagged hand jewelry digging into your back flab, save the full body resting for your La-Z-Boy at home.

2) Leg spreading. Another issue only when the car is moderately crowded, and something Olivia talks about in great detail in this post, is when (typically) men feel the need to spread their legs as close to 180 degrees as possible, regardless of the infringement of other riders’ personal space. Yeah, we get it, you don’t want your balls all scrunched up. Well I’m sick of holding in my farts but you don’t see me fumigating the train just because I ate too much broccoli last night. How about some respect for other people and, here’s a strange concept, exercising some self-control. Please keep your legs parallel to your torso, especially if you or the person next to you is wearing shorts. Especially if you’re wearing shorts. (No free-balling, please.)

3) Holding the doors. So when that angry MTA employee screams, “Stand clear of the closing doors!!!!!” he’s not doing it for his health. He’s doing it because you’re fucking annoying. I haven’t got all day to stand around while you delay the train so you’re fifty brothers and sisters who are halfway down the block get their asses to the platform, and onto the train. I wish your arm would get stuck. FOREVER. This is only okay if there is a little old woman or someone holding a baby trying to get on the train. Otherwise, listen to the screaming man on the intercom!!

4) Not letting people off the train. This is so frustrating. It’s rush hour, and you’ve just worked an 8, 9, 10 hour day. You’re standing around, waiting in the inferno that is the subway for that goddamn F train with about 8,000 other people. Finally, when the train does arrive, it’s packed! But good news! Lots of people are getting off, and hence, allowing room for you and your fellow refugees to get on the train. But when the doors finally open, every sheep on that platform with you feels the need to rush into the train, forcing the people trying to exit back in. And guess what? No room! Plus, now you have to wait for the people trying to get off to struggle for oxygen and the exit. Nobody wins! Let’s exercise some patience here people. Stand OUT OF THE FUCKING WAY of people trying to get off, and when they do, ta-da! Plenty of room for us all. Was that so hard?

5) Get IN the goddamn train. Similar to #4, it’s really annoying when the train is packed but people getting on completely ignore all that empty space between the doors. They step inside and just stop, because of course, they’re the only people who need to ride the train! I just thought it would be fun to stand around in 90 degree heat and watch the F come and go. This problem is partially the result of #4, and often leads to #3. 

6) Crazy/poor people. Okay, some people can’t help that they’re crazy/poor/both. And I feel sorry for them, I really do. I wish them all the best and hope that one day luck smiles upon them and they get their lives together and land on their feet. But riding the subway is often stressful enough without some crazy bastard pacing the train, scratching his head and shouting gibberish about how the Hamburglar stole his earmuffs, or a toothless woman in Reeboks coming creepily close and begging for change so she doesn’t have to be a prostitute. It’s not that I don’t have compassion, because I do (hell, I can’t even afford health insurance), but this kind of behavior in an enclosed, underground space is just not cool. If a confrontation were to ignite, bystanders would have nowhere to escape. But I guess if you’re crazy/poor/both, you don’t really give a shit or care about common rules of etiquette. Well, fair enough. Some people on the subway, however, aren’t legitimately crazy – they are just annoying and engage in crazy behavior, like singing loudly along with their iPods or having horrible body odor. C’mon people, what’s your excuse?

7) Slowness in the station. Yeah, I know they have all these retarded ads about how you shouldn’t run in the subway station or on the stairs, but when I get stuck behind some slow person that is taking up the entire stairwell and the train is visibly or aurally known to be COMING or AT the fucking platform, I think it’s more dangerous to be taking your time. Because I am going to shove you down those stairs if you make me miss my train. Yeah, another one might be coming in ten minutes, but I don’t have ten minutes! Haven’t you ever seen 24? Every second between me and my couch and TV at home is threatening American life as we know it. So move your ass down those stairs or get the hell out of the way. This also applies to people who are baffled by the quantum physics and aerodynamics involved in swiping a MetroCard in stations with only one or two turnstiles. 

8 ) Pukers. It’s late at night, you’ve just spent a wild night out, and now you’re ready to go home. Or, your friends are ready to drag you home via the most affordable method – ye olde subway. But you’re all too intoxicated to really care that you’ll be puking all over the place. Personally, I think I’ve only been on the train once while a guy was puking, and I hope it’s the only time. And to be honest, I guess for most people the only other option is to take a cab and puke all over that. You can weigh the pros and cons on either side, but if you’re gonna puke, you’re gonna puke. So, I guess, do your best to try not to puke. Or maybe stay above ground until you can safely hurl where there’s some circulating air so we’re not all breathing recycled vomit fumes. Tanks.

Among other, minor subway annoyances are: crying babies, people with giant shopping carts or bikes, large groups of loud people or schoolchildren, and people who sit between two seats and take up more than their fair share of room (sort of like leg-spreaders.) Basically what it all comes down to is respect and common courtesy. Treat others as you wish to be treated is what I always say. If you don’t think you’d like to ride the subway with someone’s sweaty, hairy armpit pressed against your face, try to make an effort to keep your pits to yourself as much as possible. It’s as simple as that. If we all observe a few simple rules (all put forth fairly plainly by those crazy people operating the MTV intercoms) riding the subway could be a much more bearable, un-stressful experience. Happy commuting!


Entry filed under: Alison, You Know What Really G's My G?. Tags: , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. parkrangerolivia  |  September 24, 2008 at 9:39 am

    Did you read that Bust article about those women who ride the subway wearing airline uniforms and hand out treats and scold people who aren’t riding it properly? It was pretty fascinating.

  • 2. alisaurus  |  September 24, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    I did! Via my sweet free subscription to Bust. I wish those ladies would come onto my train sometime.

  • 3. neekaps  |  September 26, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    this is such a quintessential alison post


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