Tuesday, July 31, 2012

How to ride the subway

I realize this is a little out of left field, and I apologize in advance if you don't like snarky condescension. Feel free to press "next" in your reader and move on. I want to share some tips on how to ride the subway, specifically in New York City, but please feel free to adapt to use on any public transport.

Summer in New York means tourist season. Well, actually, it's always tourist season here, but it is high tourist season in the summer. People come from all over the world just to ride our subways. Right? That's why they come. Many of these people don't know how to ride the subway, and are cruisin' for a bruisin' if they keep up this behavior, so I offer my advice.

This may also be used as a refresher for New Yorkers who have forgotten how it's done.

I'm not going to go over the very basics; you should know to give your seat up to a pregnant woman, an elderly person, or someone who needs it more than you. New Yorkers have a big problem doing this. Just do it, you lazy so-and-so. Come on. Another basic: don't hold the doors. People have places to be that are not on this train. You know this too. So let's move on, and start at the beginning.



ENTER THE TRAIN

Go ahead and walk all the way into the train. Do not stop in the doorway. Get right in there and make a space for yourself where you can hold onto a bar. Don't worry about when it's time to get off the train - even in a crowded train, people will move aside to let you off. And if they don't? Well, this is NYC, you can do some gentle nudging through the crowds. That is a-ok. The most important thing is that you enter the train and let other people also enter the train.

NEXT, HOLD ON

This part is fun, because it means the train is moving. Hold on. What, you don't want to hold on? You will fall into someone, and that someone is going to be annoyed, if not angry. Hold the bar. WITH YOUR HAND.

DO NOT hold the bar with your butt-cheeks. DO NOT lean against the bar. Just hold the bar with your hands and your fingers.

LET'S TALK ABOUT PERSONAL SPACE

Living in NYC means giving up on having a lot of space. Few have yards, few have big apartments. That little tiny bit of space we can manage is very valuable. So, don't touch me.  Don't let your stuff touch me. Take off your backpack. Huge purse? Hold it in your hand, not on your shoulder. But most importantly: do not sit so close to me.

This is good spacing technique.

Some trains have defined seats. You can tell that three people, or two people, can sit there. But some trains have benches, and you may not be sure how many people can sit in that space, so let me tell you: THREE. Three people can sit in that space. You may see a little room, you may think a fourth person can get in there. And maybe they can, but ONLY if you know both people on either side of you and they don't mind touching you. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you squish yourself between strangers. You are touching them. There is a no touching rule on subways!

FINALLY: SHHHHHHHH

Obviously, you can talk. You can chat. Don't yell, use your inside voice.  Don't get too excited and start hollering. Some of us are reading, or sleeping, or preparing ourselves for work, or recovering from work, and we don't want to hear it.

OK, that's all. Sorry for the all-caps and the snark. Here's a picture of my cat so you know there's no hard feelings.


14 comments:

  1. You know this is a topic near and dear to my heart after having ridden BART for many, many years. One of the biggest joys of working from home is that I rarely have to get on that damn train anymore.

    I have a couple of other additions.

    If you're going to be riding the train in the middle of summer, chances are you're going to be sweating. Since it's in the middle of summer it's going to be crowded. This means you're going to have to raise your arms to hold onto the bar. For the love of all that is good in this world, do the short people a favor and WEAR DEODORANT. Please, please, please.

    Do not eat on the train. No one wants to smell your food. No one wants to get your pizza grease on them.

    Do not talk on your cell phone. You only look like an asshole.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, yes and yes. Luckily, the subways at this time prevent phone-talking (please never let that happen). I was going to add the food thing, with the addition not to place your coffee/soda on the seat because it will spill and put that precious seat out of commission!

      Delete
  2. Phone talking happens above ground in queens and it is horrible. I agree with all the things. I will spread your message far and wide. They should give out a pamphlet at the designated arriving airport.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I should have included a notice to travel guide publishers: free for use in your publication.

      Delete
  3. Also, wait for board the train from the side of the doors and let people get off before you enter the car.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! And it's always these same people are tripping over themselves to get seats. Chill out, peeps.

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  4. I love snarky condensation. I mean condescension. I hate the heat of someone else's outer thigh resting on mine - NO TOUCHING!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ew, thigh-to-thigh is nooo good. I feel similarly about upper-arms touching with bare skin.

      My condensation though is very personable and straight-forward, never snarky or sarcastic.

      Delete
  5. Another snarky tip: for the love of gawd, do not eat on the subway! I don't want to smell your hard boiled eggs on the subway in the morning, nor do I want to smell your Big Mac. There is a reason why subways don't have dining cars....it's not a place to eat!

    Also, if you are hungover, stay home. Don't take the train. Nobody likes barf on a train.

    Granted, I have never taken a ride on the NYC subway system, but I spent too many hours of my life rotting away on the TTC in Toronto. I'm sure you know this pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And nobody likes *to* barf on the subway.

      NYC, Toronto, San Fran - they are all the same problems. I think the culprits of these are people who live places where there is no public transportation - or they've just never had the pleasure of taking it.

      Do you remember the TTC used to have signs up about subway etiquette? About taking off your backpacks, and putting feet up, etc. We need like 2 dozen more of those tips posted!

      Delete
  6. Ugh, I hate when people lean against the pole. I poke them when they lean against my hands because, come on, not cool.

    Love the cat picture!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the pole-leaners are the most common and, to me, the most annoying. Why do they need to get so intimate with the pole?? My friend just gives them a knuckle to the back, but I'm too timid for that kind of action!

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  7. If you are a male, remember to spread each of your legs at a 45 degree angle from the center line at the very minimum. Because your junk is really THAT BIG that it should take up at least one sitting space to your right and left.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OBVIOUSLY. Or you could be like the dude this morning who had to have his arms at his sides so they were touching my waist. It was no good.

      Delete

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