Hello readers! How would you describe your commute to work this morning? Were you trapped in your car, being subjected to some early morning traffic? Did the radio not play what you wanted it to? Did someone cut you off? Was your commute mildly unpleasant, the transportation equivalent of a melon-heavy fruit salad?
Guess what I did?
*Note that I simply chose this morning's subway incident. The subway is like the lottery: some days could hold the elation of escaping into the armpit of a tall businessman, other days one may experience the sweet terror of being trapped in the car with an actual crazy person. The NYC subway commute is life's version of craps, except you always roll "Snake Eyes" and never a Boxcar.
If you are a loyal reader reader (ha!) you will be familiar with my morning commute; it is a science, nay, a religion. Getting out of the door is only half the battle, my friends. Next comes Satan's Playground, otherwise known as the New York City Mass Transit system.
Allow me to illustrate that of which I speak by simply describing my most recent subway rides. To wit, yesterday I was innocently standing in the vestibule of the 2 train reading my New York magazine which i had folded into the smallest possible configuration as to not insult, or touch, any actual real-life New Yorkers. Next, at Borough Hall, I was crushed ass-to-belly with a postal worker. This was a good day, readers! I knew that this was my postal patron saint of comfort. No-one in their right mind would mess with a city employee, let alone a city employee with another city employee (namely, me) attached to them. That is akin to messing with Charlie Manson while he's suckling on Jeffrey Dahmer!
The MTA is a special breed of mass transit, a cruel mistress indeed. Every day it asks you to prove what you're working with in no uncertain terms. Can you deal with fervent proselytizing on a hangover? Can you bite your tongue while an obviously ridiculous fight breaks out?
Later that same day, as I was on my way to grad school:
The scene: a busy 6 train from 59th street to 68th st. An old man with a cane is pushed along with the ebb and flow of people cramming into the subway car.
Young man (40 years junior to cane man): "Yo homes, touch me one more time imma beat that ass!"
Old Man (somewhat indignantly): "I was pushed, (gesturing feebly towards the masses) there's people...I can't..."
Young Man: "Yo, fuck you motherfucker. Touch me again. Touch me one more time. I told you. Imma whoop you, son."
Old Man: ???
Young Man: *Grumbles menacingly for the rest of the ride*
Did anyone step in? No they most certainly did not. You know why? Because that was nothing. If the young man had come good on his threat and actually proceeded to beat the old man's ass it still would have been a minute before anyone did anything because we all would have wanted to see the old man's game. Maybe he would have displayed his cane-fighting skills and delivered an old fashioned ass-kicking to the other guy. You can't count anyone out on the subway. This is a town that found it acceptable to lock its commuters on board a train with a man who had just stabbed another passenger to death in front of them
This being said, I feel it is my duty, nay, my responsibility as a human, to educate you as to the "dos" and 'do not dos" of the New York City Mass Transit System. I don't want you, my dear readers, to be like those unfortunate tourists I see gripping the handrails in terror while young children pop 'n lock wildly around them.
Do Not Do: The Pole Lean
I am serious when I say that, if jail time was not a certainty, I would eat the face off any person who did this move in my presence. Hey! Guess what? Those poles are there for a reason: 1) they make it so that I have something to hold on to, and 2) I can avoid grabbing onto some irate high school student who will shank me.
Do Not Do: The Man Move
Are you hiding the crown jewels in there, guy? If not, how about closing your legs a little so that you don't take up three peoples' seat with your polterwang.
Do: Keep Your Grooming Confined to Your Bathroom.
Although this image comes from Subwaydouchery.com, I have personally watched people clip, paint, buff and pluck all manner of bodily appendages while riding our fair transit system. STOP THAT! I don't want to watch you freeze off your wart with computer dust cleaner at 7.45am. I really don't.
Do: Avoid rats whenever possible.
I'm not gonna lie. If you use the subway you will share it with rats. Not mice, rats. Sometimes they are just on the tracks, simply trying to get some fries to bring home to their baby mama.
Other, bad, bad, times they get on your car.
Do not perform your stretching routine on the Subway. Yikes!
Do Not Do: Subway Love
I know, I know, sometimes when you are on the subway that romantic feeling takes over. Between the fluorescent lighting, the rats and the garbled service change announcements it can feel like Shangri La. However, please resist the urge to make sweet, sweet bum-love to your boo. Keep your sweats on and wait until you reach the platform before you begin making the beast with two backs.
So, there you have it. I hope I have shed some light on subway etiquette. Please keep these tips in mind next time you visit our fair city.