Friday, August 1, 2008


You'd think after all of the warnings, all of the underground posters and all of the publicity, commuters would learn some subway etiquette. Fact of the matter is, there are plenty of you out there that just don't get it or just don't care. More than ever, riders need to change their selfish attitudes. The subway system is experiencing record ridership because of rising gasoline prices. The trains are packed.

Yet, why is it, there's always a handful, if not more, of rude passengers on board each train car? Take the fat older Asian woman who was standing right in front of one of the subway doors, trying to get on the train while dozens of others were trying to squeeze around the fat f_ _K! It's not just fat Asian women who do this. No violators of this common courtesy come in all shapes, sizes and colors.

RULE #1 : Stand to the side of the door and let the passengers get off before you get on.

Then, there was this rude teenager sitting right next to me on the F train. She was stuffing her face with a spicy, smelly, gooey sandwich. Little chunks of food were falling on the floor and the nasty odor of the sandwich wafted through the stuffy air of the subway car.

RULE #2 : No eating on subway cars, especially if the stuff stinks.

Keep in mind, all of this is happening on a single subway ride. This isn't a collection of stories over a week on several trains. This all unfolded in one car on one train in one hour. Next up, the Latin kid who was using a neighboring seat as a foot rest. This didn't bother me so much, because there were plenty of open seats on the train. But, it did bother this taller, older black dude who didn't even want to sit in the foot occupied seat. He was sitting catty-corner to the Latin kid and proceeded to give him a lecture, pointing to others who were standing and telling him it was rude to hog up two seats.

What surprised me was the seat hogger's response: "Fuck you, I'll do what ever I want, when ever I want." The big black guy kept bugging him. I thought the Latin guy was going to snap, but he didn't look like the fighter type. He looked more like a Latin gay guy with an attitude. I would have probably said something to the kid too, if all of the seats were taken and some little old lady was using a cane to hold herself up in the middle of the aisle. Needless to say, two stops later, both guys got off.

RULE #3: Don't hog seats on the subway. (this also applies to using the seat next to you as a storage locker for your personal belongings.)

Across the aisle from me was the hip hop kid who prompted me to write rule #4. Ever since SONY hit the market with its Walkmans, the electronics company revolutionized how people listen to music. No longer would we have to suffer the bass pounding sound coming from some one's boom box. Now, people could listen to their music on personal headphones.

Unfortunately, these days there's nothing personal or private about the headphones and earbuds. These people crank up the music, so that even over the din of the rattling subway car, we are invaded by a wide variety of musical tastes ranging from rap, hip-hop, rock, country and even an occasional classical music moment.

RULE #4: Please don't share your personal music with everyone else on the train.

The next subway offense is actually tied to Rule #4 and it's actually more irritating than the previous infraction. This is when, not only do people have their Ipods turned up, they're now singing along with the songs. I don't even think they know they're doing this, or even how loud and disturbing it is for other passengers trying to sleep or read the paper. It wouldn't be so bad if these folks were American Idol finalists, but they're not. They can't carry a tune and it drives everyone else on board bonkers.

RULE #5: Don't sing along with your Ipod tunes.

There are plenty of others things that bug me about rude subway passengers, but it just struck me how many violators existed on just one train ride from Manhattan to Brooklyn. I suppose these violations aren't so bad, considering the offenses committed on subway trains in the 60's, 70's and 80's. Vandals would spray paint the trains while people were on board, knife fights would break out in the cars, boom boxes would burst the eardrums of passengers. Then, it seemed, not just a few, but almost every passenger was obnoxious, perhaps to counter the edgy attitude of their fellow passengers.

Even so, if you feel, I've missed some important subway rules, feel free to send me a comment and I'll publish an update from the responses of blog readers. In the meantime, have a pleasant, peaceful subway ride.

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