After one of the more hellacious morning commutes in recent memory, it's time to lay down some basic etiquette for riding the subway. I'm up to here (picture me putting my hand at my neck) with these inconsiderate, selfish people that litter my daily life. Time to take out the trash!
I'll keep these as simple as possible, since the general subway riding population seem to have limited mental capacity. Can you tell I'm a little annoyed today? And it's not even 8:30.
Away we go.
Getting On and Off: You would think this would be simple, right? The people getting on wait for the people to get off. Then they get on. Apparently this too complicated a procedure for the people waiting on the platform as many of them attempt to rush into the train before anyone can move. This isn't a Who concert, people. If you block people getting off there will be fewer seats available for you to rush to and you make everyone else wait longer as people attempting to get off fight their way through the oncoming stampede. Just wait an extra 10 seconds before you push your way in. That's all I'm asking.
Oh, and standing directly in front of the door so people getting off have to step around you doesn't help. Stand off to the side so there is a nice, wide, direct route off the train. You'll be surprised how quickly people move when there is a path.
Standing by the door: I have no problem if people want to stand by the door. I do it all the time. It keeps you out of the way and you don't have to pretend to not be looking down the girl's blouse who's sitting in front of you. But if you stand by the door, be prepared to move when the doors open. Standing there in bliss makes things worse. Either step off and let people out or step to the side to make it more passable.
Bags: Be aware of your bags, backpacks, or anything you are carrying. This morning a woman next to me kept hitting me with her bag as she chatted with her commuting friend. I even gave it an elbow back at one point, thinking she would get the point, but she was too involved in her own miserable existence (surprise, she was complaining about something) to notice.
And you backpackers, I don't know where you think you're going, but if you pack like your going hiking in the Himalayas, then put the bag on the floor and/or stop turning every which way so you can bump into every single person on the train. The appropriate move if you are carrying everything you own is to wait until you get a half empty train. Or walk. You want to go hiking anyway, so start before you get on the train.
Sitting/Standing: As a stander (unless the train is empty) this is one of my biggest annoyances. I will be standing the entire ride and just as we enter a stop, a person who has been sitting decides to stand up to show he or she is getting off this stop. Well that's great, but now we're so close we might as well be kissing. Anyone sitting needs to let the people standing out of the train BEFORE they stand up and head for the door. You had the nice comfortable ride, you can wait for other people to get off first. Or at the very least, wait until the train stops and the doors open THEN stand up to show you're getting off.
Cell Phones: Use them sparingly. I don't want to hear how Sheila at work is soooo jealous of you and you just don't understand why she has such an attitude. You are the very reason I bought an iPod. Just call if you need to let someone know you are running late or to call for a ride. I think there should be a rule that any and all cell phone calls on a train be limited to 60 seconds. Christ, you're only on the train for 20 minutes anyway. What ever earth shattering news you may have can wait.
Hygeine: Please try to keep your self from smelling like shit. This really doesn't apply to just subway travel, either, but any sort of public transportation. Or just life in general, for that matter. There is nothing more nauseating then entering a train and having a stench that could be emanating from the depths hell hit you in the face. Be it a homeless guy who hasn't showered in years, someone who had massive amounts of garlic at lunch, or some woman who thinks drowning herself in perfume is perfectly acceptable ('It wears off during the day!'). I propose a public 'delousing' shower before entering any public transportation station. Just a simple spray that eliminates all odors from people walking through.
General Courtesy: Men - yeah, especially you 40 something guys dressed in suits - give up your seat for the 95 year old woman who is barely hanging onto the pole while her legs tremble with fatigue. Don't pretend you don't see her. And, you, the big, fat, lazy woman! Get up so the guy in the ankle cast can sit down. Just try being polite. You'll be surprised how pleasant people can be when you're nice to them. Well...not that I would know first hand.
I'm sure there are more I've missed, but these are the big ones. I might print these out into a simple, very LARGE format and post them all over the subway stops in Boston.
If I can't use this space to make this world a better place, than what good is it? Other than entertaining myself, that is.
Today's distraction: Take a ride on the Candy Train. You have to wait a few seconds for an ad to get out of the way, but it's a simple game that wears thin real fast. Hey, I didn't say all these distractions would be classics.