Everyone is used to hearing the same, tired MTA reminders: Let the people off so you can get on, courtesy is contagious, give up your seat to the preggos and the elderly, etc. But the currently running list is clearly way too polite, as my daily train rides are continuously full of assholes determined to make our delayed, smelly subway rides even worse. I’ve drafted a few revisions, and added some suggestions of my own that would certainly benefit the MTA to put into rotation. Immediately.
1. Head to the f***ing right.
The rule is simple. If someone in the station is plowing towards you, walk to the right. Hopefully they’re not a moron and will do the same, and you’ll pass each other seamlessly like cars on a street. The same goes for if you ever dare to walk up the stairs at a pace slower than a good hustle. Cling to the right so we can huffily brush past you and get on with our day.
2. Why in God’s name are you eating?
The longest amount of time you’ll be here is 45 minutes. How absolutely dire is it for you to feed that you need to whip out your Chinese take-out and chopsticks? The last time this subway car was hosed down was probably some time in the 70s, and guess who can’t wait to get their dirty little paws on the leftovers that you’ll undoubtedly drop on the floor and kick under the seat? Rats, you asshole, and the ones that somehow magician their way up out of the tracks to make the daring leap onto a subway car are your fault. Barring any type of oncoming hypoglycemic shock, I think you can manage to wait ten minutes to stuff your face.
3. Believe it or not, this is not your private bathroom.
Trimming your bangs, tweezing your eyebrows, clipping your nails, and FLOSSING are definitely not in the “OK Zone” for your train ride—Yes, I have witnessed every one of these horrors on a New York City subway. Just because the floors are covered in decades-old rat piss, does not mean you are free to litter your body trimmings all over the train car. You are also basically grooming yourself to an audience of 100 severely grossed out people, just like the monkeys at the Bronx Zoo that start playing with their poop during peak hours. Aren’t you just a treat.
4. Make yourself as miniscule as humanly possible.
Stand up. Take a good look at yourself, and observe your shape and size. This is the exact amount of space you need to aim to take up on the subway. Toting some large shopping bags? They go on the floor, between your legs. Standing with a large backpack during rush hour? It goes on the floor, between your legs. Carrying anything at all that protrudes from your body by more than three inches when the trains are even minutely crowded? You know damn well where it goes. Don’t want to put your things on the dirty floor? Don’t bring so much shit on the subway. You take up enough room just by breathing, and that’s bad enough.
5. For the love of God, don’t sit on the benches.
The wooden benches that inhabit every subway platform may as well have a sign attached to each of them that says “Free STDs.” These festering, molding slabs of wood are the consistent thrones of the drunks, the bums, and the greater Unwashed of New York City. From the cold months of December to mid-March there is almost always at least one person lounging on them that hasn’t showered in over a month, and they’ve probably been parked there for 8 or 9 hours (at least). My, don’t you want to rest your feet and sit on this rotting piece of infested wood while you wait for the A Train? I think you can manage to stand for a few more minutes. Your immune system will thank you for it, as will everyone who’s forced to share the same air as you when you board the train.
6. No one wants to hear you talk on the phone. No one.
An above-ground subway ride is not an excuse for you to catch up on your correspondence. There are truly no words for how much I don’t care to hear your conversation about the slutty dress your cousin wore to your sister’s wedding, especially when I am literally trapped on a speeding vehicle suspended above ground with no way to escape you. But here we are, loudly dissecting the exact inch-by-inch measurement of when a deep-V plunge crosses the line into “hooker.” And I get to be a part of it. Joy.
7. Move towards the damned center.
Here’s a wacky idea: If you stand directly next to the subway doors when there’s clearly room for you to move further in, YOU ARE IN THE WAY. Contrary to your apparent belief, you are made of solid mass, so standing in a doorway that opens for 20 to 30 people to walk through every two minutes is not the most intelligent of choices. Why is this concept so hard for people? Holding up the train traffic makes you an inconsiderate douchebag, and New York doesn’t need you.
8. Leave the crazies alone.
Every once in awhile, a ranter shuffles onto the train to spout their venom about Jesus, or the government, or the Backstreet Boys, or whatever subject is currently grinding their gears, and the only thing to do is to just let them be. All they want is to spit out a couple of obscenities about Nick Carter being the devil or whatever their crazy, substance-abuse-fueled anger is directed at that day, and be on their merry way. NOTHING is worse than when some idiot decides to argue with them. This is what pushes a harmless “I Want it That Way”-berater into a danger zone of belligerence and potential violence. Rational thought is clearly not in this person’s toolbox, and you’re basically the person who just stomped on a hornet’s nest at a garden party.
9. You have headphones for a reason. Use them.
I can guarantee you, that not one person on the train is happy to have been held hostage to your Beyonce listening party from your shitty iPhone speaker while on their way to work. If people wanted to listen to a DJ, they certainly wouldn’t head to the MTA. I can also guarantee that nobody has ANY interest in hearing your Candy Crush sounds, YouTube videos, and God forbid, Facetime chats with your boyfriend. Be silent, be still.