Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What Grinds My Gears: Follow the Subway Rules, Dammit!

I find that the longer I live in New York, the less patience I have. I just want to get where I have to go without the hassle of crowds, delays, or traffic. I'm not saying it's justified or that I have any right to feel this way, but it is what it is (and I know you other New Yorkers agree).

I don't know about you, but I take the subway because it's supposed to the cheapest and fastest way to get from point A to point B. That being said, I often wonder whether it's worth the extra hassle. As most of us New Yorkers know, there are certain unofficial rules we follow when we ride the train in order to make the ride as hassle-free and efficient as possible. I know they're not written down or even talked about very much, but please... I don't think you're that dense. Am I giving you too much credit?

If you're guilty of any of the following, consider this a wake up call -- you officially need to pay more attention to your surroundings:

  • DO NOT get on the subway before others have gotten off. It's just common courtesy. I know the subway tunnels are dirty and infested with rats. I know that the 6 minutes you have to wait for the subway are probably the longest 6 minutes of your day. But think about it this way: the people getting off the subway not only had to wait those same 6 minutes, but they've also been stuck on a subway with people like you who don't follow the rules listed below. As much as you want to get on the subway, I'm willing to bet they want to get OFF the subway even more. Plus, it helps the flow of traffic.
  • If there are 3 seats to my left, please DO NOT sit right next to me. Picture this: It's 9:30am. I just woke up. I haven't had my coffee yet. I'm barely functioning and I'm in a bad mood because I just endured the dreaded "6-minute wait." Maybe having you sit RIGHT next to me isn't exactly what I'd prefer at this time. If there are no other seats: fine. I'm a reasonable person and I can accept that. But hey, there are 3 others seats to my left. Please just give me a little space. That's all I want.
  • If there is room on the subway, DO NOT stand right over me. This is actually worse than sitting right next to me. If you can avoid hovering over me, please do so.
  • If there is a tight space between two people sitting on the subway, DO NOT sit there. Sometimes the passengers are bigger than the subway seats. I realize that there may be an open seat, but if there's no room, don't sit there. If you don't fit, you don't fit. Just wait until someone else gets up.
  • If you have a lot of "stuff," DO NOT take the subway! You're going away for the weekend and you have a small suitcase: fine. But really... you're bringing your bike on the subway?! Not only does that defeat the purpose of your bike, but it takes up valuable subway space. Same goes for big purchases, furniture, anything that takes two people to carry, etc. It's not like you do this every day... I think you can splurge on a cab just this once. Plus, I bet you have a really hard time getting through the turnstiles. I also bet it's really funny to watch.
  • Phew, I finally made it to the subway stop. I can't wait to get out of this hole in the ground, breathe the fresh air (or, you know, whatever you'd call the NYC air), and arrive at my destination. I start climbing up the stairs and... oh wait, I have to stop. Why? Because you're on your phone. DO NOT stop walking on the middle of the stairway. It's crowded enough and all I want to do is get outside. You can wait until you get outside to answer your phone.
What are some other unofficial subway rules you see people break all the time?
What grinds your gears?


  1. Here are some other ones that bother me:

    -When people are blocking the subway map and they can tell that someone is trying to look at it but they don't move

    -When people know they are going to be on the subway for awhile but they stand right near the doors and inconvenience everyone else. If you are getting off at the last stop, stand away from the doors/middle of the car.

    -I once took a crowded subway after a Yankee game on a hot summer day. A very sweaty middle age man pressed his beer belly against the pole that we were all holding. Poles are for hands, not stomachs.

    1. So true! What about when you and another person are both holding the same pole and his/her hand is above yours, but slowly slides down the pole until it touches yours. And then it stays there. Uhhhh, I don't know you... what the hell are you doing?!