I have been a passenger/pedestrian/commuter my whole life—I just got a driver’s license a little more than a year ago. Since then I haven’t driven more than two miles (pretty much). I think these years have made me both fluent in and sensitive to mass transit etiquette. Sadly, the same can’t be said for everyone. On behalf of everyone who understands commuting protocol, I’d like to raise issues with some of you amateurs.
Dear Mr. Stand-on-the-Wrong-Side-of-the-Escalator Man,
MOVE! Evvverybody is standing on the right side. Have you not noticed? It’s rush hour, man. You just made about 15 people miss the train/bus, because you’re too oblivious to notice an orderly line of people calmly riding on the right, and a harried procession of people moving up the left—where YOU are standing.
Dear Mrs. Industrial-Sized Stroller,
Ok, you gotta transport the kiddies somehow. We get it. I’ll even let go of your decision to purchase the most hulking stroller you could find, knowing you will be using mass transit at some point. But could you not plant yourself DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF THE DOORS? I mean at least move back some, so people can actually board before having to contort their way around you.
Dear Ms. I-Don’t-Like-When-It-Gets-Crowded-On-the-Bus,
Look. This is MASS transit. Lots of people, all trying to get where they’re going. Now I know you don’t wanna muss your hair, and you don’t want your elbow to brush someone’s back, and you don’t like when people are close enough to smell your expensive perfume, but can you please move back? When you leave that gap, the bus driver believes the bus is truly full and will not stop for more passengers. You cannot fathom the ire you inspire in those left at the bus stop who, unlike the driver, can actually see the comfortable buffer zone you’ve selfishly carved for yourself. Here’s a rule of thumb: if there’s space, fill it up. Actually, maybe it would be to everyone’s benefit if you just worked from home, in a hamster ball.
Dear Group of Rowdy Youngsters,
I was your age once, and I get it. Your unsupervised commute home is the only time you’re free from adults (or at least the ones that can make your life miserable). You’re with your hilaaarrious friends and their shenanigans are just sooooo contagious, so why not hang upside down from the standing poles, cackling and cursing like a sailor? I’ll tell you why not. Because everyone around you wants to punch you all in the face. Listen, there’s a real world outside your juvenile bubble, and after eight hours of it, the last thing anyone wants is to find him or herself in a train/bus-turned-school-cafeteria. And you know what, even if we’ve had a great day, enduring your buffoonery is not the way we’d like to end it. Calm down, or we’re calling your Moms.
Dear Random Unstable Person,
You can be found in every major metropolitan area. Maybe you’re a veteran who got a raw deal, or maybe you made some bad decisions and are now battling addiction, or maybe you’ve always had mental health issues and simply fell through the cracks. Now you ride trains and buses all day ’cause its safer and easier and lets you sleep and gives you an audience. I’m not going to bash you because your life is already rough, but please understand that when you start ranting, “preaching,” chanting, or howling (no, you aren’t singing angelically), you’re making everyone around you incredibly uncomfortable. That may have something to do with why you’re always getting shooed away.
Dear Gee-Honey-Where’re-We-Goin’ Family,
We “cityfolk” accept tourists’ presence as a given. We don’t inherently resent you and your City-Name-Here T-shirts, and khaki shorts, and take-pictures-of-everything attitude. We just don’t understand why you didn’t plan out the transportation part of your vacation. Why don’t you know what stop to get off before boarding? Why didn’t you Google the ticket/voucher/pass/card price? Is holding up the fare line part of your itinerary? Is huddling around a map in the middle of foot-traffic an experience on your to-do list? MOVE. We don’t mind you asking directions—its highly preferred over your bewildered body-blocking, but for the love of God, do a bit of research.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Loud Cellphone Talker,
The great thing about phones is that you can converse with a person as though they are next to you. We don’t need to hear your conversation. Now pipe down.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Don’t-Sit-Next-To-Me,
No one likes his or her personal space invaded, but again this is MASS transit. If it’s getting crowded, MOVE OVER so someone can sit next to you. Ma’am, your lipstick-sized clutch doesn’t need its own seat. Sir, you aren’t that fat—quit pretending there isn’t enough space. Stop being such a jerk.
Dear Mr. or Ms. Mean Conductor/Driver/Etc.,
I’m sure there’s probably some policy to back up your behavior, but how could you be so heartless (©Kanye)? That old woman hustled a full city block trying to catch you—you’re just going to pretend you didn’t see her? Dude, I think she’s having a heart attack back there! Call an ambulance! Oh well, you say, I got a schedule to keep. And besides, this phone is only for business. And I know there’s no eating or drinking allowed, but there’s no need to yell at that passenger who just took a sip of water. Especially if the passenger is four years old. Why are you so upset? I’m sure your job is no walk in the park but you’re responsible for setting off a lot of sh**ty days.
You are thee worst. The absolute worst. You’re rushing along ahead of us, and we’re all worried we’re about to get left behind because we can hear the bus/train/trolley/whatever coming. You see it first and, realizing it isn’t the one you’re waiting for, immediately slow down, EFFECTIVELY SLOWING DOWN EVERYONE BEHIND YOU. And, instead of bumrushing you out of the way, we silently meet your pace or gingerly maneuver around you. Once we get past the meathead obstacle that is you, we resume our break-neck sprint only to have the doors slammed in our face. And you just stand there, oblivious to the frustration you’ve caused. We could’ve caught that you know. We really could’ve. You suck. Please take a long walk off a short dock.
It's a good thing we have a 15 minute wait because we're gonna need those quiet moments of reflection to keep from choking you.
If you’ve ever been one of these offenders, I hope you can now see the error of your ways. And if you’ve ever encountered these walking obstacles, take solace in the fact that you aren’t alone.