Friday, September 28, 2012

Downtown Train

I consider myself a pretty polite person, but I think it's a two-way street. I was on the F train coming home from work last night when it stopped at 42nd Street/Bryant Park and these two 20-something women got on. I was alone on a three-person bench, so they joined me -- only Chick 1 had a huge backpack that she (no exaggeration) proceeded to hit me with before allowing it to rest ON MY RIGHT LEG as she sat at an angle to continue talking to her friend. I immediately tapped her on the shoulder and said  "Get your bag off of me." Looking stunned , she stared at me slack-jawed for a moment, like I had just told her she was a stupid cunt, then pulled it away -- without even a hint of an apology (did I mention she had no idea that she had just parked her backpack ON ME?) -- and I could hear her mumbling to her friend how RUDE I had been to her. Mind you, my reaction wasn't overly aggressive -- it was a perfectly monotone (Midwest) way of speaking, but definitely in the imperative form. To be honest, if I had tried to use any sort of polite or conditional phrasing in my instructions, it would have come off much worse, like:

"Would you please get your bag off of me?" would have sounded more like, "Would you PLEASE get your FUCKING bag off me[, you stupid cunt]?"

I'm sorry, but your being incredibly rude to me -- even by way of negligence -- does not necessitate my being polite in asking you to stop being an asshole to me. If you don't know how to go out in public with a backpack slapped on your back, perhaps leaving home isn't the right thing for you.


  1. So understand your irritation. Yesterday, a tourist couple gave me a full body check. I said nothing, just stood there the way I do when I am patiently waiting for tourists to become cognitively aware of their surroundings. He apologized, but she mutters "calm down!" I won't hit a woman, but she could have made it less tempting...

  2. I wont grow up11:09 AM

    I suppose it would have been "rude" to jab her with a stun gun ?

  3. I agree, and might have been tempted to interject and suggest if she would prefer people stop being so "rude" to her it might help if she wasn't giving them a reason. For those overly self-absorbed individuals there is good news... Self-awareness can be taught and she might want to enroll in a class or two.

  4. The image made me think of Thursday, the manhattan bound N train was stopped at Atlantic-Pacific. I had no idea what was going on until I happened past a car that was empty except for one very dirty looking woman wearing a pink sweat suit. She finally got up before paramedics came and made her way upstairs but not before I could see very clearly that the whole back half of her legs of her sweatpants were very dirty due to having shat herself long enough ago that it was now dry. Of course, I don't believe they cleaned the area she was sitting on, so next time you're on the N train, consider that you might be sitting where someone basically shat on the train.

  5. Dulcamara9:26 AM

    I’ve been riding the NYC subways for 40+ years, including the early 1970s when it was at its absolute nadir of service, cleanliness and safety. I’ve seen everything, including a woman blithely lifting her skirts and defecating IN an afternoon rush hour D train stopped at Columbus Circle. Never saw a crowded car evacuated (no pun intended) so quickly. Service, cleanliness and safety have all vastly improved. Manners and courtesy among riders have plunged drastically. The standard litany includes: Leaning against your private pole, thus preventing anyone else from holding on. Brontosaur balls on men who need to spread those legs so that 2 or more seats are occupied. People crashing and banging into you and never saying, “Excuse me.” Backpackers, airline-wheeled luggage, bicyclists, baby strollers, shopping carts, and all the others who drag on items as big and unwieldy as old-fashioned steamer trunks (invariably on rush hour trains). Clods blocking door entry/egress (and refusing to move) on platforms and inside cars as you pull into a station. This also includes those who stop dead in their tracks when they reach either the top or bottom of stairs, escalators or at turnstiles, oblivious of the surging tide of humanity behind them. Texters, phoners and email checkers also love to do their thing on narrow stairs at rush hours. “Hallelujah” and “Praise Jesus” screamers who somehow seem to gravitate to a spot right next to me. The “seekers” who insist on snaking their way through sardine-can, ridiculously crowded rush-hour trains in a vain attempt to find a seat or move to the next car. Variation on that theme: down-on-their luck “seekers” who make the same migration through the car but leave you wondering how many fleas, bedbugs or crabs are jumping off their dirty clothes as they invariably brush up against you on their trek. The list goes on and on and on. But hey, it’s NYC. Cue sassy Lenny Bernstein music: “The Bronx is up and the Battery’s down. The people ride in a hole in the ground.”