Train Etiquette – A Case Study

I’m currently on a semi-express to Stamford which makes about seven stops. I got on an earlier train because I figured it couldn’t hurt to get to work a little early – mistake one I guess, but there’s a really attractive woman that takes this train now-a-days… wears Movado and Coach – two of my favourite brands – and flip flops with a gold toe ring. It’s hard to find normal people on the train lately, much less a kindred spirit, so I figure it’s well worth the extra seven minutes of my morning, and who knows how long she’ll be on this train, so yay me – I caught the earlier train. Anyway, after the first stop, the bulk of the PTA got on board.

It’s MetroNorth’s fault that I’m currently trapped in a mobile PTA meeting.

I can’t believe this shit. Now the trains are usually semi-empty at this point, being two stops out of it’s originating station, but in MetroNorth’s infinite wisdom, they’ve inserted a Bar Car, which invariably reeks of post evening commuting stench and is the most uncomfortable moving conveyance known to humans – it makes coach planes seem spacious and posh. Why is there a Bar Car active in the morning? No one has a logical answer for that – the bar is closed during the morning commute! It’s just here to torments commuters. See, when there’s a Bar Car in the morning trains, everyone bails to the preceding and following cars. Right now there’s about 15 people in the vestibule, due to lack of seating – every other seat in this car is full. This Bar Car thing pushed me to the car that followed it on the tracks, which is where the daily Womyn’s Group meeting is held – this is not my regular car.

First off picture about ten to twelve career women and working mothers, and no, this ain’t a Bud Light commercial – they’re not attractive and by saying in that way I’m being polite. Picture them all wide awake at 7:30 AM. Now picture that they all know each other because they usually sit together in these “face to face” sections as there’s usually ten seats available. Add to this the fact that there’s Warren, the son of one of these women, who rides with his Mum to work. Warren is about three or four years old, and is an occasionally screaming boy. His feet haven’t touched the ground yet on this ride because he keeps getting passed among the women. Some woman that couldn’t fit in the “normal” section, ended up a couple of rows away from Warren. This displaced woman, who is wearing a floral moo-moo and putting on her makeup – not that you could tell mind you – has been complaining that Warren is being mushy and unhappy looking – “can I give him a napkin? why can’t I give him a napkin? I want to give him a napkin? Why isn’t he happy? Can I give him a napkin?” – and then precedes to get him all riled up. Warren has transformed from a half asleep angelic looking child into a post-Batman-the-Ride screaming lad. Just what every morning commute should have. Sound like fun? But wait – there’s more!

Two other “regulars” didn’t fit in the regular section either. One sits next to me and the other sits behind her. Think that’s no big deal, right? Lets call the one next to me Itchy and the other, Scratchy. Did you know that Itchy’s husband (or gigolo) was building a log cabin? And that you can’t just slap up a log cabin? It takes time to put a log cabin together. And that’s not easy. Oh, and that she caught the clap from some other guy? Scratchy was just complaining about being single, but she’s getting used to her independence. Or being on her own – I can hear everything but for some reason even I can’t follow along all the well. I can’t tell if she’s happy about it. Now Itchy is adding to the fact that being alone is sort of nice than being financially dependent on a guy. And on to the hair conversation. Oh joy! Now Scratchy is talking about why she doesn’t like wings, as they never seem to hold to the right place on her panties. Oi. Ok, maybe some of this was embellished, but most of it wasn’t – this should fall under simple train etiquette:

  • Speak in normal tones

  • Cackling over anything at 7:45 AM should be punishable by public flogging

  • Do not sit one behind each other and carry on a conversation, facing the aisle. Not because it’s rude, but because the guy that you’re now talking, to since you’re facing him across the aisle, will start typing like mad on his computer and will record your entire conversation and post it on the Internet adding comments as required to help keep it interesting

  • Do not offer Warren a napkin in loud tones, three rows away, regardless of who you are – this is also bad because his mother said no and you’re undercutting her authority for poor Warren; this should cause a flogging as well.

  • Any designer selling a floral moo-moo should be made to wear a “I Liked ‘Full House’ and ‘Family Matters'” sign around their neck and sent to SoHo. Granted this has little do to with the Train Etiquette lesson, but I felt it needed to be said

All common sense don’t you think? I think so. They must not see the screen nor the sense in it, because they’re still yammering! Help me! I’m trapped in a woman’s bathroom conversation!

2 thoughts on “Train Etiquette – A Case Study”

  1. It’s an epidemic and I’m very sick, sick of the rude selfishness on public transport! I call for immediate and drastic measures.

    I know allot has been said in the past about this. We are all aware that we shouldn’t shove to get on the train first, we should let the elderly, injured or pregnant not only have our seat but also get on the train first. We all know that you shouldn’t swear loudly on the train or bus (or anywhere for that matter) or talk obnoxiously loud, nor should we put or bag or feet on the chair so no one can sit there. We know all this, it’s common knowledge, so why does it still happen, more so than ever?

    I believe it’s because, quite simply, they can, and they get away with it too! People get away with it because no one says anything or does anything about it. That’s why there is bag snatches in broad day light or beating in the middle of the street or drug deals as plain as day� they can because no says anything!

    I was on the train a few weeks back standing up as there were no seats available, that was fine, but there was a heavily pregnant woman also standing and no one offered her a seat, I was furious and totally disgusted. People simply pretend they haven’t seen her. I said loudly enough for all to hear that I was disgusted no one had offered her a seat, still no one budged. Well I’ve had enough and I encourage all to make a stand! I said very loudly ” I want everyone on this carriage to know that there are about 20 people sitting in this section and no one has offered this pregnant women a seat! Well done, you have all sunk to a new low!” Well the lady was getting off the train, after standing for 30 minutes, and it made no immediate difference but I just hope that I humiliated those selfish people into making a change in the future. Sure they may not have seen her, well I’m sorry that’s not good enough, pay attention to the world around you, the world does not revolve around you.

    When I was pregnant I was so upset with no one offering me a seat that one day I decided to sit on a mans lap I didn’t know, he jumped up and said angrily “excuse you!”, I pointed at my large pregnant belly and said ‘no excuse you, if you won’t offer me a seat I’ll sit in your lap!”. This is another important part in the change we need, if you are pregnant, disabled, elderly, speak up, demand what you deserve. The meek and mild will be trodden on our public transport services so ask for that seat, if someone pushes in front of you to get on the train, say “excuse me!” and make your self seen.

    Only yesterday I was lucky enough to be in position to get on the train first, but I had noticed a pregnant women at the back of the line, I held the people behind me back and let her on first only to be abused by an incredibly selfish girl for holding her back. I pointed out that I was letting the pregnant women on first so that she could get a seat and the girl needed to get some manners. Do you honestly not understand why we let pregnant, elderly or injured on first or give them a seat? Then let me ask, why on earth are you more important or more deserving than they are? How incredibly selfish this world has become!


    Courtesy crusader.

  2. I started commuting about one month ago – having to go from Stratford to Grand Central about 3 xs per week. I took the express which only stops at Bridgeport, Stamford and 125th. The trains are very crowded and for the most part standing room only coming and going, but sometimes a seat would become available after Stamford. I found people were generally friendly and nice despite the lack of space and seats and came to exchange greetings with some of the regulars which is something I do everyday no matter where I am going. One fine day, I had to take the train from Fairfield. I made the 5:23 return trip which was a local. Now being a novice as a commuter, I would use some of this train lag to catch up on calls, i.e., Daughter, Mother, Son, etc. I never heard one complaint from the Stratford commuters but it seemed that this local group was not having it. I was chastised by a man for talking on my cell phone and two other people chimed in. The same people who were hording seats on a very crowded train and had two big carry-on bags. I really had no idea that my talking on the phone was offensive and was very upset to the point where I could not control my tears. So there I was sitting on a crowded train surrounded by people who couldn’t stand me (at that time I guess) crying my head off. My new friends got off at the Westport stop. Since then I have been wondering why people are so intolerant of each other (especially people from Westport). Why is it okay to hord seats; not respond to a greeting; not slide over when someone needs a seat; but not okay to talk on a cell phone??? – Who made these rules. I go through life saying “Good Morning/Good Night” to people who never respond, hold open doors for people who never say “Thank You”, give a seats up for the elderly person or pregnant and I am the one who gets chastised for using the cell phone??? I have one thing to say to my new “friends” who ride the 5:23 out of Grand Central to Westport – The reason why you’re not on the cell phone is because you probably have no one to talk with – get a life and some friends and stop picking on nice people like me!!!!!

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