But as much as I appreciate public transportation, it causes certain behaviors I simply cannot tolerate. And because it's not acceptable to physically murder people who annoy you (even in New York) I thought I'd itemize them here. (By the way, I'm writing this column about public transportation while I'm riding on a train!)
I know, right?
It's perfectly acceptable to ask other passengers to move out of the way so you can get to an unoccupied seat next to them. Sure, we all like having a row to ourselves, but only the most entitled, insufferable prima donnas would actually take offense to such a request. In fact, those people are so obviously obnoxious that I'm not even bothering to include them anywhere on this list. The only appropriate spot for them is in a special level of hell sandwiched between child molesters and people who take five minutes to order at McDonalds trying to figure out if buying items a la carte off the dollar menu is cheaper than the value meal.
But here's the thing: if you're going to ask someone to move, actually ask them to move. Say "excuse me," point, do some damn thing, because just kinda, sorta standing next to someone in the belief that it is their duty to divine your seating desires, spring to their feet, and lead you to your desired location is just a tad presumptuous.
Making matters worse is that most of these silent requesters usually forget their basic biology once getting on a train. Or at least they're a little shaky on how eyes work. For the most part (and no offense to Admiral Ackbar) most passengers tend to have their visual portals in the front of their head.
"No offense taken, Gladstone."
So if you're going to ask me (without speaking) to get up to let you into the row, maybe, I don't know, don't stand behind me when you do it. I'm probably working on a column called the 6 Most Unintentionally Homoerotic Things Ever Said On Boy Meets World and won't notice you there.
In this politically correct 21st Century world, certain things can be confusing, but for the most part offering your seat to another passenger correctly should not be one of them. First off, if a pregnant woman or someone with a physical handicap is standing, get up. That's easy. And no, pretending you don't see them because you're reading the best novel ever on your Kindle isn't an excuse. If you're sitting and they're not, you're wrong. Get up.
Okay, now you have older passengers. Admittedly, that's a bit trickier. I personally have never offered my seat to an older man because I'm afraid of being insulting. But you're probably pretty safe with an older woman. I mean, even if she's incredibly vain, she's more likely to think you're being chivalrous rather than calling her a decrepit invalid. The only way you'll possibly get in trouble is if you offer your seat to an older woman consumed with appearance who is also an ardent feminist who doesn't need your male seat-based charity thank you very much.
A very tough call.
And young women? No. You don't get a seat. I'll never give it up. Why? Because I spent college trying to seduce women who ran with the wolves while listening to the Indigo Girls and not succumbing to the beauty myth. That kind of behavior has been socialized right out of me. I am a feminist and I believe you can stand on public transportation just as well as any man ever could, sunshine sister. So stop making puppy dog eyes at my seat, Missy. It ain't happening.
Also, quick note. I had an acquaintance that used to offer his seat to women on the subway even when there were other available seats. Don't do that. Ever. Not only is it not necessary, it's insane and creepy as all eternal hell.
Have you ever tried to pay for a $5.38 taxi ride with a twenty dollar bill? I have, and not just because my ho's keep my mink coat lined with Jacksons, but because sometimes I just like, y'know, only have a twenty. Anyway, try it out and you'll see your cabbie whip out a wad of cash neatly arranged in ascending order and yet still somehow become incapable of making change in under a minute.
This is actually a GIF moving in real time.
Why? Well, I'm convinced this is a twisted ploy to increase their tips by driving you to the brink of maddening frustration before you snap and say, "Y'know what? Forget it. Just keep the change." What's my proof? I write for the Internet. I don't need proof. What's your proof ?
"Well, maybe they're just bad at math," you say. "After all, they do drive a cab." Well, Sir or Madame, I find your elitism highly offensive, and I will not sit here and listen to you insult the intelligence of these evil terrible people that I hate so much.
Sitting on a subway or bus seat shouldn't be too difficult. In most places the seats are already molded for you - one plastic scoop per ass. Is that enough room? No. Is there anything you can do about it? Yes. Just deal. But you may not slump down in your chair and throw your knees akimbo in a lame attempt to prove to every other passenger that your billard ball-sized testicles are too bad-ass to be contained by any one seat.
Far be it for me to judge everything about a young man based solely on his sitting posture, but if I might speak to these offenders for a moment:
Son, I know life can be hard. I'm sure your job sucks, or that job you had for four hours that one time sucked. And maybe you're part of some socio-economic or racial segment of society that has been historically repressed in cruel institutional and interpersonal ways. Maybe you've been asked "may I help you" by a sales clerk who was hoping you'd just leave. Or perhaps some Korean grocer followed you suspiciously around his bodega when you were just trying to buy a diet coke. Or maybe there was that time McDonalds didn't supersize your fries even though you totally asked McDonald's to supersize your fries. I don't pretend to know your whole life story. But I do know you can't right every indignity you think you've suffered by sitting like a douchebag. One seat per customer. Close up those legs. We've had enough.
Obviously, this rule doesn't apply to everyone.