8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation

Like many of you, I rely on public transportation to get to work. But unlike many of you, I don't do it like a jerk.
8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation

Like many of you, I rely on public transportation to get to work. I ride the train. Some of you might take the subway or bus. Still others, like my buds Matt Tobey over at Comedy Central Insider and Adam Tod Brown right here at Cracked, work at home, writing dick jokes in their boxers, worrying only about synchronizing the mute button to their Hot Pocket farts so no one hears them ripping ass during a conference call.


"That was a close one!"

But the rest of us understand the vagaries of public transportation. Specifically, how to carve out your own space of humanity in an otherwise less than civilized environment. That's particularly important for me, considering that almost every Cracked column I've ever done has been written on a train. Daddy needs his space. The goal is to keep people away from you, or at the very least keep them from talking to you. Still, etiquette and common decency dictate that there are right and wrong ways to go about that. So here are four dos and four don'ts on how best to get left alone on a train.

Do: Sit Near the Toilet

If you're riding a form of a public transportation that contains a toilet, you have a special opportunity. See, human nature dictates that we avoid excrement and waste. Just look at our expressions: "Don't shit where you eat," "Eat shit and die" and, of course "Sarah Palin has the political insight of a talking piece of shit." Indeed, the aversion to fecal matter is a constant for all of humanity, with the small exception of German porn enthusiasts and Nicki Minaj fans.

8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation

Clean ears thoroughly after listening.

But I urge you to free your mind. When you enter the train, take notice of any foul odors or substances emanating from the toilet. If there are none, sit down and let the toilet's mere existence keep other commuters away from you. Clean toilets and an open mind are your friends. Of course, there is the possibility that a bathroom that started out clean will become vile during the course of your journey. It's a small chance, however, and one worth taking. I mean, what are the odds of Cracked's Adam Tod Brown even riding your train?

Do: Drink Alcohol Publicly

This is another one of my patented tricks, and it's kind of a win/win proposition. My local rail sells beer and cocktails on the platform. If you're looking for your own personal space, I urge you to purchase one. Many a night, after a hard day's work, I've cracked open a tall boy in a bag while riding home. Some commuters are indifferent, but a certain percentage of my fellow passengers seem to ask, "What kind of a dirty, chemically addicted alcoholic is so booze-dependent that he must suck down a Coors Light from a paper bag at 7 p.m.?" Sometimes I get a vodka tonic, which seems to work even better. You might consider taking a big gulp just at the moment someone eyeing your adjacent seat walks by. Does everyone avoid a drinking commuter? No, only a certain percentage equate train-drinking with gas-huffing, but if you decrease the overall number of people willing to sit next to you, you've upped your odds for sitting alone. And what if this plan doesn't work? Well, then you still have a beer, don't you, ya big baby.

ILA PRODUCT DF World Famous 8 EVM AU Alasit BEEN LIGHT honedioots wafor. mait cor or yeast. oDs VERY SERVE

I've never heard of this beer, but I'd drink it to keep people away from me.

Do: Wear Headphones

It is an inescapable reality that you won't always be able to keep people from sitting next to you, but that doesn't mean you have to talk to them. This is why headphones are essential. They're even more important than an actual iPod to connect them to, because it's all about pushing people away in a socially acceptable way.


Warning: These should keep people from talking to you, but may attract hipsters.

Nevertheless, having an actual MP3 player is a pretty good idea because overhearing random train conversations is enough to ruin the solitude of your journey. My iPod has kept me from strangling so many drunken sports aficionados coming home from the game that I think Steve Jobs should be awarded a posthumous peace prize. Well, I don't really think that, but I
tweeted it once. It was kind of a crappy tweet. Moving on.

Do: Take a Chance With Morbid Obesity

Commuters come in all shapes and sizes. Tiny little girls, morbidly obese men and people like me who, even a decade after retiring from Calvin Klein underwear modeling, are still only a mere 15 pounds from their desired weight. To have the best traveling experience, you need to engage in some body-proportion profiling. But wait, this isn't going where you think. I would no sooner make fun of a fat person in print than I would accuse Cracked's own Adam Tod Brown of constantly ripping ass. This entry is about those occasions where you might want to consider embracing your larger commuters. First off, in my experience, some heavier travelers are actually very conscious of their dimensions and far more considerate than some bony-assed businessman who has no compunction about driving his razor elbows into your ribs while he folds and unfolds his New York Times crossword puzzle like it's some blanket at a douchebag picnic.


What's an eight-letter word for murdered commuter?

But more importantly, my train comes with three-seaters. Upon seeing a fairly large commuter in the window seat, lesser travelers might avoid the row based on the possibly unfounded notion that things will get tight there pretty quickly. However, have you considered taking the aisle seat? Once you secure that location, the odds of someone opting for the half seat between you and your companion are greatly diminished. Yes, it's possible, but in my experience, the only commuters who go for such seats are diminutive little ladies, so it's kind of a wash.

Don't: Sit Like You Have Bowling Ball Testicles

While I may have just listed four strategies for being left alone on public transportation, I don't want to give the impression that any behavior is justified. There are all sorts of ways to secure personal space that are completely unacceptable. Obviously, no one would think it's OK to drop nonstop gas bombs to keep people from sitting next to you. I mean, I don't even need to address that. (Right, Adam?) But there are other things that people still think are somehow acceptable. The biggest culprit? Dudes who think they're allowed to sit with their legs akimbo like they have elephantitis of the nuts.

Technically, itis means inflammations so elephantitis would mean an inflamed elephant.

An elephant no one likes.

I've already
written about this one in a slightly different context, so let me explain why this move is different than the four acceptable ones I've listed. The first four strategies merely dictate a course of action based on observation of human behavior. But the open-legged stance is aggression. The only observation about human behavior it's making is "If I behave like a rude ass, many people will be too socially awkward or intimidated to call me out on my bad behavior." That is the telltale sign of true prickishness: thinking any action is justified as long as you get what you want. The rest of us aren't too weak or stupid to do such things. We just don't want to be an asshole like you.

Don't: Roll Your Eyes When Someone Says "Excuse Me"

Much like trying to explain to certain Internet humorists the proper time and place for displays of gastric distress, rolling your eyes at fellow commuters is pointless. Coveting your own personal space on a train is not the same as believing you have a greater right to it than any other paying commuter. One ass, one seat. It's not audacious of someone to want to sit in the seat next to you. (Unless they're a real live crazy person looking for a friend amid a sea of other empty seats.) If someone says "Excuse me" so they can sit down, there is a very simple response: saying "Sure" and getting out of the way. All your huffing and puffing and eye-rolling won't turn a normal request into a rude one no matter how much it upsets your fantasies about being King of AssCushionLandia, owning all that you survey.

8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation

"I'm also Prince of FootRestVille."

Don't: Place Bags on a Seat

This is a tricky one. There is no hard and fast rule against ever placing something on a seat. Depending on the time of your commute and your location, you might be riding a form of public transportation that never reaches full capacity. Your purse/backpack/work bag isn't depriving anyone of anything. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm singling out people who use their bags as some sort of placeholder to keep you away. At this point, I know what you're saying: "This article is getting boring, tell another joke about Adam farting." (Knock Knock. Who's there? Adam. Adam who? Adam Tod Brown of Cracked, who probably has undiagnosed irritable bowel syndrome.)

8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation
Mayo Clinic

That can't be right, can it?

You might also be asking, "So can I put my bag on the seat next to me or not?" The answer is yes, yes you can. But much like getting bit by a radioactive spider carries great responsibility, so does gobbling up seat real estate with bags. If you do that, then the burden is on you to keep an eye on your surroundings and release the seat back to the populace once it seems like the convenience of you not having something on your lap is causing another the inconvenience of not having a seat.

Don't: Pretend to Be "Norwegian"

Have you ever been in a crowd and said "Excuse me," and the other person just flat out didn't move? I have. Multiple times. And in a completely racist fashion, I must admit I attribute such behavior to one specific race above all others. And guess what? I'll never write it down or speak it aloud because such generalizations give way to racial hatred, which is more repugnant to me than sharing an elevator with Adam Tod Brown. But for lack of a more honest and wholly inappropriate answer, let's call these people ... Norwegians. (That's really more of a nationality than a race, huh? Hmm. What can you do?)

8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation

"I cannot hear you."

But Norwegians (or those attempting to perfect the Norwegian philosophy) make themselves a rock -- usually in the aisle seat of an empty row or with a bunch of parcels beside them. They engage in some form of unfair seat-saving behavior and then just turn off the world. Why would they acknowledge hearing you say "Excuse me" or seeing you point to the empty seat beside them when acknowledging your existence would mean they'd have to give you what they want? These are the people who have the balls that the folks in #4 above can only pretend to have.

8 Rules for Not Sucking at Public Transportation

Pictured above: Metaphorical Norwegian balls.

All you can do with these people is shame them. Get literally in their face. Scream, if necessary. And if you really want to get back at them, once they make a space for you, offer your seat to Cracked's own Adam Tod Brown.

For more from Gladstone, check out The 7 Worst Behaviors on Public Transportation and 8 Inexcusable Behaviors on Public Transportation: Part 2.

Subscribe to the all-new HATE BY NUMBERS. Also follow Gladstone on Twitter and stay up to date on the latest regarding Notes from the Internet Apocalypse. And then there's his website and Tumblr, too.

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