The Five Worst Kinds Of Subway Riders


It’s not easy to whittle all the different types of obnoxos down to five, but I love a challenge (if not a cattle car).

Here goes:

(5) The ones who have no idea how physics works and can’t seem to understand that people must be allowed to get off the train before other ones get on.

This even though they ride the subways every single day of their lives.

As you’re trying to hobble off the train in a cast while carrying piles of large boxes, they push their way in with a stroller, running you over and making you miss your stop.

And they don’t say “Sorry” or even look up from their twisted mission.

Where were they raised? A subway?

(4) The ones who sprawl out with all sorts of newspapers and packages and bags, taking up five peoples’ worth of seating because they somehow view their trip to Jackson Heights as some kind of luxury cruise on a barge down the Nile.

You want to hand them an eviction notice.

(3) The ones who keep eyeing you–not because they recognize you or are the least bit interested in you, but because they’re bored and are looking around and they’re too dumb to read a book and too coked up to close their eyes, so they look at you, then look away, then look at you again for the entire trip.

I love attention, but I am not your free entertainment, people!

(2) The ones who’ve decided that they have to stare at the map right behind you.

For hours. And there’s another map with no one at all sitting in front of it, but that one doesn’t interest them.

Oh, no. They want the map you’re in front of, and they’re going to examine it through eternity because they’re slow-school and it’s hard and they’re not sure which connection they want anyway, so they’re standing and staring and breathing Happy Meal smell in your face and staring some more.

Just get off!

(1) The ones who are not only horrible parents, but who are unafraid to flaunt that in public.

“Don’t sit there! Look at me when I talk to you! Why won’t you obey? Get back here! Look at me! Say ‘Yes, mama’! Shut up! Sit down! Stand up! Don’t do that! Why aren’t you listening to me?”

The barrage of fascistic orders is wearying and you want to report them to some agency or other, but you’ve been looking at them a little too hard and suddenly you’ve turned into person #3.

I guess just look away, mind your own business, and start thinking about car services.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 24, 2012

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