I lived in Los Angeles for seven years and owned a car. There were some really fun things about being a car owner: like blasting Power 106 while cruising down the Pacific Coast Highway with my sunroof open. Only, most of the time, I wasn’t cruising down PCH, I was stuck on the 101, in the most intense gridlock for hours, crying because I had to pee or was starving and out of emergency car snacks. If I wasn’t trapped in bumper-to-bumper traffic, I was circling Hollywood for 45 minutes looking for a legal parking spot. Not fun either. At the end of my stint as a car commuter, I wasn’t blasting anything anymore, I was listening to The Path To Tranquility: Daily Meditations CD just to keep my blood pressure down. I try to remember how bad things got with my car when I’m riding the NYC subway during rush hour, sandwiched between a smelly armpit and man carrying a pet snake in a burlap sack. But at least I can read my book! At least I’ve significantly decreased my carbon footprint! I tell myself, trying not to breathe through my mouth, ready to kill the snake with my bare hands if it so much as hisses in my general direction. Don’t tell anyone, but sometimes I miss my car. God, I can’t believe I just said that.
Public transportation should be the antidote to soul-crushing gridlock traffic and egregious use of crude oil, but only IF all commuters can co-exist peacefully. And more often than not, people act like assholes when packed into a 67 x 10 foot stainless steel box. Whether you ride on a train, bus, trolley or tram, I’ve conferred with other regular commuters and come up with comprehensive etiquette guide. Now all everyone needs to do is FOLLOW THE RULES so we can all be happy riders together. Please read carefully and memorize. And feel free to add your own commuter rules in the comments if I missed anything.
Commuter offense #1: Taking up an entire seat for your penis.
What you should do instead: A lot of men seem to think that their junk deserves its own seat when there are people standing. Close your legs, your penis isn’t that big.
Commuter offense #2: Squeezing into a seating area that’s much too small for you.
What you should do instead: This is a mere matter of geometry. If you don’t fit, don’t try to fit. It squishes the people who were already sitting and makes them uncomfortable and angry. Remain standing until a seat that you can fit into frees up.
Commuter offense #3: Taking up an entire seat for your gym bag/yoga mat/groceries.
What you should do instead: Unless the car that you’re on is completely empty, your big bag rides on your lap or the dirty floor along with everyone else’s.
Commuter offense #4: Short people who don’t let others pass by or short people who hold onto the high handle bar.
What you should do instead: Shorties, you’re the best, but that high handle is not for you. It’s for the tallies. STEP ASIDE and let the bigger of us pass.
Commuter offense #5: People who stand with their full back leaning against the pole.
What you should do instead: The pole is not for back support. It’s there so large groups of humans can wrap their hands around it for support when the train/bus is moving.
Clothing /Accessories/Large Objects:
Commuter offense #6: Wearing obstructive clothing or accessories like spikes, large hats or giant backpacks.
What you should do instead: We can’t stop you from wearing that giant backpack, but we can ask you take if off your back so it doesn’t obstruct someone of backpack height. Large hats are just not necessary in crowded areas. And spikes? I don’t even know what to say about people who wear excessive spikes during rush hour. Take a cab so you don’t kill someone.
Commuter offense #7: Bicycles on the train and bus during rush hour.
What you should do instead: Go back the same way you came: on your bike.
Commuter offense #8: People who swing their wet umbrellas around and get everyone else wet.
What you should do instead: When it’s raining, everyone on your shared ride has a wet umbrella, which means everyone needs to be mindful of not getting water on others, not poking people in the eye and generally being aware of where that wet umbrella is in space.
Commuter offense #9: Smelly armpits in the summer.
What you should do instead: We forgive people who obviously don’t have access to a shower (kind of), but that fancy lawyer guy who is threatening to make me pass out with his B.O.? Put on some deodorant if you’re planning to expose your armpit in public, buddy. We know you can afford it.
Commuter offense #10: Clipping finger nails or toe nails/painting nails.
What you should do instead: Wait until you get home because that’s DISGUSTING.
Commuter offense #11: Putting on makeup.
What you should do instead: Wake up 10 minutes earlier and put your makeup on in the privacy of your own home. If I wanted to watch a smokey eye tutorial, I’d get on YouTube. Just a thought.
Commuter offense #12: Eating pungent foods. Actually eating at all, really.
What you should do instead: If your meal requires a utensil that’s a sign it’s meant for consumption at a table.
Commuter offense #13: Playing suuuuuuper loud music on your headphones so that we can all hear it.
What you should do instead: We don’t like your dubstep music as much as you do. TURN DOWN THE VOLUME.
Commuter offense #14: Screaming at your children.
What you should do instead: Wait until you’re off the train to employ your bad parenting techniques, so that we aren’t forced to call Child Protective Services on your ass.
Commuter offense #15: Couples making out/getting really handsy.
What you should do instead: Keep your PDA PG until you get to a secluded area. Please, please, please.
Commuter offense #16: Clogging up the escalator.
What you should do instead: There is a left hand side and a right hand side. One side is for walking, one side is for not walking. Let the people that want to walk do so, and keep to your side.
Commuter offense #17: Not letting people off the train/bus before you get on.
What you should do instead: Don’t get so anxious about your ride leaving without you that you push your way on before everyone gets off. Step to the side and patiently wait for everyone to get off THEN, in a calm fashion, you may enter.
Commuter offense #18: Don’t stop at the top or bottom of the stairs to figure out directions.
What you should do instead: That’s where people enter and exit. So, even if you’re lost totally lost, you’ll need to be a big boy or girl and keep moving until you’re not standing in everyone’s way.
Cell Phone Use:
Commuter offense #19: Talking really loud on your cellphone, especially about private topics.
What you should do instead: It makes other people feel secondhand embarrassment to hear your personal biz, so wait until you’ve arrived at your final destination to talk to your best friend about your spastic colon.
Commuter offense #20: Looking at your phone while entering or exiting a crowded station.
What you should do instead: Navigating through a public transportation system at rush hour requires your full attention. Don’t even think about pulling out your phone to look at Instagram until you’re out of there.
Commuter offense #21: Bringing your unruly/disgusting/illegal pet onto public transportation.
What you should do instead: Take your snake in the burlap sack and baby shark in the ice cooler back to the zoo you stole it from. Thank you!
Got any others? Add ‘em to the comments!