Subway Etiquette Lesson #73

April 26th, 2007

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C. Hoey-

Hey, brother. (Read that in the voice of Buster a la Arrested Development.) Your morning yesterday sounded so perfectly 1950’s Americana, save for the fact that you should have put sugar in your coffee. I mean what’s more American than sugar? If it ain’t sweet, it ain’t worth to eat. I’m trying… okay? It’s true though. Coffee is bitter. Too bad, let’s make it sweet. Lemonade… sour. No way! Let’s make it sweet! But that image, with pound cake, and you ironing your shirt with one hand, coffee in the other, PZ’s probably got some quaint little slippers on and a robe. Her hair in curlers, maybe? There is something to be said about a man who irons his own clothes, though. It shows he knows something, he’s ahead of the game. Factoid of the day: Jimmy Page irons in the dressing room before gigs to relax.

So, IG and I are riding into Manhattan this morning and I end up in a battle of subway etiquette. (Note: still trying to get people to call the subway the underground railroad…) The situation: this guy is leaning up against one of the poles which we all know are designed for holding, not leaning. Why? Because when it’s a leanin’ pole, you need one per person, but when it’s a holdin’ pole we can stabilize like four to five people with just one. It’s just a matter of efficiency. Well I’m wearing my corduroy blazer which makes it slightly uncomfortable to use one of the overhead holdin’ poles because of the way it folds in relation to the strap of my bag, you know. So I decide I’m gonna teach this guy a lesson. I not only hold his pole (yeah, I know, get over it) but I place my hand right where he’s putting his weight. He knows I’m there, Charlie. He shifts a little, he tries to ignore me, but I won’t let it happen. No, I constantly shift my hand every few seconds just so he can feel the human contact that we’re all so scared of. His back is to me and for some reason he doesn’t want to turn around, nor does he want to just correct his mistake and switch from lean to hold, so we just ride and he sort of tries to keep his weight forward to minimize the pressure between our body parts. So futile.

This goes on for most of the ride. People see what’s going on and they’re proud of me. I’m like their representative. They know the rules, but I’m enforcing them. We get to Marcy Ave. and he doesn’t appear to be getting off, but it does seem that he’s more uncomfortable than ever. Maybe he knows he’s lost the battle. He does. Just before the doors close he exits the train. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t even his stop, he just couldn’t bare it anymore. Not just the contact, but having been taught a lesson. So the doors close, and as we head over the Williamsburg Bridge, Manhattan owning the horizon, the whole car stands and applauds, but then we hit a little turbulence, but don’t worry, it’s okay, there’s enough pole room for everyone to quickly grab hold.