All the world’s a stage, and the rumbling iron horses of New York City’s underground have long served as an impromptu talent show for the morally bankrupt. There is a direct, inverse relationship between subway service reliability and offensive behavior, inappropriateness, lack of manners, decency.
Violation of train etiquette —a comic’s playground to produce nuggets of storytelling gold. Many of my own colorful trips have bordered on Curb Your Enthusiasm material; faux pas are never at a premium and we discover new pet peeves all too frequently.
Recently, the MTA released a series of amusing posters as part of an etiquette campaign reminding riders to remove their bags, save meals for the dinner table, resist the urge to dance on poles and cease manspreading.
New Yorkers are terminal “case-of-the-Mondays” sufferers. We are often at peak irritability when riding the subway; in the morning on a few precious hours of sleep, after work in a mad dash to get home, or somewhere in between where delays and construction stall trains causing mass dyspepsia. We often anticipate Murphy’s Law taking effect if things are running too smoothly en route to Point B.
Frankly, our enhanced states of agitation are never admissible defenses for breaching subway decorum. In addition to the couple of appropriate behaviors we listed above, here are a few more to keep your moral compasses calibrated:
Tame your most animalistic instincts and let people disembark the train first. Also, stay to the right on stairways. It’s the societal butterfly effect —as long as we continue marching upwards and downwards on the right side of staircases, our diplomatic relations with Australia will be strong.
Give up your seat to the elderly and pregnant. Karma. The science of good deeds. Altruism positively affects our health and longevity.
We hear it from that familiar, order-barking computerized male voice over the loudspeaker on the R160’s, “Ladies and gentlemen, a crowded subway car is no excuse for sexual misconduct.” Heed this message, save the creepy, semi-aggressive touch or thrust for the Copacabana.
Maybe it’s Maybelline? Maybe your home or office bathroom is a more favorable setting for applying makeup?
Yes, tuna tastes like heaven. But it smells like hell, so refrain from fishing for a fistfight by eating the spreadable goodness in the vicinity of straphangers.
Keep your sing-alongs to a Ying-Yang Twins whisper. And lastly, from the wise guys at NY Magazine, “Lie down on the Subway only if dead.”
This has been a public service announcement from the good folks at Balitello.