I throw out my fair share of dirty looks and muted scoffs into the atmosphere when I observe bad “Rider Etiquette” – Rude behavior while riding the bus, train, or any other form of public transportation (PT) – but most of these subtle hints go unnoticed or are purposely ignored by offenders. It stings enough that it’s Monday morning AGAIN, and when you have to deal with inconsiderate strangers, your whole day could turn murderous. The utter lack of self-awareness by some grown-ass adults still confounds me. Sometimes en route to NYC from Staten Island I am tempted to shout:
“Hey you! Yeah, you! Guess what? I have to ride all the way into the city on the same bus as you. And so do about 40 other people. Check yourself before you wriggidy wreck ya self.”
What behaviors grate me the most, you might ask? The typical grievances. Unfortunately, I still see things practically on a daily basis that continue to anger and appall me. Below are the key areas of discontent.
Loud Talkers/Shouting on a Cell Phone
First of all, if you are on a call when the bus pulls up, you have every right to end your conversation – but do so quickly. There’s nothing worse than settling down for a road snooze only to be abruptly woken up by a passenger seated behind you barking on his or her phone. NO ONE wants to hear about your cheating boyfriend, the deal on socks at Kmart, or Uncle Bernie’s Goiter. If you can, while you are riding PT, graciously end your conversation and resume the cell chatter once you are not in such close proximity of others. This also goes for the crypt-keeper ladies who sit next to each other on the bus and cackle about old times while popping grapes in their mouths.
The “Briefcase as Small Child” Agenda
Unless you have a pet in your suitcase, move your damn items from offa the seat and let a weary broad sit down. If you are gonna bring a roller suitcase on the bus, be damn well-prepared to sit with it BETWEEN YOUR LEGS. Don’t roll your eyes at me when I ask you to move it, either. And if you have a bunch of shopping bags, try not to hit everyone in the head with your purchases on your way off the bus
The other day I watched an elderly Chinese woman shell chestnuts for 100 blocks on the subway. She wasn’t eating them – but to handle food in that grimey environment was too much for me to bear. Some subway passengers have no shame, and will whip out the stankiest of foods at any given moment. Chitlins, Fast-Food breakfast sandwiches, doughnuts. What’s worse, is that these subway-diners are usually the type who lick their fingers, nahmean? Shudder.
Claiming More than One Chair
Usually, this is where dudes are at fault, as they often sit as though they have nads the size of kickballs. When seated, men spread their legs, and they often cross over into your seat territory, sometimes even going so far as to lean on your armrest. Another sensitive topic includes the heftier passenger….there is just no nice way to put it….they are in the way. Yes, they have a right to ride the bus, but they should not be surprised if they have to adjust their body positions in order to let you sit down. Refusing to squeeze in as the bus fills up is totally selfish. If you position yourself in a way where you are not touching someone, that is usually the best way.
If you are riding PT in the winter, please, by all means, bring a package of tissues! When someone nearby on the bus coughs or sneezes, I start imagining all of the germ particles that are floating around in the air. It seems elementary, but some commuters don’t even cover their noses and/or mouths. Sneeze in your scarf or something, damn!
If the drivers are running behind schedule, they would rather pass you waiting patiently at the bus stop than to scoop you up and get even more backed up.
And kids, if you are ever in doubt about etiquette, ask: WWJJD (What would Judge Judy do?)
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