Thursday, October 29, 2009

Common Courtesy

There has been a dearth of entrants for the Hall of Commuter D-Bags recently, and I'm wondering if, after only two months, I have become inured to the rampant dbaggery I witness daily. The other consideration is that, while many of my fellow commuters fall into the not-well-brought-up category, I would like to reserve the Hall of Commuter D-Bags for those commuters who break the mold, who stand out. I wouldn't want to dilute their contributions.

However, let it not be thought that the only infractions worthy of mention are those which propel one from loutish to dbag. It seems that a lack of breeding is no longer the sole domain of those who cook methamphetamine in their trailers et al. And while I fear those who reside in the Hall of Commuter D-Bags might be beyond saving, the rest of you do have time to correct your behavior. Bring the class back to the upper middle class by following these simple rules:

  • The guy who takes your ticket, notice how he's generally the same guy everyday? I shouldn't be the only one in the car who greets him. If you don't recognize the guy (or gal) who punches your ticket and feel uncomfortable being so familiar as to say, "hello, how are you?" try "thank you" on for size.
  • You know those times you don't see the dog shit until you've already stepped in it (see also: gum, soda, toxic waste)? Even though you spend time rubbing it off on the curb, a fair bit of crap remains on your shoe. When you put your shoe on a seat, you know the place someone's ass will go, the crap on your shoe gets transferred to the seat. And EVEN IF IT DIDN'T, well-bred people do not put their feet on seats.
  • Literacy is a big thing with me. I wish we had more literate people, so I'm quite pleased you are one of them. Furthermore, I like the idea of paying it forward. If you finish your paper on the train, I understand the desire to leave it so that a future passenger who doesn't have a paper might get a free read. However, there is a difference between stacking your paper on the seat and leaving it spread out over multiple seats in a manner that suggests a homeless person was sleeping there - not that many homeless people ride the New Haven line.
  • Similarly, if you have so much stuff with you that you might seem homeless to the untrained eye, carrying around all your worldly possessions, please consider the overhead racks. I think they were designed for precisely the problem you are having.
  • If the gods frown upon you and you end up having to give up your multiple seats so that I may sit in a single one of them, please remember the following scenarios that are worse than having to share: genocide, tsunami, alien invasion, herpes, Garth Brooks concert; and then please tailor your response (sighs, eye rolls, etc.) accordingly.
  • If someone sneezes in your vicinity, it is customary to say something like "bless you." If you are one of those vocal atheists who can't use the word "bless" without seriously compromising your non-belief, try "gesundheit," which just means "to your health." Much like the greeting of the transit worker, I should not be the only person in the car to acknowledge sneezing people.
  • I now realize that until we re-elect Giuliani (and I become his right-hand woman) there will be no fascistic response to public cellphone use. In the meantime, if this is a necessary evil, could we all attempt to use a slightly toned-down version of our crowded bar/sports arena voices when speaking on our cellphones in the train? Ideally, I only want to be able to understand 1/10th of what you're saying.

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