Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm Just Like Gandhi, But Fatter

Don't mind me, I'll just be putting
my wet dirty feet on the seat.
Oh, you want to sit down in the seat
not taken up by my feet? Cool.
But I'm not moving my feet.
Try not to scuff the leather, ok?
Originally uploaded by reallyct
We haven't heard much from the Hall of Commuter D-Bags recently. It's not that they've disappeared, it's more that the average level of dbaggery has stabilized. Yes, the woman with Fran Drescher's voice continues to loudly talk to her dawwter on the phone about banal shit; yes, the elite of Fairfield and Westchester counties continue to treat the train as an extended rubbish heap, leaving overturned coffee cups, bakery paper, and crumpled NY Posts, Times, and WS Journals in their wake; yes, men and women of every shape size color disposition guard empty seats in their vicinity with the ferocity of bears; but the outsize dbaggery worthy of comment has been minimal. I almost wrote about a whistling epidemic (people whistling inside the train, not on the platform), but when I reviewed it in my head, I sounded like a refugee from the 1920s who would then go on to complain about women wearing slacks in public while smoking.

So it with a mixture of sadness and relief that I bring you Sir Thisdick. That's him, sleeping in the above picture. Upon entering the train yesterday, I found Sir Thisdick awake sprawled across about four seats: the one his ass was in, the one his hand was in, and the two his feet were on. As that meant there were three technically free seats, I decided to sit in one: the outside seat facing Sir Thisdick. Now, let me begin by saying that even though I find it abhorrent that people put their feet on seats where later other people's asses, possibly in light pants or skirts, will sit, it seems more the norm than the aberration and I am coming to terms with the fact that I might be the sole person who wants to chop the offending feet off. That being said, it is no longer even within the realm of tolerable for someone to keep his feet up on the seat when someone is sitting in the next seat. That means that dog-shit covered soles are in the personal space of another person. Not ok. Ever. Even if you irrevocably effed up your leg in 'Nam and need to keep it elevated at all times.

So, as I'm sure you will have guessed, Sir Thisdick kept his foot on the seat. And then put his second foot on the seat, near enough that if I moved my left arm at all, it would knock into the foot. Please imagine the acts I contemplated with my knitting needle. But I have been told by the finest lawyers I know that the, "but his dirty feet were touching me" defense is flimsy at best, so I keep my knitting needles free of the blood of mine enemies. This left me with a dilemma: how to best fight the war without getting arrested. It should be noted that in the aisle seat on Sir Thisdick's side was a nice man who was quiet and not bothering anyone and therefore was a collateral damage consideration. Also, I didn't want to do anything that was against my moral code: put my own dirty foot next to him or start having a loud cellphone conversation.

Something I just happened to find in my quiver...
Originally uploaded by reallyct
So I did the only thing I could. I emptied the plastic bag full of knitting stuff into my hand bag, put the plastic bag over one of my feet, and put the plastic-bagged foot on the seat next to Sir Thisdick. Yes, you read that correctly. I delved deeply into the pot of crazy to prove a point no one but me gave a crap about. And you know what? It didn't work. I think he knew why I did it, but the magic moment where he said to himself, "maybe she's pissed because I'm behaving like I was brought up in a ditch and I should take my feet off the seat because it's what contributing members of society do and also it was slushy this morning which means my feet are ickier than usual; come to think of it, why am I such a clocksmucker that I put my feet on the seat in the first place?" never came.

So I had to get my retribution from an unexpected place. Like Ronald Reagan, Iran, and Iraq before me, I chose the enemy of my enemy. Standing in the vestibule was someone who might have been in the running for the Hall of Commuter D-Bags on any other day, but who on this day, was a blessing. I'm speaking of course of self-important businessman using train time to conduct Very Important Deals in a Very Loud Voice. Distracted as I was by Sir Thisdick, self-important businessman's bloviating was just so much white noise. Until I noticed how pissed off it made Sir Thisdick. He started occasionally blurting out, "too loud" at the businessman, huffing in his seat, pretending to sleep, waking up again and saying, audibly, "too loud!"

So there was a chink in Sir Thisdick's armor. From this moment I begged the gods of poor breeding to make the very loud conversation last forever (or at least until 125th street at which point I don't much care if the entire train car rips each other limb from limb). It lasted long enough that Sir Thisdick's train ride, a once comfortable and spread-out affair, was marred significantly. Praise Xenu.

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