How Not to Be a Jerk on Public Transportation

8 Sep

or, “one of these days, falconesse is gonna smite someone.”

1.  Put the backpack on the floor.  Are you carrying one of those big-ass hiking kits that extends two feet above your head and could see you through six weeks trekking across Europe without needing to resupply?  Is it the equivalent of lugging someone piggyback along with you?  And every time you move you’re knocking your fellow travelers over like human bowling pins?

Shrug the damned thing off and put it at your feet.  Yes, even if you’re only going a couple of stops.  Take thirty seconds to readjust when you get off the train.

2.  Your purse is not a person.  If the train is full, get your Gucci bag off the seat so someone else can sit down.  I see you not making eye contact and hoping that fellow passengers will stand rather than disturb you.  You’re one person in a three-seat bench.  Share.

3.  Offer the pregnant lady/elderly person/dude on crutches your seat.  It is not ONLY the responsibility of the person in the designated handicapped seat to be polite.  Don’t wait for someone else to be nice.  Just… be nice.  Another thing to keep in mind, if you’re waiting for the person in the handicapped seat to get up — just because someone looks like they’d be okay standing for a while doesn’t mean they are.  Some disabilities aren’t ones you can see.  So if you are someone capable of standing, make the offer.  It might not always be accepted, but the gesture is usually appreciated.

4.  Move all the way into the car.  Getting two steps inside the door and stopping means everyone getting on behind you has to maneuver around you.  Maybe you’re just going one stop, but chances are any five people behind you could say the same.  Move in.  Make room.

5.  LET PEOPLE GET OFF THE TRAIN BEFORE YOU GET ON.  /wharrgarbl.  This doesn’t just apply to trains, but to busy coffee shops and elevators, too.  Trying to shove your way aboard gums everything up.  Wait ten seconds.  You’ll get fewer elbows in your ribs that way.

I’m guessing I’m preaching to the choir for most of our readers, but if ever there’s a day you see headlines like Boston Woman Carried Off Train Shouting About Goddamned Elephant-Sized Backpacks, well, you probably know who it’s about.

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