Whenever friends or family come to visit me in New York City, we almost always take the subway at least a few times. Usually, I have to warn them that there is high potential they’ll see something completely crazy during our belowground travels.
More often than not, my warning proves to have been appropriate.
(Last time my mom and dad came to visit, a dude was beating off underneath his snap-away pants, a mere five seats away from where my mom initially chose to sit down. I was like, “See? I told you weird stuff goes on underground here.”)
But you can generally lump these people into specific categories. Here are a few of them:
The kids who bring a boom box on board, play it obnoxiously loud, and pole-dance.
These people are the worst. You’re on the train, serenely reading a book while an elderly Hispanic woman dozes on your shoulder, when you hear the dreaded call of the teenage male subway pole-dancer: “WHAT TIME IS IT? SHOW TIME!!!!!!”
“F**k,” 90 percent of the train’s passengers sigh before we are hit by garish music that sounds even worse than it otherwise would (MTA trains have terrible acoustics, I guess). A group of kids then commence taking turns busting out dance moves that often utilize the poles that people on the train use to ensure they don’t wipe out while riding the train like normal individuals.
Most of us do our very best to ignore them and continue whatever it was we were doing before they began their horrible performance. We attempt to play this through while they ask us for money and call us “haters” if we refuse to “donate.”
The person who blasts his music as loud as his phone will play it, because he has never heard of earphones, apparently.
I don’t understand why these people won’t invest in a set of ear buds. You can get them for, like, three bucks pretty much anywhere. That’s probably about 1/10th of what you spend monthly to have a cell phone that can play music in the first place. Nobody wants to hear your music blasting terribly (again, those damn acoustics) while they’re trying to execute a peaceful commute. Like, if I wanted to listen to Young Jeezy, I would do so through my own device, which would be connected to headphones so as not to annoy everyone around me and to keep from exposing Hasidic infants to lyrics about selling cocaine.
Pro tip, for if this ever happens to you: When the train stops, move as closely as you can to the obnoxious offender, and sit down (don’t worry, nobody ever wants to sit too closely to the dude blasting “Ruff Ryder Anthem” with reckless abandon). Then queue up the most ridiculous song you can think of, unplug your headphones, and let it rip. He’ll either shut off his music or enter a debate with you that there is no way he’ll win, on account of the fact he was the one playing music loudly on the train in the first place, with no regard for the musical taste of those around him. I usually like to play Celine Dion’s “That’s The Way It Is,” but if it’s a weekend and I’m feeling extra whimsical, I’ll toss on Sisco’s timeless classic, “The Thong Song.”
The entitled “Millenial.”
These are the young cats who will stay sitting when a pregnant or elderly woman is standing in their general vicinity. Sometimes, they’ll even sprawl out over two or three seats’ worth of space. Everyone stares at them in disgust, but people rarely confront them, because if someone does, there is about a 50 percent chance the Millenial will continue to ignore them, which is super-embarrassing for the confronter, who can do nothing, because if you touch these kids you’ll end up having to pay damages and 20 years of psychotherapy co-pays.
The stunningly beautiful woman.
This woman is to the train as Wendy Peffercorn is to the local public swimming pool in Sandlot. She’s so gorgeous that every man on the subway will gape at her, but none of them—not even the crazy homeless guy playing the kazoo—will approach her. Us artsy types just write notes about her in a Moleskine and then go home to write a Missed Connection she will never read.
The very, very pro-PDA couple.
The last thing in the world that you want to see on your morning commute after a night spent completely alone is a couple full-on making out within inches of your face. I am all for young love, more than I am all for most anything with the notable exception of the Junior Bacon Cheeseburger, but come on—keep that sh*t to yourselves. There are plenty of people being groped unwillingly on the subway every day. Don’t add to it with your consensual liplocking.