I’ve been trying to keep my subway pet peeves out of this blog, well, because they are my peeves. Idiosyncratic and unreasonable, it probably wouldn’t make much sense to you why I get so pissed off when I’m confronted by a person or persons doing something I consider irresistibly stupid or just plain rude. But I feel I must share a peeve with you now because if I stop just one person from doing it, I will have done my part to make the world a better place.
I’d like to label this peeve “no standing.” It happens when a seemingly bright, able-bodied person, let’s call him John for the purpose of this argument, trucks down the stairs at lightening speed, nearly bowling me over in an incredible rush to get to the turnstile, wherein he comes to a screeching halt, holding up everyone behind him while he scrounges through his messenger bag to find his Metrocard. At this point I’ve almost run into John’s backside since he’s blocked entrance to the platform. He searches through this pocket and that, oblivious that he should kindly step aside while digging. He is the same person that will be walking along the platform, arrive at his preferred waiting spot and stop, dead on in the middle of the walkway, forcing people to squeeze by him to pass. John is also the same guy who decides that, upon entering the train first, he will stand by the train doors blocking everyone else from getting on or off. By now, you see my point. I bet John’s momma raised him better.
What is it about the Johns of the world that make them think they are the only ones on the planet? There does seem to be a conglomeration of these types in New York, a city with roughly eight million inhabitants, which makes it ironic that they live in NYC at all. I mean, if you don’t want to be courteous to your neighbors, Montana or Siberia might be a better place to call home.
My friend Helen says that this behavior can be summed up as a basic sociological assertion, the official name of which has escaped me. (Any sociologists out there?) The premise is that in hyper-populated urban areas people subconsciously need to set themselves apart from the masses, crying out, “I’m here. Notice me!” To do this, they act out in small ways: throw trash on the sidewalk, cut in line, let the door slam in your face. It’s an adult version of a child throwing a tantrum in McDonald’s. By no means is this limited to the human race. With all of the trees, grass and curbs in the neighborhood, my dog often chooses to pee right in the middle of the sidewalk.
In writing this I realize that maybe you, too, share my peeve. If so, email me. Maybe we can start a support group.