Monday, March 15, 2010

Get Up, Stand Up

First, on the advice of my attorneys, I will be employing the black bar method of disguising the identity of some of the people in my pictures, not really because Im afraid of getting sued, because a train is a public space, and as such, there is no expectation of privacy (i just made that up), but mainly because in this particular case, I showed this picture to a friend of mine and they delightfuly squealed, "Hey, I know that woman". And if my friend knows them, then chances are they live near me and chances are they can hunt me down, so in the interest of safety, mainly my own, I'm bringing out the black bar.

On to it, then.
There are a lot of people who ride the train who simply refuse to sit bitch, that is, refuse to sit in the middle of a three seater between two other riders. I suspect its a whole too touchy too close personal space kind of thing, especially first thing in the morning. Before your day even starts, you just dont want someone all up in your bidness eating breakfast or cranking their music or bumping elbows while they turn the page of their Wall Street Journal (hurry up iPad). Those folks tend to get on the train kind of late, so they dont have as far to ride, and they usually chose to stand, or sit on the floor in the doorway. It's not really that bad. You just lean there and look out the window for a half hour and your there.

So standing or sitting on the floor are the two most common approaches to avoiding the uncomfortable feeling of touching another person. Turns out there is a third one which I didnt know about. Seems you can stand up at your seat, turn backwards facing the other riders, and scowl for 30 minutes, which is what this woman did. I kept wondering if she as looking for a friend, or an enemy, or a conductor, or happiness, or fulfillment, or a reason to keep going on. But she was standing for too long, so it didnt make sense. Maybe she had that shaky leg thing that you get when you cant sleep, or bad circulation like on planes when if you dont walk around every hour you can get a blood clot and die. But she wasn't stretching or moving around at all. Just standing like a statue. A really pissed off statue. So what else could it be? It had to be that she just didnt want to touch the person in the seat next to her. Now in all fairnes, I couldnt see the person in the seat next to her, so its possible that this person was so repugnant that even the idea of sitting next to them was too horrible to imagine, but then why not go stand next to some other person, or even sit next to them? I still don't know why this happened, and I havent seen her since, so I dont know if this was a one time occurrence or whether this was just how she enjoys riding the train. Either way, she's just one more person on one more train ride of a lifetime of train rides that doesn't make any effing sense. It's unnerving spending hours and hours of your life in a place that more often than not doesn't make sense. Where people just do weird random things that can't be explained. Like when people bark like dogs for no reason, or root for the Mets year after year, or go to New Jersey on vacation.

Next time I see her, I'll offer her my seat and see what happens. My guess is she'll accept it gratefully, move over to where I was sitting, and stand there staring into the train car. And I'll have to switch to her seat...and sit bitch.


  1. Hahaha, she looks like she is really a morning person. And the daylight savings time switch made her even more happy about the morning. Too funny though. I've never seen anyone resolve the "sitting bitch" crisis by doing that.

  2. so wait, is she STANDING bitch? is that her hand on the seatback?

  3. Yes she is standing bitch. which is not to give her the title, "Standing Bitch", which she most certainly is not

  4. You're under arrest.

  5. too uptight to live, too grumpy to die.

  6. bahahahaha! I have almost never ridden a commuter train so this is an exotic and delightful story to read.

    I will say that I hope you never see that woman again, as entertaining as her behaviour is, since I'm pretty sure if you inadvertently look into her eyes, you'll be turned to stone. That is some serious bad-mojo bitchface she's rockin' out there.

    - Katy from

  7. Oh, and while I don't ride a commuter train, I take public transit with soul-destroying frequency. On today's bus ride to the studio, I watched a man change his pants. A young, well-dressed man, not some tragic imbiber of Lysol. He dropped trou (sweats), treated us all to a brief view of his briefs, and then pulled on a pair of 300-dollar jeans. I have seen many an interesting and unseemly and inappropriate scenario unfold on the bus, but this was a first.

    (And to the bus driver's sternly barked, "Hey! What are you doing back there?", the fellow replied, "Well, duh. I'm changing my pants". Well, duh indeed.)

    - Katy again from again

  8. Maybe she was just being self-conscious about the width of her hips, like I am. I am always afraid I don't fit in between two people, and end up on their laps.