Thursday, February 27, 2014


One of my favorite lines from Seinfeld is when George shouts, in a moment of frustration, that THERE ARE RULES!  What he's referring to is his perspective on how the world SHOULD be.  Well, this post focuses on my rules and expectations for train commuting.  The ones below are just a few to start.  I will add more as they come to mind.  I'd like to know your rules as well, so feel free to add them in the comments.  With enough feedback, we can build a Commuting Constitution.
  • Rule of Sleeping.  If you snore and your mouth is wide open, I am within my rights to try to land peanuts in your mouth from my seat.
  • Cell phone conversations can and will be used against you.  If you speak on a cell phone, and you are loud enough that I hear you give your cell phone number to the person to whom you're speaking, I reserve the right to harass you with text messages saying to shut up.
  • Mouths in Motion Tend To Stay in Motion. Warp 5, Mr. Sulu. If you see two people on the platform waiting and making small talk, you can reasonably expect that the small talk will continue for the duration of the ride.  These people technically have the right to have a conversation about fascinating topics such as the virtues of metal rakes vs. wooden rakes and mower blade sharpening.  Move away.  While you still can.
  • Mouths in Motion Tend to Stay in Motion. Shields Up! If moving away is impractical, get out the headphones. You don't even need a device to plug them into. They will provide sufficient muffling.  Or turn down your hearing aids if you are lucky enough to be hearing impaired.  
  • Be nice... Until it's time to not be nice.  Everyone will try to get on the train before you.  Elbows out and smile as you nicely shove your way past everyone.  If you are too nice, you will stand all the way to your destination.
  • The lavatory will always be gross.  Even after they clean it.  And to top it off, the sliding doors rarely lock properly, so when the train stops short, the door opens and it's SHOWTIME !
I haven't even touched the topic of the eating on the train.  Stay tuned for a very special guest blogger post on this subject, coming soon.

Monday, February 24, 2014

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

This Metro-North Conductor tried to do right by his regulars by apologizing for a train schedule miscommunication the prior day.  He left paper messages left on train seats for passengers to read.

I knew before I read the article that Metro-North Management would say they don't condone this kind of communication and scold him. I say good for him. There is so much misinformation shared with the riders that it is refreshing to receive a genuine apology for an honest mistake.

This man takes such pride in his work, and given the year Metro-North has had, they should cling to this feel-good story like a life raft on the open sea.  Too bad they blew it again.

Click for story

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Kicking This Thing Off

Hello, my name is David, I ride the Long Island Rail Road to Manhattan, NY 3-5 days per week.  Once in Manhattan, I often take another form of transportation, such as the subway, PATH, or bus to an office, either mine or that of a client.

My train ride is pretty typical for the tri-state area.  An express train will get me to Penn Station in about 45 minutes. Overall one-way commute, door to door, is about one hour and twenty minutes.  Tell anyone in the NY metropolitan area that’s your commute time and you’ll be met with a blank stare that says, “typical.”  Tell someone from outside the area and he will recoil in horror and wonder why anyone would subject himself to this.

Well, I’m a born and raised New Yorker, and my roots run pretty deep, so here I stay.  I’m a pretty observant guy, and I enjoy people-watching.  So, a blog is born.  

Disclaimer: I make no claim that any of the things I point out are real issues - just the contrary.  This however, does not change the fact that people who don’t follow the “rules” need proper education.

If you spend your days at home not meeting anyone, you probably won't follow my thinking.  If you are a super-positive, glass is half full person all the time, you probably won't follow my thinking.  But if you commute on a train or bus, work in an office, or drive on a highway, and a have a reasonably healthy dose of cynicism baked into your personality, then you may relate with the things I observe.

Here are some basic examples of the kinds of people I encounter on the train.  Their behaviors should result in some kind of societal traffic ticket.  In my perfect world, all violators would be required to stand before a judge who would hear each case and then sentence the perpetrators to an appropriate punishment.  Naturally, I would be a prime candidate to be that judge.

Cell Phone Abusers:
  • The meanderer.  The meanderer could be a teenager having a conversation with no direction, a person interviewing a job candidate, a mother talking to her child, a member of Houston Mission Control directing a critical space mission, etc.  If mobile phones are likely to cause brain tumors, the meanderer is at high risk.
  • The highly important businessman.  You know him.  He conducts multi-million dollar deals on his commute.  The word "million" is used a lot.  He's likely wearing a bluetooth headset.
  • The sharer.  The sharer discusses personal matters at a volume just a few decibels below stadium PA speakers.  I know more about one woman's gall bladder than I do about my own organs.
  • The arguer.  The arguer is in a battle with a significant other, who has committed an egregious wrongdoing and must be made aware of this RIGHT NOW, along with everyone else within earshot.
Others include:
  • The seat and armrest boundary violator.  You'll find him on planes, trains, and automobiles.  He oozes into your space.
  • The belligerent intoxicated person.  Grouchy, loud, and drunk.  Most likely, he  has forgotten his ticket and will argue with the conductor.
  • The music lover.  I can listen to all eleven minutes of Led Zeppelin's "In My Time of Dying" (even though they stole it from Blind Willie Dixon, but I digress).  Can you?  Would you want to?  Probably not.  So, I keep my music down on my headphones.  
  • The gum popper.  Don't even get me started.  He deserves the electric chair.
My list could go on and on.  It probably will.  Thanks for reading and sharing your comments.  I look forward to having some fun with this.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Near-Brawl For Nothing

On the train (PATH) at 33rd Street, waiting for the train to leave the station.  Guy gets on, trips over another guy's bag, and nearly goes down.  The two guys then stare at each other like rams about to lock horns.  Nearly a brawl over a an accident.  Ah, New York.

This is an illustration of my rule about lunatics.  Lunatics are everywhere.  One of these two guys was likely a lunatic.  If both were, there would definitely have been a brawl.  I'm glad that wasn't the case, because I had a front row seat (literally) on the PATH as this happened.

Monday, February 17, 2014