Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Finding a Good Seat On the Train: The Xs and Os

Today on “TheTrainInVain,” I’m going to provide some helpful tips to find a good seat when you board your train.   A crudely drawn diagram to serve as a visual aid accompanies each tip.  I could have used a tool like PowerPoint to make the diagrams easier to follow, but I find crudely drawn diagrams more interesting. 

In all drawings, O represents a fellow commuter and represents you.  Remember that decisions have to be made lightning fast at boarding time, because seats get gobbled up quickly.

Seating Tip #1: Look for the three-seater with a largely proportioned individual on one end.  When you find this seat, grab it quickly.  It is the most coveted seat on the train.  “Why,” you ask? Quite simple.  If you’ll refer to Exhibit A, you’ll understand.  Observe how Red is oozing into the center seat.  If you, Green X, take the end seat, it is unlikely anyone will want the center seat.  You will commute to your destination with copious arm and leg space.  

Exhibit A: Oozing Guy (O), Takes Up 1.25 Seats

Seating Tip #2: Look for a seat next to a rail-thin woman. You couldn't find the three-seater from Tip #1?  That's fine.  Now look for the two-seater containing a woman whose daily caloric intake matches that of an impoverished rabbit.  See Exhibit B.  You, Green X have lots of room, plus some bonus elbow room, as shown by the arrow.  Red O is up against the window, sleeping, probably dreaming about her next meal, a tic-tac.

Exhibit B: Plenty of Room Next To The Woman Who Could Use a Slice of Pizza

Seating Tip #3: An unused Conductor seat is good, but is sometimes a mirage.   There is a Conductor seat in every car on the Long Island Railroad.  If the Conductor isn't, er, conducting from this car, the seats are usually open.  The seat may appear enticing, but your euphoria at finding such a seat is masking potential peril.  

You'll have a private spot, with a cup holder for your coffee.  You won't hear any phone conversations.  Snoring will be non-existent, unless it's your own.  However, if you’re six feet or taller, you won’t have any leg room.  Apparently, conductors are all built like jockeys and have no need to stretch their legs.  Making matters worse, another commuter may ask to sit next to you.  You could find yourself in the honeymoon suite with an enthusiastically chatty plumber named Bob, who wants to engage you in a conversation about the virtues of steel vs. plastic waste pipe.  

Exhibit C below provides a visual representation of the conductor seat location.  You, Green X, are squashed into the Conductor's seat, away from it all.

Exhibit C: You (X) In the Conductor's Seat

I’ve given the seating tips, now it's up to you. And remember, steel waste pipes are typically used for underground plumbing, while plastic is used for above-ground systems.

Happy commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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