Friday, June 13, 2014

Have a Seat

Today on TheTrainInVain, we're going to talk about train seat maladies.  Every now and then, whether you're on a newer M-7 train, a double-decker, or an older train, you'll come upon seats that are not desirable for your derrière.  Let's look at a few.

To start the conversation, let's set a baseline.  See the image below of a three seater on a newer M-7 train.  This is what a row of train seats is supposed to look like.  The bench in the image is so clean and so inviting.  Therefore, one can only assume that no human has ever sat in it.  If you zoomed out, you'd probably see a velvet rope and a very large mean-looking bouncer with gold chains, an earpiece, and a clipboard standing in front of it.  I'm pretty certain my name would not be on his VIP list.  "Keep moving," he'd say to me.  "You must be in one of the cheap seats."

A pristine row of three train seats
Now for the cheap seats.

The seat with duct tape.  Many people say that duct tape is the greatest invention, its versatility only limited by imagination.  I agree with this and use duct tape for many things, including fixing a hose, sealing an air vent, repairing hot air balloons, silencing the children, etc.

KIDDING!  Please don't send Child Protective Services to my house.  I've only used blue painter's tape on my kids' mouths.  I'm not an animal.

The Long Island Rail Road likes duct tape too.  It seems that every time a seat is ripped, they use duct tape to mummify it.

When the duct tape is first applied, it's all well and good.  You have a nicely repaired seat, and can feel confident to sit down.  However, when duct tape is heated, it gets gross.  What do you think happens when a rear end hits the seat and covers the duct tape?  Those 98.6 degrees covering that duct tape will make the tape slip.  And when it slips, the glue underneath gets exposed.  Dust, grime, food particles, hair, and Lord knows what else sticks to it.  Yuck.  Now you have a train seat that simulates a movie theater floor.

Duct tape on the seat.  Note the grime on the edges.  Gross.

Seats with a drop center.  These are the worst seats of all, because they attack stealthily.  I can't even share a picture, because they look like any other seat.  You don't know you've found a seat with a drop center until you sit.  What happens when you sit down? PLOP.  What the hell happened to this seat?  The seat looked perfectly normal, but now it feels like I'm sitting on one of those soft toilet seats from the 1970s.  Awful.  Can't sit like this for 45 minutes.  Get up and move.

What a train seat with dropped out center feels like

Seats covered entirely by advertisement posters.  This happens a lot, and I don't understand it.  Who had the brilliant idea to take an advertising poster and cover a seat with it?  These posters have the same problem as duct tape; butt heat and slippage.  Gross.  Same problem, just on a grander scale.

A train seat, disguised as an advertisement for a charity event  

Seats with missing cushions.  Every now and then you see a seat like the one in the photo below.  What happened to the cushion?  How did it disappear?  Did someone steal it?  You'd expect this to be an isolated thing.  But no, you see this frequently, particularly on the fold-up seats in the wheelchair accessible areas.  Doesn't that look comfortable?  Maybe I should start carrying a pillow to make the seat usable.

The inner workings of a fold-up train seat

Train seat maladies are just another dimension to consider when boarding during the crush.  One must be aware of oozers, gum crackers, important phone call takers, snorers, and toenail clippers.  On top of all that, one must try to find a comfortable seat.  It's too much pressure!  I'll be standing in the vestibule.

Happy commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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