An Open Letter to the Guy Who Said I Was “Rude”

 

Okay, first of all, I didn’t “shove” you, I simply left the train and moved quickly toward the nearest exit – as if I’d just been ordered to evacuate the premises immediately – which is exactly how one is supposed to comport oneself in a crowded subway station at rush hour. You’re the one who chose to plant yourself squarely in between the subway car door and said exit, then tried to push inside like some clueless salmon against the stream of humanity trying to exit, which makes you, not I, the rude one here.

If I were anywhere near as “rude” as you said I was, I’d have stopped in my tracks to let you know exactly what I think of people like you but no, I simply suggested another place that I thought you should visit as I moved briskly by, because unlike you, I know better than to stand in the way of people who are trying to leave a train.

And just stop already with that wide-eyed, innocent, “welp, you cain’t expect li’l old me to know how these subway thangs work when we don’t have ‘em whur ah com from” routine. You know where else they don’t have subways? Tulsa, Oklahoma. And yet, somehow, despite having spent most of my life in that town before moving to the big city, I managed to figure out that the number one rule of elevator etiquette – “Let ‘em off first” also applies to subway cars.

No elevators in your sleepy little hamlet? Okay, how ‘bout boxes? Or tubs? Or drinking glasses? Surely, at some point over the course of your life, you have managed to become acquainted with the concept that it’s easier to fill something up after you’ve emptied it first!

As for your indignant accusation that New Yorkers are all “crazy people” who “fly off the handle at the tiniest things” (yeah, I heard that too), just how many “tiny things” do you think you could take in quick succession before that “aw shucks” persona of yours cracked? Let’s say you’re back home at the square dance (that’s right, I said square dance – ‘cause if you’re gonna pull that “Hayseed Hank” routine then I’m gonna run with it), and from (literally) square one, everyone around you is ignoring the caller and messing up the moves and getting in your way – starting left on the Do-Si-Do, Allemanding when they should Promenade – so no matter where you turn, you’re constantly tripping over and running into people through no fault of your own. Shore is frustratin’, ain’t it?

Now imagine you have to attend that same dance. Every. Single. Day.

So sure, I might have left work today with a smile on my face and a song in my heart but after the constant whiplash brought on by an endless parade of idiots stopping dead in the middle of a sea of fast-moving pedestrian traffic to take a selfie, check a map, or stare at their phones, and then my getting clotheslined by couples who want to join hands and spread themselves the full width of the sidewalk then slow to a crawl, and having to wait at the top of the subway steps for the group that’s using both sides of the stairs to haul up their massive suitcases so they can huddle together, regroup and count heads right in the entrance, then getting stymied on the stairs by the Parent of the Year who’s decided that a packed, wet staircase at rush hour in New York City is the perfect place and time to let Junior try and make it down the steps all . . . by . . . him . . . self . . . and then discovering at the bottom of the steps that yet another tour group from Mensa has spread out to occupy every single turnstile before it occurred to any of them to remove gloves and start searching bags and pockets for their MetroCards, I finally make it down to the platform just in time to see my train pulling away.

By the time the next one pulled in, a bevy of Belgian backpackers had joined me, not one of whom had the courtesy to remove their huge packs inside the car but all of whom then proceeded to carouse about the moving train with no regard whatsoever for the giant protrusions they were wearing, thus for my entire ride home it felt like I was being beaten up by a gang of oversized, amiably drunk turtles so when I finally reached my stop and you, Mr. Clueless Cowboy, tried to push right past me before I could exit, bellowing “is this the N train?”, no, that was no “tiny thing.” You were the living, breathing embodiment of the “last straw” and I should actually be congratulated, under the circumstances, for my admirable restraint.

You want people to stop being so “rude” to you in New York? Then learn some manners.

Also, pay attention. That was the “R” train, doofus. I hope you had a good time in Sunnyside.

There are 31 comments.

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  1. Hank Rhody, Bombast Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Bombast
    @HankRhody

    This only further fuels my contention that New York City isn’t a real place. It’s a made-up fairy-tale land for Superheros to battle Godzilla and cabbies to argue with mobsters about the Yankees.

    • #1
  2. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Hank Rhody, Bombast (View Comment):
    This only further fuels my contention that New York City isn’t a real place. It’s a made-up fairy-tale land for Superheros to battle Godzilla and cabbies to argue with mobsters about the Yankees.

    Oh don’t even get me started on the cab drivers.

    • #2
  3. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher
    Vicryl Contessa
    @VicrylContessa

    You know what what used to really piss me off, besides the guy with his legs spread so wide it took up three seats total? Going to the wrong halal cart. You know the one. The one where they put too many onions on top, the white sauce is too mayonnaise-y, when you asked for a strip of hot sauce they slather it on, and then they charge you a dollar more than your usual halal cart just outside the Time Warner building. That pissed me off.

    • #3
  4. Hank Rhody, Bombast Contributor
    Hank Rhody, Bombast
    @HankRhody

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):
    Going to the wrong halal cart. You know the one.

    No, actually, I don’t. You’ll have to point it out for me next time.

    • #4
  5. Paul Erickson Inactive
    Paul Erickson
    @PaulErickson

    Love it!  You had me with “clueless salmon!”

    • #5
  6. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    Someone had a bad day.

    • #6
  7. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Randy Webster (View Comment):
    Someone had a bad day.

    LOL!

    Someone had a Tuesday.

    • #7
  8. Fritz Coolidge
    Fritz
    @Fritz

    Testify, sister!!!!

    • #8
  9. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Haven’t been there for 25 years. If I never go back it will be soon enough.

    • #9
  10. Matt Balzer Member
    Matt Balzer
    @MattBalzer

    Vicryl Contessa (View Comment):
    The one where they put too many onions on top

    Never ran up against that one.

    • #10
  11. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    Outstanding Post.

    kelsurprise: (that’s right, I said square dance – ‘cause if you’re gonna pull that “Hayseed Hank” routine then I’m gonna run with it)

    “Hayseed Hank” is a loser.  If you’re going to play the country boy card, go with Sam Elliot.  Every time.

    • #11
  12. Al French Moderator
    Al French
    @AlFrench

    Remind me to always stay on your good side.

    • #12
  13. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):
    Outstanding Post.

    kelsurprise: (that’s right, I said square dance – ‘cause if you’re gonna pull that “Hayseed Hank” routine then I’m gonna run with it)

    “Hayseed Hank” is a loser. If you’re going to play the country boy card, go with Sam Elliot. Every time

    I really didn’t think that movie could be improved upon but the subtitles there were pretty awesome.

    Also, I see what you did there.  Subtle reminder that I should be nice . . . until it’s time to not be nice?

    • #13
  14. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Al French (View Comment):
    Remind me to always stay on your good side.

    If you’re walking toward me on a crowded NY sidewalk, it’s on my left.

    On the other hand, if we ever meet in Kansas . . .

    You have some room to roam, there.

    • #14
  15. Jules PA Member
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    You held on to that bronc in the Bronx!

    Q’uelle Supris, Kelsuprise!

    There’s a trophy for you…look, there it is…

    a case of

    [your favorite after subway beverage],

    and one single glass.

    All. For. You.

    Great post.

    • #15
  16. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    My, my, my.


    This conversation is an entry in our Group Writing Series. Our January theme is “An Open Letter…” where we are having some fun with the idea of the open letter. If you have an idea for a parody or humorous open letter, our schedule and sign-up sheet is here. We still have six openings in January.

    • #16
  17. Boss Mongo Member
    Boss Mongo
    @BossMongo

    kelsurprise (View Comment):
    Also, I see what you did there. Subtle reminder that I should be nice . . . until it’s time to not be nice?

    “Be nice.  Be Polite. Have a plan to kill (kel?) everyone you see.”

    This is attributed to Mattis, but I think he’d be the first to say that this saying well pre-dates him.  I can remember hearing it as a wee little feller  when my Da and his fellow pipehitters gathered at the house, talking about what they did back in the ‘Nam…and the previous Tuesday.

    • #17
  18. PHenry Member
    PHenry
    @PHenry

    kelsurprise (View Comment):
    If you’re walking toward me on a crowded NY sidewalk, it’s on my left.

    Yeah!

    I always quietly mumble, ‘what side do you drive on?’  Be it in a hall, passing through double doors, or walking the sidewalk, keep to the right.  ( do they walk on the left in Great Britain, I wonder? )

    And what about these people who gather right in the middle of a crowded walkway or hall and strike up conversations, as crowds of people try to walk around them?  Is it unawareness or just arrogant selfishness?  To them, I mumble, ‘No parking!’.  It doesn’t really help, but it makes me feel better…

    • #18
  19. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Oblivions is the word you are looking for.

    • #19
  20. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    Have Johnny T let um know this NYC works.

    https://youtu.be/8LmPBPWHJu4

    • #20
  21. Mate De Inactive
    Mate De
    @MateDe

    This is super accurate as well.

    https://youtu.be/NIqqmtpidOU

    • #21
  22. Oblomov Member
    Oblomov
    @Oblomov

    That’s some mighty fine writin’ right there, I tell you whhhut.

    • #22
  23. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Mate De (View Comment):
    Have Johnny T let um know this NYC works.

    I love Johnny T.

    • #23
  24. Eridemus Coolidge
    Eridemus
    @Eridemus

    @kelsurprise

    Even in small cities without subways one finds the more universal setting for the same behavior – known as an elevator –  with identical cluelessness on display. Maybe there is no escape.

    • #24
  25. kelsurprise Member
    kelsurprise
    @kelsurprise

    Eridemus (View Comment):
    Maybe there is no escape.

    Certainly not, if these people keep standing in our way.

    • #25
  26. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    Oblomov (View Comment):
    That’s some mighty fine writin’ right there, I tell you whhhut.

    Seconded

    • #26
  27. Son of Spengler Contributor
    Son of Spengler
    @SonofSpengler

    New York has some of the best of everything the world has to offer, but the things you have to put up with to enjoy them can be exhausting. I used to love spending time there as a teen. As I’ve grown I find it’s a lot of work to pay attention properly.

    • #27
  28. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    Wonderful & witty post.  Thanks for allowing your lousy Tuesday to brighten our Wednesday.

    Sadly, the situations you describe occur wherever people abound, and not only in NYC (where they are probably worse by a factor of ten). I see this sort of oblivion in malls, on the road (aaarrrgh!), in churches, and in office buildings.  Pretty much everywhere.  It boils down to this:

    There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who seem to think they are the only people on the planet, and those who’re aware of the other people around them.

    (edited to correct a punctuation typo)

    • #28
  29. Frank Soto Contributor
    Frank Soto
    @FrankSoto

    • #29
  30. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    kelsurprise: I managed to figure out that the number one rule of elevator etiquette – “Let ‘em off first” also applies to subway cars.

    OMG . . . true dat.

    I’ve had children rush into an elevator I was in when I had a fully loaded luggage cart (yeah, I’m that old now), getting ready to get out.  The parents said nothing.

    However, it happens with adults now too.  Maybe we need a web site called “proper behavior in a civil society”.

    I’d host it, but I just got my man card back . . .

     

     

    For the record, I taught my three daughters to wait for people to exit first, then get in.

    • #30

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