It bothers me when a person insists on using a subway seat for a bag on a crowded train. It bothers me so much that I will sit in that seat even if I’d originally planned to stand. I might be getting off in only one or two stops, but if the train is crowded and your bag is occupying a seat, I will make you move it for me. It’s one thing to spread out with your stuff and make yourself more comfortable when seats are numerous. But as soon as the train starts to fill up I expect people (and the considerate ones do) to anticipate the needs of others and move their things before someone (like me) has to ask them to do it.
The only subway seat hogs that bother me more than the bag sprawlers are the ones who lounge like they’re sitting on their own furniture. They stretch out across multiple seats and put up their feet. Now if a homeless person treats a subway car like personal property, I have no problem with that. But if you have a place to live, and you’re not obese, you get one seat, and one seat only. Even if the train car is empty, keep your shoes off the seats. No one wants to sit where your filthy feet have been. And while we’re on the subject, can you please take your garbage with you? Why is it so hard for some to hold on to that coffee cup or soda can (which is never completely empty), take-out container, wrapper, or gum until the next garbage receptacle? You litterbugs are part of the reason rats will never starve in the subway system.
I don’t expect silence on the subway. The train itself is a loud entity. But I would like to read my book or do my crossword puzzle—it’s one of the perks of not driving or biking. I can accept the crying baby or the conversation held by two voices that carry. And I have no complaints as long as performers and panhandlers keep it brief or entertaining. But some noises on the train don’t have to be part of the experience. They come from the oblivious or inconsiderate.
Few sounds annoy me more on a train than the sound of a person playing some silly game with the volume turned all the way up. No one wants to hear that. Those electronic beeps, tweets, trills, and ta-das are aggravating out of context. Use your headphones or turn the sound down (better yet, turn it off). An unmuted game player is trumped only by the person who decides that now is the right time to choose a new cell phone ring—especially if “now” the train is stalled between stations. In my daydreams I grab the phone from the offender’s hands, throw it to the ground, and stomp on it vigorously.
The unnecessary noises continue when I try to escape the subway. My home station only has two turnstiles at the end I use. It also has an emergency exit that sounds an ear-piercing alarm when opened. I don’t know which annoys me more—the fact that people open the emergency door and initiate its horrendous wail because they can’t wait the thirty seconds to use the turnstile, or the fact that these doors have alarms at all. I’m sure (actually, I hope) there was a reason for equipping these doors with alarms—perhaps it was even a good one. But for the life of me I can’t figure out what use it serves now. It doesn’t deter people from using the door outside of an emergency situation. It doesn’t alert emergency personnel so that they come running. It’s just loud without a clear and present purpose.
Perhaps I am too sensitive to noises. I can’t fall asleep if I can hear someone snoring. And I can’t concentrate on something challenging if there is too much noise around me. (I could never do my homework in front of the TV.) Car alarms make me want to break a windshield. And there is a particular ice cream truck song (made worse by its intermittent call of “Hello!”) that will be the foundation of my insanity defense when it finally drives me absolutely crazy.