THE BLOG
05/05/2011 01:56 pm ET | Updated Jul 05, 2011

Subway Etiquette, or, "What's Wrong With Other People?"

New Yorkers are a pretty smart lot, so I ask myself: why can't they figure out how to get in and out of a subway car, something they are forced to do thousands of times in their lifetimes? I take the subway every day, and every day it's the same thing. There are different categories of people who just insist on gumming up the works.

I'll break them into three categories, three groups of subway commuters who drive me insane:

The Silent Sentries -- These are the macho guys and precious gals who stand just inside the subway door, listening to their iPods, while they ignore every living thing around them. They are somehow oblivious to the throngs of people trying to get in and out. It doesn't matter if the subway car is completely empty -- these "silent sentries" will choose to stand just inside those doors and refuse to move an inch. And many times, they are wearing backpacks so that, if they stand sideways, there is no way to get by them without pushing them aside which I have been forced to do more than once. They don't care. They stand there still -- is this some sort of union job?

The Elephants -- This second group appears whenever I'm trying to exit the subway car. These are those people holding multiple shopping bags poised just outside the subway car doors ready to run and pounce on any empty seat the second those doors open. Those of us exiting are more or less invisible. These "elephants" just push right on and through, sometimes kindly leaving a sliver -- but just a sliver -- of space for the first couple of people to exit. The rest are on their own because, by that time, the "elephants" are in stampede mode. More than once, I've lowered my shoulder and let one of them have it. It does no good. I get a sore shoulder and exit to them cursing at me. In fact, that's what they want to know -- what's wrong with me?

The Lollygaggers -- This last group at those commuters who, the moment they set foot inside a subway car, stop or begin walking as slow as possible, as if they're checking out pieces of art in a museum. It's as though no one else is behind them. It takes all my willpower not to shove them out of the way but I resist. After all, I don't want to be one of those crazed New Yorkers who are bothered by every little thing.