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December 6, 2012 8:43 AM   Subscribe

The Urban Etiquette Handbook
posted by roomthreeseventeen (170 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Omitted rules: close your goddamn umbrella under a block long scaffold, you asshole, and if you stop at the top of the subway stairs to check your phone I will FEED IT TO YOU.
posted by elizardbits at 8:53 AM on December 6, 2012 [37 favorites]


1.5 pages out of 11 seem do deal directly with urbanity (6 & 7). The rest seem to pretty much be about getting along with everybody else. Hard to classify 3 & 11.
posted by achrise at 8:55 AM on December 6, 2012


If you need to have basic, common sense rules spelled out to you, stay home.
posted by Splunge at 8:56 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also glaringly absent: Stand to the right, walk to the left. So simple, but so, so many get it wrong.
posted by mochapickle at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


I guess you've never seen the green area of this site then.
posted by elizardbits at 8:57 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pedestrians can die of secondhand smoke, too.

Good fucking God, no, they can't. Keep your lifestyle policing to your private property, you fascist.
posted by Dasein at 8:58 AM on December 6, 2012 [34 favorites]


Did I miss it or was there no mention of golf umbrellas on crowded sidewalks which make a single person take up space that could otherwise have gone to five pedestrians not threatening to accidentally skewer my eyeball?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:58 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also omitted: if you pretend you haven't seen the oncoming person you can walk into them and feign outrage that someone has barged into you.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


They did indeed neglect the umbrellas which makes me suspect that they themselves are MONSTROUS UMBRELLA CRIMINALS.
posted by elizardbits at 9:00 AM on December 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


They've forgotten a couple of subway/train assholes:
  1. The person who stops moving as soon as they clear the threshold: Excuse me, there are people behind you who still need to get on the train.
  2. The person who tries to force their way on the train before people have exited: Hey, dumbass, you can't get on until these people get off and the train isn't leaving as long as they're still unloading.
That said, most of these rules seem like they should be self-evident. The only ones that might be newish are the cellphone ones, because it seems that, as a society, we're still trying to figure out proper cellphone etiquette.
posted by asnider at 9:02 AM on December 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Also what is the etiquette for telling/not telling(/telling everyone else in the building) a neighbor that their vibrator is incredibly, hilariously, phenomenally loud.
posted by elizardbits at 9:05 AM on December 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


This has waaaaaaaay too many pages to scroll through. Do they cover escalator etiquette of STANDING TO THE FUCKING RIGHT TO LET PEOPLE PASS ON THE LEFT?
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 9:06 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Who pays the bill on a date?
The asker pays, unless the woman does the asking—then the man should pay. If the check’s on the table and her suitor hasn’t moved for it, a woman should allow him a one-bathroom-trip grace period. If it’s still there when she comes back, she should split the bill but is entirely free to silently ruminate about what a cheap jerk he is. (For same-sex couples, the asker really does pay.)
Wait. Is this the New Yorker's snarky way of saying that the man should always pay? Or am I misinterpreting this?

My rule: The asker pays on the first date, but the askee is free to offer to split the check if he/she feels so inclined. On subsequent dates, you either take turns paying (usually depending on who chose the restaurant), or just split the goddamn check.
posted by schmod at 9:08 AM on December 6, 2012 [18 favorites]


Ooooh! The world hurts me!! We need a set of arcane rules to make it conform to my expectations!
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:08 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


The asker pays, unless the woman does the asking—then the man should pay.

Yeah, fuck that noise. Asker pays, end of story.
posted by elizardbits at 9:10 AM on December 6, 2012 [43 favorites]


Also what is the etiquette for telling/not telling(/telling everyone else in the building) a neighbor that their vibrator is incredibly, hilariously, phenomenally loud.

Stocking stuffer. Batteries. Doorstep.
posted by phaedon at 9:13 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ok, so if I see someone just leave their dog's shit on the sidewalk, do I pick it up and feed it to the person or smash it on top of their head?
posted by orme at 9:13 AM on December 6, 2012 [13 favorites]


Elevator Humor Solidarity!
posted by IvoShandor at 9:13 AM on December 6, 2012


I came to say what elizarbits said...

I got to page 1.5 and decided this was pretty much pretentious crap.
posted by HuronBob at 9:14 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do you break up with your stylist?
Oh, right. I just remembered that New York is not part of the real world.

Also, I'm amazed that they conceded that any amount of eye contact on the subway was permissible. In the New York of my childhood, one's goal was to ride the subway without ever seeing the face of another human being (including ones you actually know) from the moment you entered the train until you arrived at your destination. If you accidentally glimpsed as much as the chin of another person, you were required to go to St. Patrick's for confession.
posted by schmod at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Ok, so if I see someone just leave their dog's shit on the sidewalk, do I pick it up and feed it to the person or smash it on top of their head

This was actually an unasked askme of mine, specifically what kind of misdemeanor it would be to chase someone down the street with a handful of their dog's fresh poop. Aggravated assault?
posted by elizardbits at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Do not take revenge on society by walking into the middle of the street and directing traffic.
2. Never stand in a backhoe's bucket, even if you need a boost.
3. Cigarette packs should only be rolled into the left sleeve of your white T-shirt. Roll under, not over!
4. The second car of every subway train is the "party car." Feel free to play music or share your snacks with others.
posted by theodolite at 9:15 AM on December 6, 2012 [14 favorites]


Publishing Hacky Urban-Manners Articles: Only if your editor insists and you're really, really out of ideas. Later, apologize to your readers.
posted by RogerB at 9:16 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


They've forgotten a couple of subway/train assholes...

My current gripe is when people who have been sitting for however long ask the standing people to move out of their way so they can get to the exit, before the train has come to the station or to a stop.

Maybe -- just maybe -- the people who have been standing need to get off at that stop, too, in which case you're being a tremendous asshole. You were lucky to get a seat? Good for you. But the schlubs who had to stand get first dibs at stepping off. And it makes it easier for everyone, too.

Grr.
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:17 AM on December 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


Another one that they missed: Smoking on a crowded sidewalk is never okay. Ashing on other people is even less okay (yes, this happens a lot in NYC).
posted by schmod at 9:23 AM on December 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


That lede has somehow wandered out of a college newspaper's editorial column and into New York.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 9:24 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Maybe -- just maybe -- the people who have been standing need to get off at that stop, too, in which case you're being a tremendous asshole. You were lucky to get a seat? Good for you. But the schlubs who had to stand get first dibs at stepping off.

In most people's experience, 99.9% of the time those schlubs are people who just took two steps onto the car and stopped dead, and aren't getting off or out of people's way unless asked. Especially if they're standing by the door even when there is BIG YAWNING EMPTY SPACE in the middle of the car.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:27 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Phaedon: "Stocking stuffer" is new euphemism for dildo?
posted by johngumbo at 9:28 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Smoking on a crowded sidewalk is never okay. Ashing on other people is even less okay (yes, this happens a lot in NYC).

Not just New York City. There's a big ugly cigarette burn mark on my favorite skirt because some shitbeak doesn't understand that THAT THING HE'S HOLDING IS ON FIRE and MAYBE YOU SHOULDN'T WAVE IT AROUND SO MUCH.
posted by troika at 9:29 AM on December 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


The rule I have learned for New York that doesn't really apply to other places is "don't back up without looking". A normal rule in a car, but on a new york sidewalk (or apartment) it applies to pedestrians.
posted by Phredward at 9:30 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


This was actually an unasked askme of mine, specifically what kind of misdemeanor it would be to chase someone down the street with a handful of their dog's fresh poop. Aggravated assault?

I have a similar question about picking up somebody's bag that they have put on the seat next to them that is the only seat left on the entire standing-room-only bus and beating them senseless with it.
posted by enn at 9:30 AM on December 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


This brings back memories of when Joe Mantegna played the New York Tourism Director on SNL in the 90s, offering several helpful new pamphlets for the out of town traveler: All included as part of the new, expanded edition of the classic I Love New York Guide to Avoiding Eye Contact, available from the Tourism Center in Times Square.
posted by ceribus peribus at 9:32 AM on December 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


An exception to the latter rule exists, however, if the elder reveler is overheard discussing a “gig” or relating an anecdote involving Janis Joplin.

It's funny because all those old people do is talk about "gigs" and Janis Joplin!

enn: I have a similar question about picking up somebody's bag that they have put on the seat next to them that is the only seat left on the entire standing-room-only bus and beating them senseless with it.

You'd be beating almost everybody senseless in my urban hellhole. That's all people do here is hog seats, I swear to God.
posted by blucevalo at 9:33 AM on December 6, 2012


in which case you're being a tremendous asshole.

I do this. I am small and it's sometimes a bit of a challenge to work my way to the door in time. Also I come from a land where the manners are different. So happy I have this helpful guide!
posted by jessamyn at 9:34 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just think Jessamyn; if it weren't for us smug urban assholes, you'd never learn to get along in this world. You're welcome.

I swear I've read this article here every year in some form or another. If it really needed to reach it's intended audience, it would be posted on a travel site. Most of the confused rule breakers in my urban jungle seem to be tourists or people not privy to our secret codes and customs. Amazingly, I still seem to be able to make it through the day.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:37 AM on December 6, 2012


Yeah, I'd rather say excuse me preemptively than realize at the last minute that no one is moving out the door and have to start shoving everyone.

I am as aggressively polite to most total strangers as I am horrible and rude to my closest friends, basically.
posted by elizardbits at 9:38 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


This was actually an unasked askme of mine, specifically what kind of misdemeanor it would be to chase someone down the street with a handful of their dog's fresh poop. Aggravated assault?

I have a similar question about picking up somebody's bag that they have put on the seat next to them that is the only seat left on the entire standing-room-only bus and beating them senseless with it.


I doubt a more serendipitous solution has ever been presented.
posted by orme at 9:46 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


asnider: They've forgotten a couple of subway/train assholes:
The person who stops moving as soon as they clear the threshold


Phredward: The rule I have learned for New York that doesn't really apply to other places is "don't back up without looking".

I can't find it, but I'm sure an entry in the Washington Post's annual neologism contest one year was "demiverse" - the half of the world people just forget exists behind them.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:52 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


How do you acknowledge obvious plastic surgery?

Somehow this issue has never come up in my life.
posted by octothorpe at 9:56 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I do this. I am small and it's sometimes a bit of a challenge to work my way to the door in time. Also I come from a land where the manners are different. So happy I have this helpful guide!

I think its actually a bit more subtle than just "don't move until the train is in the station." Certainly in London at least.

In my experience most standing commuters tend to give off some subtle "I'm getting off next stop" vibes - closing their paper, locking their phone, orientating themselves towards the door etc. Basically some kind of commuter equivalent of pheromones. If someone is clearly doing that, then pushing past them to the door is a wee bit rude.

In fact if you can read commuter pheromones then you can also generally work out the best place to stand to increase your chances of getting a seat - as sitting commuters do them as well.

Doing so has its risks though - do that and every now and again you'll find yourself standing opposite someone who's just a natural fiddler, and suddenly you're on an emotional train journey not just a physical one.

"Look just fucking get off the fucking train already!" You'll scream at them inside your head as each station draws near. "You put your phone away last stop. You know you want to get off. YES! YES! Put that paper down! Yes... this is it... this is it..... NO DON'T TAKE THE COMPACT OUT NOOOOOOooooooooo"
posted by garius at 10:03 AM on December 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Walk left and stand right! This!

Also, if two samurai are proceeding opposite directions in a narrow space, the lower-ranking samurai must give way to the higher-ranking samurai. However, should this not occur, the higher-ranking samurai may not strike the lower-ranking one as he would a peasant or chonin. Rather, he must announce himself and demand satisfaction. If there is confusion over rank, both must announce themselves and bow at the appropriate degree. I can't believe how many times I see people get this wrong every day!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:03 AM on December 6, 2012 [20 favorites]


if you stop at the top of the subway stairs to check your phone I will FEED IT TO YOU.

The rule I toy with most mornings of my commute is: if you stop on the stairs of a train station during rush hour to read a text, I get to kick you in the back of the head.
posted by phunniemee at 10:05 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel like NYC has a pretty solid and understood system for all of these rules, which goes something like this: you break one of these rules, and the rest of us all collectively agree that you don't exist for the time period in which you are breaking them. Which works great for things like texting on the stairs (where the perp will just get righteously trampled) but not so well for dog shit or, most notably, umbrellas.

So here's a good etiquette guide. Do you live in NYC? Do you use an umbrella? If you answered "yes" to both questions than you are part of the problem. Full stop. As in stop that shit right fucking now.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:09 AM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


So. Calif. addition: being polite rules still apply even when you're driving your car. Doesn't matter how right you think you are--you won't even see any mention of said righteousness on the accident/police report.
posted by pjmoy at 10:10 AM on December 6, 2012


The rule I toy with most mornings of my commute is: if you stop on the stairs of a train station during rush hour to read a text, I get to kick you in the back of the head.

On particularly busy days at the bottom of the escalators at Kings Cross they'll station staff whose sole job is (apparently) to shout "KEEP MOVING!" in the faces of people who get off and just stop.

MuffinMan - Demiverse is officially my new favourite word.
posted by garius at 10:11 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


On particularly busy days at the bottom of the escalators at Kings Cross they'll station staff whose sole job is (apparently) to shout "KEEP MOVING!" in the faces of people who get off and just stop.

This, my internets friends, is a measure of true civilization, and something to which we should all aspire.

also they should have pointy sticks, just in case.
posted by elizardbits at 10:14 AM on December 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


Once I didn't ask somebody to move pre stop and the result was I had.to shove him because he was blocking traffic completely while screaming into a cell phone. So, there's that.
posted by angrycat at 10:16 AM on December 6, 2012


We need urban shepherds. Their crooks will glow with the blue light of a stun gun as they herd the five people walking abreast on a crowded sidewalk into a manageable column. Their cybernetic hounds will nip at our heels to hurry us along, sure, but their bulk frames will also be powerful enough to rip the doors of that car that has parked blocking the crosswalk.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:16 AM on December 6, 2012 [20 favorites]


Also I come from a land where the manners are different.

I eased my way into city living such that I didn't consciously realize when I started following urban etiquette, and I only really notice the change when my parents come to town. To them, the rude person is the person trying to pass people on the escalator; they know to stand right but only in a defensive "If I don't give in to these crazy Yankees they'll trample me to death" sort of way.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:21 AM on December 6, 2012


Don't not pull people off the subway tracks.
posted by Kabanos at 10:27 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


What if there's a crazy person accosting you who just threw somebody onto the subway tracks? Any leeway there?
posted by Navelgazer at 10:31 AM on December 6, 2012


This is a decent guide but it fails to address the question of what to do when you're biking on a mixed-use path and people are walking (or stopped dead) four abreast, taking up the entire fucking thing.

The bike bell doesn't seem to work (and mine broke off) so I've been looking through Emily Post's writings to see if "just plow through the motherfuckers" comes up at all. So far no, but hope burns.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:35 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Their cybernetic hounds...

My friend and soul-mate, welcome to the Ministry of Urban Affairs! I am sure you will prove to be an excellent addition to my Glorious New Regime.

Um, my apologies for the bloodstains, the prior occupant of this office was a bit obstreperous in his attachment to the Corrupt Former Government. The cleaning staff will be by shortly, and I've brought you a lovely fruitbasket to cover up the damage in the interim.
posted by aramaic at 10:36 AM on December 6, 2012


The rule I have learned for New York that doesn't really apply to other places is "don't back up without looking".

This may come as a shock to some, but New York isn't the only city where people are walking behind you.
posted by ersatz at 10:41 AM on December 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


New York is the only city where Greg Nog will sneak up behind you and walk three inches back, striding in the backwash of your own stride, swinging his arms in time with your own, and subtly blowing on the back of your head.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:47 AM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, please don't sing or rap along with your headphones on the subway (or really anywhere). You are not Li'l Wayne and you sound like shit.
posted by Falconetti at 10:47 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it really does turn out to be Jay Z though.
posted by elizardbits at 10:48 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, please don't sing or rap along with your headphones on the subway (or really anywhere). You are not Li'l Wayne and you sound like shit.

I usually love it when people sing along to their headphones. Not so much with the drumming along to their headphones, though.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:51 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Sometimes it really does turn out to be Jay Z though.

And sometimes it turns out to be Nicki Minaj caught in a time eddy
posted by shakespeherian at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


My biggest escalator issue is people who march up on the left side just like they're supposed to, and then stop just before they get off. Why would you do that?
posted by oneirodynia at 10:52 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is a certain kind of person who seems to be incapable of stepping off an escalator in mid-stride and has to wait to be brought the last 36 inches.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on December 6, 2012


At one point, I mocked up some cards to hand out to people that said: Tourists of London! Do not stop dead in the middle of the pavement as a punch to the back of the head often offends.

Never did get round to printing them.

I then moved out of London but ye verily, 5 minutes back there and it is like I never left, ragewise.

Also, get your Oyster card out before the barrier, before! Not 5 seconds prior to going through unless you actually want to be trampled by your fellow commuters.
posted by halcyonday at 11:01 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I once made the poor choice of trying to walk up the escalator at the Wheaton Metro Station, which is the longest single span escalator in the Western Hemisphere. I'm not in the best shape, so I kept wanting to stop, but I couldn't because of people behind me. For a brief moment, I was pretty sure I was going to die and that the last sight I would ever see would be the parking garage for a mall in an crummy Maryland suburb. I wouldn't encourage anyone else to risk their lives for escalator etiquette though.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:04 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


My biggest escalator issue is people who march up on the left side just like they're supposed to, and then stop just before they get off. Why would you do that?

This also applies to people who walk up stairs at a steady pace until they are three or four steps from the top and then for no reason at all they just sloooooow doooooown.
posted by adamdschneider at 11:23 AM on December 6, 2012


The last time I was in London I was SO SURE that at any moment I would be going to prison for the rest of my life because helpful citizens kept GRABBING ME AND YANKING ME away from the curb, assuming that I would not remember to look in the opposite-than-usual direction for oncoming traffic when crossing the street, and I do not react well to grabbings. (Thank you all for your concern and I am sorry I kicked some of you in the knees. Drunk dude who I punched in the throat: you had it coming.)
posted by elizardbits at 11:24 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


A small part of the article deals with office etiquette, even though I don't really think that's specifically urban, but which I will use to justify my own addition to office etiquette:

If you want to talk via IM, IM me.
If you want to talk via telephone, phone me.

Do not IM me to ask if this is a good time to call. Just call. If it's not a good time, I'll either say so up front, or (more likely) not answer the phone at all. If you're really insecure about it, you can begin the phone conversation with "is this a good time?" (but that's not necessary). But don't IM to ask if it's OK to call. You've already interrupted me with the IM, and it's not like IM is somehow less distracting than the phone.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:24 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Here's another one: if, on a crowded subway car, someone moves to allow a third person to pass by, do not immediate move to occupy the space they vacated. They were planning to go back there!

Also, if a bravo is deliberate insolent towards you outside of the Opera, be careful! He may be a professional duelist sent by the Cardinal-Infante to provoke you into a fight. And remember, it is considered boorish to take offense when the clowns of the Commedia dell'Arte mock your mannerisms or reputation.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:25 AM on December 6, 2012


OH. I have an IM one -

If you are going to IM me a message, IM ME THE MESSAGE. Don't just IM me "Hi" and then let that hang there, especially after I've said "Hi" back, and am now sitting there wondering if you had something to say or you just felt like being confusingly friendly.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:26 AM on December 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


The escalators in the DC Metro system are comically long. I went there last year and ended up carrying my luggage up the broken escalator at Du Pont Circle, not knowing what I was getting into. About halfway up I realized I'd made a huge mistake, but there was nothing to do but carry on...
posted by adamdschneider at 11:27 AM on December 6, 2012


Also! Decided lack of revolving door etiquette. PROTIP: Do not try to make the door go faster or slower than it is already going. PROTIP #2: One person per door chamber please.

I once had a complete stranger get into the same revolving door chamber with me when I was going into the Sears Tower. It is unpleasant.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:31 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


but there was nothing to do but carry on...

Depending on crowdedness and time of day, laying facedown on the floor and weeping is an option.
posted by elizardbits at 11:31 AM on December 6, 2012


One more escalator rant, and I'll stop: My subway stop is above ground and has (occasionally functioning) up and down escalators. They are narrow, and I abhor the able-bodied people who walk purposefully to the escalator, and STOP RIGHT AS SOON AS THEY STEP ONTO IT. I was at Grand Central earlier this week, and I just about wept with joy at the well choreographed movement of people staying to the right and letting others pass them.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 11:32 AM on December 6, 2012


Here's another one: if, on a crowded subway car, someone moves to allow a third person to pass by, do not immediate move to occupy the space they vacated. They were planning to go back there!

This goes double if you step out of the car to let someone get out. I'm not standing by the door to the train because I like standing there; I'm planning to get back on the train.

Also, the Dupont Circle Metro elevator is like a cruel joke being played on everyone. They spent eight months replacing the damn thing and then it died after like a month.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:34 AM on December 6, 2012


Nobody wants to smell your smell, nobody wants to hear your sounds, nobody wants to touch you, your bag, your trash, your poop, or your pet rat. That's basically what it boils down to.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


One that I encounter frequently: The love of your partner is not a justification for walking abreast on a crowded sidewalk. Single file, motherfuckers. Don't make me step off the curb to avoid crashing your hand-holding, and no conversation is more important than not being a shitheel.

Also: If you are walking, what are you doing? Not texting! No human alive can walk and text, even though everyone thinks they can. You end up weaving and stopping and you should just get the fuck over so that you're not in the goddamn way.
posted by klangklangston at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


jessamyn: Also I come from a land where the manners are different. "

Do you come from a land down under?
Where women glow and men plunder?
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover.
posted by Splunge at 11:39 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is there a good solution to groups of tourists walking four-deep and five-abreast? Because sometimes the children are on those little leashes and they are wandering all over the place even if I am running at many miles an hour right towards their monstrous pack, and they never, ever move to one side of the sidewalk, even if it is ten feet across. WHY?!?!?!


About halfway up I realized I'd made a huge mistake, but there was nothing to do but carry on...

One time I made the mistake of jogging down the Dupont escalators after a ballet class and half-way down my thighs just went NOPE NOPE NOPE and I considered riding down the rest of the way in a fetal ball. It is a humbling staircase of pain.
posted by jetlagaddict at 11:40 AM on December 6, 2012


Also, in LA, you can get on the subway with a bike or luggage. There's even a designated spot for that. Which means two things: One, if you're in that open spot without luggage or bikes or what have you, and someone approaches who does have that, vacate the fucking space because they need it and you don't. Two, if you have a stroller or luggage or bike, move to that fucking area and don't just stop inside the doors. Your child is less important than letting people on and off the transit.
posted by klangklangston at 11:41 AM on December 6, 2012


One that I encounter frequently: The love of your partner is not a justification for walking abreast on a crowded sidewalk. Single file, motherfuckers.

This past weekend in the West Village I encountered a higher than usual number of handclasped coupled strolling down the street. In each and every case when the couples parted hands to walk single file and allow me to pass without any promptings from me beforehand, when I listened to them speaking as they walked past me, they were all speaking languages other than English. I do not know what to make of this sudden influx of sensible tourists, my entire worldview is shattered.
posted by elizardbits at 11:43 AM on December 6, 2012


If you are going to IM me a message, IM ME THE MESSAGE. Don't just IM me "Hi" and then let that hang there, especially after I've said "Hi" back, and am now sitting there wondering if you had something to say or you just felt like being confusingly friendly.

Every fresh email I've got from my business partner for the last two years has had the subject line:

"Yo"

Drives me UTTERLY mental, but I just cannot convince him it's a bad thing to do.
posted by garius at 11:44 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is there a good solution to groups of tourists walking four-deep and five-abreast?

I freely admit to being the jerk who told 2 out of a pack of 4 freshmen that they were not contributing to the conversation (the two that were talking were talking together), so they could walk behind. In order to avoid this in the future, I advised them to become more interesting.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:44 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, in LA, you can get on the subway with a bike or luggage.

Chicago, too, but you aren't allowed to bring your bike onto the El during rush hour. I've been on a train that was stopped for two minutes while the motorman physically pulled a bike-haver off of a crowded train.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:45 AM on December 6, 2012


I've been on a train that was stopped for two minutes while the motorman physically pulled a bike-haver off of a crowded train.

That must have been a distressing combination of frustrating/time wasting and extremely satisfying.
posted by elizardbits at 11:48 AM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


The metro stop closest to my home is also surrounded by a million hotels, and this being DC every eighth grade class in the country is there in the spring. It is miserable for those of us who are just trying to get to work and have to deal with huge crowds of students who are probably really nice people individually but just horrible as a group.

When they're really bad, like racing up the down escalator (during rush hour!!!), I like to retaliate in the most passive aggressive way possible and email their school administration to complain about how their students need to learn how to behave in public. They're always wearing shirts with the name of the school, so....
posted by troika at 11:49 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


That must have been a distressing combination of frustrating/time wasting and extremely satisfying.

That is it precisely.
posted by shakespeherian at 11:51 AM on December 6, 2012


I just want to write this somewhere- in NYC, if you wait for people to get off the train first you risk either having the doors slam ON you (happened to me numerous times) or having them shut entirely in your face, leaving you on the other side (and being laughed at at 2am by hipsters). I am small, fast and work all day standing up- I am getting on the MF'ing train. And not getting door-slammed in the process. Also-standing somewhere in NYC and saying 'excuse me' is the equivalent of yelling 'move' anywhere else. Don't fool yourself that you are 'just being polite', the meaning is the same. Anyway, those are my 2 Canadian-but-living-in-NYC cents.
posted by bquarters at 11:56 AM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


2. Don’t ask white girls if they “left their ass at home.”

So THAT'S what I've been doing wrong all this time...
posted by sparkletone at 11:56 AM on December 6, 2012


Ok whatever, but I LOL'd at this:

5. If you are in Central Park and think you are getting mugged, first check to see if maybe you’re just part of a student film.
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:56 AM on December 6, 2012


Is there a good solution to groups of tourists walking four-deep and five-abreast?

If the sidewalk is blocked, I square up on the closest adult man and force him to move for me. I get my share of dirty looks but I always put on a wide smirk in reply and nobody's done anything yet.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 11:57 AM on December 6, 2012


Ok whatever, but I LOL'd at this:

Downtown version - if you think you have just witnessed a tense standoff between an armed perpetrator and the police, check to see if you have wandered into a Law & Order set. If so, raid craft services.
posted by elizardbits at 12:00 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


> Is there a good solution to groups of tourists walking four-deep and five-abreast?
Just carry on walking confidently and shout "MAKE A HOLE, PEOPLE."

> "don't back up without looking". A normal rule in a car
I treat walking almost exactly like driving a car. I imagine lanes and stick to one rather than walking down the middle of the path. If I'm "changing lanes" I'll check over my shoulder first, and I look ahead to check for any constrictions before overtaking someone. Also sometimes if I'm walking fast I'll lean into corners and make a little vroom noise as I come out of them.
posted by lucidium at 12:09 PM on December 6, 2012 [19 favorites]


If you must stop while on sidewalk, step over to the side of the building. Do not stand around in the middle of the sidewalk. While I cannot promise a swift and terrible trampling, in a just universe this would be the result.

(If you are drunk and about to vomit, vomit into the street. This is the one except to the rule.)
posted by Hactar at 12:25 PM on December 6, 2012


If you must stop while on sidewalk, step over to the side of the building. Do not stand around in the middle of the sidewalk

I'm enjoying trying to classify these in my head as either city specific rules or general rules, and this is absolutely one that is not intuitive if you're from a less crowded environment. Once in DC(thankfully not on a crowded sidewalk) my father came to full stop in the middle of the sidewalk because he saw a squirrel that was an unexpected color. This is fine in a town of 5,000 people where he lives, but not a great idea in the city.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 12:30 PM on December 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Once in DC(thankfully not on a crowded sidewalk) my father came to full stop in the middle of the sidewalk because he saw a squirrel that was an unexpected color.

This is my favorite sentence on MetaFilter today.
posted by griphus at 12:42 PM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Once in DC(thankfully not on a crowded sidewalk) my father came to full stop in the middle of the sidewalk because he saw a squirrel that was an unexpected color.

This, for me, would be one of the few acceptable excuses. Another: stopping to protect an unexpected infant abandoned on the sidewalk. Unacceptable: Stopping due to unexpectedly emotional texting.
posted by small_ruminant at 12:48 PM on December 6, 2012


troika: "(E)very eighth grade class in the country is there in the spring. It is miserable for those of us who are just trying to get to work and have to deal with huge crowds of students who are probably really nice people individually but just horrible as a group."

They are 8th graders. Each individual is equally as horrible as the group.
posted by Splunge at 12:51 PM on December 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


Friendster!??!!???

Pffft, I wouldn't trust a goddamn thing in that article.

Furthermore, I've managed to live many years in this city without a "stylist", thanks.
posted by droplet at 1:11 PM on December 6, 2012


One that I encounter frequently: The love of your partner is not a justification for walking abreast on a crowded sidewalk. Single file, motherfuckers. Don't make me step off the curb to avoid crashing your hand-holding, and no conversation is more important than not being a shitheel.

Amen.

I was thinking that somebody ought to manufacture an umbrella with a built-in cattle prod in the tip, for use on slow-movers in front of oneself.
posted by acb at 1:24 PM on December 6, 2012


Furthermore, I've managed to live many years in this city without a "stylist", thanks.

I thought New Yorkers all had psychiatrists, not stylists. Could this be a further example of society becoming shallower and more superficial in its preoccupations?
posted by acb at 1:25 PM on December 6, 2012


Some of the rules of etiquette in the article make sense, while some seem a little elaborate. My understanding of etiquette comes from far too many years using public transit, and mainly have to do with interaction with strangers:

1. As it is on the road, so it is on the sidewalk. Pretend you're a little car, walk to the right, pass on the left. Use the right hand side door. Make your stops on the "shoulder of the road" - stop close the building on the sidewalk, stop on the right hand side of the escalator.

2. Remember that we're all in a high-stress environment, because our circles of personal space are compressed by the unavoidable presence of strangers. And with that in mind:

2. a) Don't stare at other people. It's read as aggression, and increases stress. In a crowded environment where you have to stand among strangers, choose a sight line that doesn't intersect with anyone's eyes and/or genitals.

2. b) Don't assume that other people are staring at you, unless they're obviously looking at your eyes and/or genitals. If you feel that their sight line is impinging on your personal space, this may be the unavoidable result of crowding.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:30 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


New York: No real memorable moments with pedestrians, but there was a taxi driver who screamed at me for not knowing whether my desired address was on Sixth Street or Sixth Avenue.

Paris: Random people offered to help me with my luggage in Metro stations. People respected personal space. I have absolutely no idea where the "rude Parisian" stereotype comes from.

London: Pedestrians jostled me and nearly knocked me into the street. One very large, very sweaty man pushed me against a train door (his back to my front).

San Francisco: Tourists. Enough said.

New Orleans: Tourists.

Chicago (with which I have the most experience by far): Suicidal pedestrians that will jump out in front of your car without warning.
posted by desjardins at 1:32 PM on December 6, 2012


That's only because cars in Chicago are an affront to the natural order of things and have no rightful place in a civilized city.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:40 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also: you do not trim your fingernails on public transportation. Not ever. I had to change a subway car to get away from that lady. This happened in Toronto though.
posted by mayurasana at 1:43 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I have absolutely no idea where the "rude Parisian" stereotype comes from.

Unfortunately I think it comes from the same place a lot of American stereotypes do: when Americans travel and the locals don't speak English, many people seem to find this "rude" or "ignorant".
posted by elizardbits at 1:48 PM on December 6, 2012


I forgot to mention a modifier to 1: If you're walking on the curb-side of the street stopping can be problematic because there's no clearly defined "shoulder" next to the road, and traffic may be whizzing by just a few inches away. But if you absolutely have to stop to tie your shoe or take that phone call from the terrorists who kidnapped your family, try to find something that pedestrians already have to move around like a tree or mailbox and stop right up against it. At least that way you're not making yourself more of an impediment to other people than the objects that are already there.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: you do not trim your fingernails on public transportation.

Relatedly, people spraying perfume or cologne on themselves on public transportation, in airplanes, in elevators, or in any other confined spaces should be pilloried. We should literally and without hyperbole reinstate the public pillory for these monsters.
posted by elizardbits at 1:50 PM on December 6, 2012 [5 favorites]


Relatedly, people spraying perfume or cologne on themselves on public transportation

I once saw a physical fight break out over this issue on the generally-uneventful Metro North to Greenwich.
posted by jamesonandwater at 1:52 PM on December 6, 2012


Hey, dude in front of me (with a Bluetooth earpiece) last night in the liquor/wine store queue: Next time don't place a call on your smartphone and start a conversation JUST AS YOU GET TO THE CASHIER.

Oh, and ignoring the cashier and not looking up from your illuminated phone screen when he politely asks "How are you?" is unforgivable and poor form.

And, it's no surprise that after your purchases were tallied up, you realized that you left your wallet in your double-parked car.

After you ran out of the store all of us in line turned to each other, smirking, and silently called you an ASSHOLE.

FWIW -- the store clerk was calm and polite, as he rang up my purchases.
posted by ericb at 2:03 PM on December 6, 2012


Sometimes it really does turn out to be Jay Z though.

For those not familiar with the context: Jay-Z Rides the Subway, Adorably Explains Who He Is to an Adorable Old Lady (w/ video).
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


motion to have a LINKMASTER tag placed after ericb's name
posted by elizardbits at 2:10 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


seconded
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:13 PM on December 6, 2012


I dunno why you'd live in a city with like twenty million people in it because "oh it's just such a melting pot of cultures" and then act all surprised when people are different to you. My guess is, if you don't live on your own, you have disagreements all the time about the management and administration of your own single little household. Then you step out into the street and go wobbly at the knees and angry saliva starts pooling in your mouth because somebody is walking a dog and the guy on the other side of the road is smoking a cigarette. People with black kettles shouldn't throw them through...their glass...walls.

The rules are simple:

1. Don't walk more than two abreast
2. Don't stop suddenly because something has caught your eye
3. Look both ways when stepping out of a doorway/alleyway/shop entrance
4. Keep left (or right, depending on where you are - look to the traffic on the road for your wisdom in this regard) unless overtaking
5. Don't have business meetings in the middle of the footpath
6. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:17 PM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Approved. Here is your Greasemonkey script.
posted by jessamyn at 2:17 PM on December 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh yeah:

8. Decide what you want at McDonald's while you are standing in the massive line, not when you get to the counter. They have exactly three things: McBurgers, potato analogues, and post-mix fluids.

9. Don't wait for a bus for an hour and then be surprised when the bus arrives and not have your change ready.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:22 PM on December 6, 2012


Ok, so if I see someone just leave their dog's shit on the sidewalk, do I pick it up and feed it to the person or smash it on top of their head?
posted by orme at 9:13 AM on December 6


An aside, but not a derail: My house backs up to a large school yard. Outside of school hours, people use it as an off-leash area for their dogs to play. (Which I *love*, because it's like someone set up a very quiet dog park on the other side of the chain link fence.) I've lived in this house for 12 years, and I've always been compelled to yell at the people who don't pick up after their dogs. I mean, come on, it's a school yard. Tomorrow morning it's going to be covered in school children. Your neighbors' kids deserve a better school experience than to be trudging through your dog's shit because you're a lazy-ass ass.

So for years, I'd yell across the fence, "Clean up after your dog!" When you do that, people always have an excuse or they get defensive or they tell you it's none of your business. Either they forgot a bag (and then they turn around and walk away quickly), or they pretend not to hear (and then they turn around and walk away quickly). One guy yelled back at me once, totally seriously, "It's not *my* dog!", as if that absolved him of any obligation to pick up said dog's poop.

About a year ago, I realized that I was going about it the wrong way. I saw one lady throwing a ball to her little terrier -- and was enjoying watching the cute little thing -- when it crouched and did its thing. She waited for the dog to finish, then threw the ball again, exhibiting no intention of cleaning up the mess.

"Hey," I shouted to her, "I *saw* that." She then pulled something out of her pocket (a tissue, I'm assuming) sheepishly went over to the poo, and picked it up. She then turned around and walked away quickly.

What I learned is if you assert to someone that they've done something wrong, they'll act like a stubborn 15-year-old and deny it. But if you tell them you saw them do it -- big difference -- they'll act like a chastised four-year-old and hang their head in shame.

One of the two is much more likely to pick up dog poop than the other.
posted by mudpuppie at 2:31 PM on December 6, 2012 [23 favorites]


"I was thinking that somebody ought to manufacture an umbrella with a built-in cattle prod in the tip, for use on slow-movers in front of oneself."

My father is vicious with the little fold-up umbrellas. He wields them like a baton in crowds.

"Relatedly, people spraying perfume or cologne on themselves on public transportation, in airplanes, in elevators, or in any other confined spaces should be pilloried. We should literally and without hyperbole reinstate the public pillory for these monsters."

It's like a leper died and now we have to hide the scent of his corpse.
posted by klangklangston at 2:35 PM on December 6, 2012


Also: No jury in the land will convict someone who burns down an Abercrombie store because of their fetid cologne stench.
posted by klangklangston at 2:37 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Approved. Here is your Greasemonkey script.

Now, I'm blushing ... or, is it the wine?
posted by ericb at 2:38 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


THIS IS THE BEST THING
posted by elizardbits at 2:42 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yay!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 2:50 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Once in DC(thankfully not on a crowded sidewalk) my father came to full stop in the middle of the sidewalk because he saw a squirrel that was an unexpected color.

Interestingly (to me at least), DC has many unusually colored squirrels. At some point the Smithsonian had an exhibit of the black squirrels common in Canada (same species as the grey ones just different coloration) and apparently some of them escaped to create a DC colony of black squirrels. The relatively predator-free environment allows many albino and leucistic "white" squirrels to hang around and not be eaten by a hawk or whatever. White, grey, and black squirrels all get along famously on Lafayette park, next door to the White House, which is supposedly the place with the world's highest concentration of squirrels.

TL;DR we have much to learn from our squirrel brethren.
posted by eurypteris at 2:52 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


8. Decide what you want at McDonald's while you are standing in the massive line, not when you get to the counter.

John Pinette agrees.
posted by ceribus peribus at 3:19 PM on December 6, 2012


Also: No jury in the land will convict someone who burns down an Abercrombie store because of their fetid cologne stench.

Really? I love the smell of those stores. It's like a fantasy locker room. /homo
posted by sevenyearlurk at 3:51 PM on December 6, 2012


I don't get the people who listen to music loudly from their phones. Like can you not afford headphones? Do you have some sort of ear infection? Do you just think the entire fucking bus wants to hear late 90s Metallica right now?
posted by saul wright at 3:53 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


turgid dahlia 2: "The rules are simple:

1. Don't walk more than two abreast
2. Don't stop suddenly because something has caught your eye
3. Look both ways when stepping out of a doorway/alleyway/shop entrance
4. Keep left (or right, depending on where you are - look to the traffic on the road for your wisdom in this regard) unless overtaking
5. Don't have business meetings in the middle of the footpath
6. BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS."

Which can be simplified to:

1. Situational Awareness. It works for the military, make it work for you.
posted by Splunge at 4:02 PM on December 6, 2012


Also, in LA, you can get on the subway with a bike or luggage.

We actually have bike racks on the front of all of the city buses.
posted by octothorpe at 4:06 PM on December 6, 2012


I don't get the people who listen to music loudly from their phones.

There were a number of times I almost snapped and slaughtered some poor cretinous moron who thought it would be a delightful idea to test out every single ringtone on their phone at top volume while on the train. I am sad that I did not get the chance to provide this worthwhile service to the world.
posted by elizardbits at 4:07 PM on December 6, 2012


Things I don't need to know the etiquette for because we don't have them in my one-horse town:

-Celebrities
-Cabs (in the normal sense; we do have the one-man cab service where you call for a ride to the airport and he says okay but I have to take this one guy to work first, I can be there in about an hour, then an hour and a half later he pulls up with his dog riding shotgun)
-Muggers
-Elevators, except at the hospital.
-Doormen
-Subways
-Restaurants where one might buy an expensive bottle of wine or caviar, or be treated to something on the house
-Friends who've had plastic surgery, except after a snowmobiling accident
posted by HotToddy at 5:00 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cohabitation isn’t necessarily a sign of commitment, though: Many gay men have open relationships, so the only surefire way to know the level of commitment is to offer to go home with one of them.

Either this is saying that cohabiting gay couples with open relationships have a lower level of commitment than cohabiting gay couples with closed relationship, which is sort of offensive, or something else I'm misunderstanding because I don't live in New York.

However, Amy Poehler is, as usual, fantastic. I have a similar experience to HotToddy, though I live in a many-horse town, but by that I mean I live in a town that has half a million people, but where the regular traffic laws also apply to horses and there's a dude who happens to be an ex-coworker's father in law who sometimes takes his horse to the university campus and rides it around to practice going up stairs and sometimes he parks it outside of the pizza place so he can go inside and get a calzone and then take it with him on his horse.
posted by NoraReed at 5:11 PM on December 6, 2012


People who stand on the left of an escalator are sent to a special circle of hell with a Möbius escalator.

It just goes round and round and round...
posted by Hollywood Upstairs Medical College at 5:54 PM on December 6, 2012


At a group meal, an equal split should be the baseline expectation: It falls to those who ordered more-expensive dishes to offer to pay more, not to others to pay less. Failure to partake in the appetizers or the wine can be cited as a reason to cut one’s contribution only if there was some socially sanctioned reason for declining (veganism, Islam, pregnancy). If you just got the soup and you don’t think that’s fair, well, think about whether it’s “fair” to make your friends eat dinner with a buzz-killing cheapskate.

This is true if and only if you're all sharing food. If you're ordering your own dishes, then you pay for what you buy. It makes no sense for lightweights (or people who didn't feel like drinking) to subsidize heavier drinkers.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 PM on December 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why not? You're friends.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:48 PM on December 6, 2012


I don't assume my friends will pay for my drinks. Luckily, this rule hasn't really come up in my social circle, except for the one time someone brought it up and was promptly shot down. That same person also insisted that one should only tip on the pre-tax amount of the meal.

Again, if you're sharing plates, splitting equally makes sense, but if you're not, then splitting it equally makes no sense.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:03 PM on December 6, 2012


I don't assume my friends will pay for my drinks.

I don't either but I often pay for my friends' drinks. Anyway, we've done this a number of times. It tends to even out.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:04 PM on December 6, 2012


I don't think my friends who make less money than me should be forced to subsidize my fancy cocktail habit. Good lord, that would make me a massive douchebag. A MONSTER WITH A TINY PAPER UMBRELLA.
posted by elizardbits at 7:33 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


"You ordered armagnac out of a diamond-studded lobster tail?"
"It's a statement."
"You ordered three?"
"I threw the first two away - it always takes the kitchen a few tries to get it right."
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:39 PM on December 6, 2012


Maybe the issue is that you are thinking I am imposing a rule?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:42 PM on December 6, 2012


One that shits me up the wall is people getting out of trains then standing on the platform blocking the doors and gazing around in wonder like they have landed on a new planet. It's Central Station you fucking gimp.
posted by mattoxic at 7:43 PM on December 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


4. The second car of every subway train is the "party car." Feel free to play music or share your snacks with others.

Someone once offered me a kumquat on the bus.

No really, that's not a euphemism. Don't look at me like that...
posted by problemspace at 7:56 PM on December 6, 2012


OK, I've got one: Tourists with cameras on one side of the sidewalk taking way too long to take a picture of other tourists on the other side of the sidewalk. I used to feel guilty about walking between them but with the advent of digital photography I've decided to just yell "COMIN' THROUGH" at the top of my voice and plunge on in.
posted by A dead Quaker at 8:03 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don't either but I often pay for my friends' drinks. Anyway, we've done this a number of times. It tends to even out.

Not if you have one person who always orders only one drink to everyone else's four.

So I'm a lightweight. Sue me.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 PM on December 6, 2012


Apparently my circle of friends is unnaturally symmetrical, I apologize.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:14 PM on December 6, 2012


There is a certain kind of person who seems to be incapable of stepping off an escalator in mid-stride and has to wait to be brought the last 36 inches.
posted by shakespeherian


I DON'T WANT TO GET SUCKED UNDER OK?
posted by Windigo at 8:17 PM on December 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


"The second car of every subway train is the "party car." Feel free to play music or share your snacks with others."

FIRST CAR IS SINGLES CAR.

There is a certain kind of person who seems to be incapable of stepping off an escalator in mid-stride and has to wait to be brought the last 36 inches."

I regularly plow into the brainstems that stop immediately after getting off the escalator, like they're taking a moment to engage walking under their own power.

"I don't either but I often pay for my friends' drinks. Anyway, we've done this a number of times. It tends to even out."

Sup dude were friends right
posted by klangklangston at 8:32 PM on December 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe the issue is that you are thinking I am imposing a rule?

I always knew you were jealous of my plans for totalitarian dictatorship, you copycat.
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 PM on December 6, 2012


if you stop at the top of the subway stairs to check your phone I will FEED IT TO YOU.

Dear people who are actually smart enough to keep walking on the escalator rather than stand in the way like a great big moo cow (walk left, stand right doesn't work so well if many people are large enough to block the escalator anyway) why do you insist on STOPPING RIGHT AT THE END?

Dear people who do stand still on the escalator: move your fscking bags because you're still blocking the way.

Women with oversized handbags? Take care where you swing those things. The same goes for the bloke with the rucksack in which he's shlepping his entire office to and from work. Your turn circle has increased, make sure you're not hitting somebody.

Fat people? Taking the underground, tram or bus? Wanting to sit down? Not being the slimmest myself, I feel your pain. But I don't want to feel your sweaty thighs next to me, nor do I think you should feel mine, so please take another seat and do not insist on sitting next to me when there are perfectly good seats available next to slim people.

Raining? Wear hats, not umbrellas. If you do need to use one, make it small, you don't need to cover the entire city.

Don't try to get into the train before everybody has gotten off. Don't dawdle getting off the train either. Nothing as obnoxious as waiting for a long stream of slowpokes, then finally getting on only to be glared out by the yokel who realised five minutes behind everybody else that this is their stop.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:57 AM on December 7, 2012


OK, I've got one: Tourists with cameras on one side of the sidewalk taking way too long to take a picture of other tourists on the other side of the sidewalk. I used to feel guilty about walking between them but with the advent of digital photography I've decided to just yell "COMIN' THROUGH" at the top of my voice and plunge on in.

A couple of weeks back I got asked to do a soundbyte/interview for a BBC Nottingham news crew who were down in London doing a story on London's railways (basically a company in the East Midlands was up for the train contract, hence the local interest).

After the interview they wanted to get some sweeping mid-distance shots of Farringdon (a busy commuter station) for establishing the scene etc.

So they set up the camera for the shot, but it's right in the way of the exit, and of course this being London, pretty much every single person entering or leaving the station was all: "TV Camera? Whatever. Out of my way I've got shit to do."

Took the cameraman a good two or three minutes to realise people weren't going to stop walking right in front of his lens and that he needed to move back and try a different angle away from the general thoroughfare.

Got to admit I felt a real pang of pride in my city at that.
posted by garius at 2:53 AM on December 7, 2012


> Pedestrians can die of secondhand smoke, too.

Good fucking God, no, they can't. Keep your lifestyle policing to your private property, you fascist.


We almost certainly won't die of second hand smoke. It's simply that by smoking somewhere I'm going to walk through, you make the area as obnoxious to me as if you had really (and I mean really) bad BO. Cigarettes stink. Treat your smoking accordingly.

And the stereotype of rude Parisians comes from driving ettiquette. As a pedestrian when I make eye contact with a driver in London, it means they are going to give way. As a pedestrian when I make eye contact with a driver in Paris it means they are going to drive and I shouldn't even think about it. This really does make it feel as if the Parisian drivers are trying to kill me.
posted by Francis at 3:16 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cigarettes stink. Treat your smoking accordingly.

We are already smoking outside, and seeing as folks here think there isn't even enough room in their cities for couples to hold hands on the street there aren't really any remote open spaces to retreat to.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 5:55 AM on December 7, 2012


On a 3 foot wide sidewalk, there is not room for one person to pass by two people walking abreast without stepping into the street. Get over it.
posted by elizardbits at 6:02 AM on December 7, 2012


It's simply that by smoking somewhere I'm going to walk through, you make the area as obnoxious to me as if you had really (and I mean really) bad BO.

Bingo. People who smoke in busy public areas would presumably be offended if someone came up to them and blasted them with a series of awful farts over the course of a few minutes, and yet there they are.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:02 AM on December 7, 2012


On a 3 foot wide sidewalk, there is not room for one person to pass by two people walking abreast without stepping into the street. Get over it.
posted by elizardbits 5 minutes ago [+]


If this is to me I wasn't aware i was "under it".

Where I live we have pavements that can acomodate more than two rows of single file passing in opposite directions.

But if you do live somewhere with such little space for pedestrians then you will have to mingle with the smokers won't you?
posted by Reggie Knoble at 6:11 AM on December 7, 2012


How about you show me where in this thread I complained about smokers.
posted by elizardbits at 6:35 AM on December 7, 2012


I don't get the people who listen to music loudly from their phones. Like can you not afford headphones? Do you have some sort of ear infection? Do you just think the entire fucking bus wants to hear late 90s Metallica right now?

Be thankful you don't live somewhere where happy hardcore is popular. I take good headphones when I visit my mother...

I'm dyspraxic and that makes travelling by tube stressful - I worry I'm going to lose my balance and fall on someone, and I find it hard to judge personal space. The worst things, though, are backpacks. I can't predict where people are going to go, and as a bonus I'm short sighted to the point where if my glasses are knocked off or broken then I would struggle to get home without assistance.

At Tottenham Court Road the other week, a man with a backpack the size of a corn-fed toddler was stood in the stairwell, studying a map, occasionally insulting those coming down the staris who had the temerity to bang into him. As I inevitably did, he turned and shouted 'Watch where you're going, you FAT-ARSED COW!!' I shot back 'I know I'm fat, I buy my own knickers' but it had been a while since someone had actually verbally been a dick to me and I was quite wound up about it once I left the station/.
posted by mippy at 6:42 AM on December 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


Also, yes, smokers who walk down the street waving a stick that is on fire like a metronome.
posted by mippy at 6:43 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


How about you show me where in this thread I complained about smokers.
posted by elizardbits at 2:35 PM on December 7 [+] [!]


It was more of a general "you".
posted by Reggie Knoble at 6:45 AM on December 7, 2012


Okay, so I can accept the issue of smoking outside should be left open for now because of a variety of opinion.

So let's address a second related issue: outside smokers, when discarding your butts on the street, can you at LEAST stub them out first? Or, if you're going to toss them some distance from you, can you at LEAST make sure I am not in the way of your butt's trajectory?

Seriously, we need a city cousin for Smokey The Bear or something ("Remember, only you can prevent trash can fires").
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:51 AM on December 7, 2012


there aren't really any remote open spaces to retreat to.

Are there no alleys?
posted by adamdschneider at 6:59 AM on December 7, 2012


In the outer boroughs, here or there, but there are very few alleys in Manhattan.
posted by griphus at 7:27 AM on December 7, 2012


Smoke inside, then, where you're permitted to. Smokers often complain about the hostile attitudes they encounter from nonsmokers seemingly without the faintest whiff of self-consciousness regarding the hostile environment they provide for the rest of us.
posted by adamdschneider at 7:35 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also you could stop smoking.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:36 AM on December 7, 2012


Adam: in defense of the smokers, the number of "inside places" where people are "permitted to" smoke is diminishing in a lot of cities. Restaurants were decreed smoke-free in New York a few years back; then some apartment buildings also were.

Yeah, people could just stop smoking, but that ain't exactly an overnight process, and the rock and the hard place smokers are between is a tricky one.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:03 AM on December 7, 2012


Also beaches, public parks, and many building entrances. And a pack of cigarettes costs close to ten thousand dollars.

I have to admit, though, it actually worked. Most habitual smokers I know (myself included) have all quit.
posted by griphus at 8:05 AM on December 7, 2012


And now you are 200% more kissable.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:09 AM on December 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are there no alleys?

They would quickly be overcome by pee fumes and swoon, I imagine.

Smoking outside is much better than smoking inside anywhere, though, and I have no complaints about it aside from people who wave their lit cigarettes around like they're conducting a fucking symphony. I will slap that shit right out of someone's hand if it gets too close to my face.
posted by elizardbits at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2012


I have never seen a smoker suffer penalties for smoking even in obviously forbidden public spaces, such as subway stairwells or even the goddamned platform for our commuter rail, and those signs saying that smoking is prohibited within 15 feet of the building entrance may as well not even be there, or even if they are obeyed, smoking takes places 20 feet away along the most well-traveled path.
posted by adamdschneider at 8:45 AM on December 7, 2012


"At Tottenham Court Road the other week, a man with a backpack the size of a corn-fed toddler was stood in the stairwell, studying a map, occasionally insulting those coming down the staris who had the temerity to bang into him. As I inevitably did, he turned and shouted 'Watch where you're going, you FAT-ARSED COW!!' I shot back 'I know I'm fat, I buy my own knickers' but it had been a while since someone had actually verbally been a dick to me and I was quite wound up about it once I left the station/."

That's awful, mippy. As a non-driver I'm often the person with a big backpack on public transportation, but I do my absolute best not to hit anyone. (And after so many years of practice I'm good enough at judging distances to make sure it doesn't happen. Knock wood.) If I did bump someone I'd apologize immediately, and while I wouldn't like it I'd understand if they said something snippy to me. But as the person causing the disturbance, that guy had no right whatsoever to be angry at people just trying to get past him. And mean insults are never appropriate, in any situation. What an ass.
posted by Kevin Street at 9:31 AM on December 7, 2012


'I know I'm fat, I buy my own knickers'

I am sorry this guy was horrible to you. At the same time I love this comeback and would like to use it in basically every public harassment situation I deal with.

"I know I'm short, I buy my own knickers!"
"I know I'm bad at parallel parking, I buy my own knickers!"
"I know I'm in your way, I buy my own knickers!"
posted by jessamyn at 9:37 AM on December 7, 2012 [8 favorites]


As I inevitably did, he turned and shouted 'Watch where you're going, you FAT-ARSED COW!!' I shot back 'I know I'm fat, I buy my own knickers'

You got the better of him by a mile, I think. The subtle implication that the maladjusted, doofy man-child standing in the middle of the station looking confused and having a tantrum doesn't buy his own underwear really puts this over the top for me :)
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:21 AM on December 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


This is why I carry a compressor driven Airchime locomotive air horn. It's only 170 decibels, it won't kill you.

Got it from Yannick Read who's keen on bicycle safety.
posted by Smedleyman at 11:50 AM on December 7, 2012


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