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Everyone tries to do a pull up, everyone.
April 28, 2014 1:09 PM   Subscribe


 
The worst is when you're all alone in a subway car and then ONE other person gets in. Not because they might be dangerous, but just because they ruined your blissful solitude.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:14 PM on April 28 [7 favorites]


Once again proving the maxim that if you can't tell who the crazy person is on the train car, it's you (even for a set of 1).
posted by 2bucksplus at 1:15 PM on April 28 [10 favorites]


The bathrooms at work, too. You find an unaccountable urge to turn sideways and suck in your gut to see what you'd look like if you went on a diet in the mirrors over the sink, but only when you're close enough to the paper towel dispenser where you can play it like you were just going for a hand-dry.
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:17 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


The only acceptable things to do in an empty subway car are full-voice singing and pretending to be spiderman
posted by The Whelk at 1:20 PM on April 28 [9 favorites]


But why are none of these people asking themselves why they are the only ones in the subway car...
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:20 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


And lo, the insufferable attention-mongers did reveal themselves.
posted by grumpybear69 at 1:21 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


When I end up on a BART car by myself I just do what I normally do and continue listening to podcasts.

When I'm home alone on the other hand? Nonsensical exclamations. Pacing while having one-sided conversations about random topics. Totally bonkers. I'm crazy, but I'm not subway crazy.
posted by brundlefly at 1:26 PM on April 28 [9 favorites]


"But why are none of these people asking themselves why they are the only ones in the subway car..."

If I walked into a subway car that was empty I guess I'd sniff the air hesitantly to make sure it wasn't contaminated with higher-than-average amounts of vomit or excrement or something. Past that I'd be okay.

It's the other way, though, that would get me. If I were on a car that was full of an average amount of people and then - either at one stop or over time - I found they'd all left and I was alone? I'd start to question if I were about to be dragged into a spy thriller or a candid camera situation.
posted by komara at 1:26 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Or horror movie too, I guess. I'm equal opportunity when it comes to worrying about potential situations.
posted by komara at 1:27 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Alone on the subway almost always means poop or vomit. Or no air conditioning.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 1:28 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


I used to work towards the far end of one of DC's metro lines and would frequently have a whole metro car to myself for at least one stop. It was heaven, there was a lot of singing and running and dancing. Never considered taping myself.

Wasn't the best part of that commute, though. That would be the mysterious exercise bike in the woods, visible only by metro and then only if you were sitting the right way and looking in the right spot at the right time.
posted by troika at 1:28 PM on April 28 [3 favorites]


Shh komara, the Strangers are Coming. Sleep now.
posted by The Whelk at 1:28 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Ah, cool, so we went with horror! Good to know!
posted by komara at 1:29 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


Wasn't the best part of that commute, though. That would be the mysterious exercise bike in the woods, visible only by metro and then only if you were sitting the right way and looking in the right spot at the right time.

It's good that you never investigated it more closely. That's how they get you.
posted by Etrigan at 1:31 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


That's how they get you.

100% that's how they get you. In a completely fenced off area! No sidewalks or footpaths anywhere. How did it get there? And why there, instead of in the more obvious ravine of discarded tires?
posted by troika at 1:44 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


You talking about the Green Line, in Maryland?
posted by Rash at 1:51 PM on April 28


I don't even need to be alone to start doing some of this. I just need to be sufficiently bored. (Defined as "bored for more than fifteen seconds.")
posted by Scattercat at 1:52 PM on April 28


That's the one - the bike is/was (I no longer work in Suitland, I haven't been out there in years) visible about 30 seconds before you pull into Naylor Road, only visible going towards Branch Ave. Look out the left window, almost below the northbound tracks. It's hard to spot through the trees.
posted by troika at 1:54 PM on April 28


Hmph, I don't "try" to do a pull-up.
posted by eagles123 at 1:56 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


Impossible in Toronto as the new subways are all one car. Boo.
posted by dobbs at 2:01 PM on April 28


The Whelk: "The only acceptable things to do in an empty subway car are full-voice singing and pretending to be spiderman"

Until you notice that you're not alone, and there is in fact someone slumped in that far corner seat with her phone out, recording your every move.
posted by zarq at 2:03 PM on April 28


Oh yeah, like nobody here has urinated in an empty subway car.

Sure, guys.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:13 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


The only acceptable things to do in an empty subway car are full-voice singing and pretending to be spiderman

ahem, SHORT-RANGE PARKOUR COURSE
posted by mightygodking at 2:19 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


and yes, you have to shout "parkour!" while you are jumping over the seats in the most awesome way possible, those are the rules
posted by mightygodking at 2:19 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


I've been alone in a subway car twice, and alone on the bus once (well, with the driver). No poop, no vomit. All magical times!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:25 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


ow, I just got NYC nostalgia :(

But most of the empty cars I've encountered were empty for a good god damn reason (usually either a smell best left undescribed, or a malfunctioning AC that has caused the car to be warmer and more humid than the actual outside).
posted by en forme de poire at 2:26 PM on April 28


Until you notice that you're not alone, and there is in fact someone slumped in that far corner seat with her phone out, recording your every move.

That's when you bring out the BIG FINISH
posted by The Whelk at 2:39 PM on April 28 [13 favorites]


Oh yeah, like nobody here has urinated in an empty subway car.

I once hangover-puked in a relatively sparsely populated subway car.

When I got out at my stop, a man who was on the train with me also got out and stated talking to a cop and pointing at me and the cop just had the most "what do you want me to do about it?" expression on his face.
posted by griphus at 2:54 PM on April 28 [6 favorites]




...the mysterious exercise bike in the woods...

I wonder if that's related to the lawn chairs set up on bluffs above highways, apparently situated for good views of traffic. There are three such lookouts on the west side of Rte 3 in northern MA, between Rte 95 and Rte 495, a stretch of about 10 miles. One perch only has a single chair, while the others have two and three. I've never seen anyone in or near the chairs, and there are no houses visible, either.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:00 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Impossible in Toronto as the new subways are all one car.

BUT JUST THINK
posted by Beardman at 3:00 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


The only time I remember being on a subway alone, I wasn't truly alone but I was little and with my dad way back when he lived in New York. We were on our way to Coney Island, I believe. We surfed.
posted by AtoBtoA at 3:06 PM on April 28


It's a flash den.
posted by dhartung at 3:06 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


Now what if the mirrors on elevators had cameras in them so when you're all alone everyone knows what you did over the internet later.
posted by oceanjesse at 3:13 PM on April 28


Now what if the mirrors on elevators had cameras in them so when you're all alone everyone knows what you did over the internet later.

So long as they don't have microphones, I'm good.
posted by jacquilynne at 3:15 PM on April 28


I wouldn't mind a recording of me singing Roy Orbison's Cryin' during a particularly long elevator ride up the Conde' Nast building. I never sounded better. There where hand motions.
posted by The Whelk at 3:19 PM on April 28 [4 favorites]


The Madonna guy was fun but the girl in the blue shirt and glasses really sold it. I'd have paid for that performance.
posted by George_Spiggott at 3:20 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


I felt the same urge to parkour and or/dance when I entered the facilities at a recent concert by Five Seconds of Summer (who are totally NOT a boy band, dad!)
posted by stargell at 3:22 PM on April 28


Relevant quote from the Onion: "a new study released by Cornell University’s psychology department Thursday revealed that most otherwise normal people transform into complete psychotics when alone..." (beware of auto-play audio on the page, sorry.)
posted by kate blank at 3:40 PM on April 28


When I got out at my stop, a man who was on the train with me also got out and stated talking to a cop and pointing at me and the cop just had the most "what do you want me to do about it?" expression on his face.

If I had been with you, I would have given you a hundred dollars to walk over to them, do your best jazz hands, and say "THE ARISTOCRATS!"...then walk off.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:45 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


That's the one - the bike is/was (I no longer work in Suitland, I haven't been out there in years) visible about 30 seconds before you pull into Naylor Road, only visible going towards Branch Ave. Look out the left window, almost below the northbound tracks. It's hard to spot through the trees.

You mean that spot on the Native American burial ground where all those teens mysteriously died exactly 30 years ago today, between the abandoned insane asylum that was shut down due to horrific human experimentation and the abandoned amusement park, in the middle of a cell phone dead zone?

I say we get a group together to go check out that bike at midnight, stay to drink and have sex, and disregard any warnings mysterious old crazy people might give us along the way.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:52 PM on April 28 [2 favorites]


Relevant quote from the Onion: "a new study released by Cornell University’s psychology department Thursday revealed that most otherwise normal people transform into complete psychotics when alone..."

They had me at where he sucks his face into the glass. Mad Men should have shown Don doing more of that while pent up at home.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:10 PM on April 28


i do pull-ups on crowded subway cars too! once, a guy in his late teens (earphones on, listening to music on his cell phone) exclaimed "wow, sir, do you do CALISTHENICS?"

i... wow. yes. i do, but you just used the word "calisthenics" in a sentence! you're more amazing that i am!
posted by raihan_ at 4:54 PM on April 28


My personal experience confirms this effect. It happened to me only once, in Chicago, on the blue line, from maybe Division to about Clark & Lake. I ran up and down the car and sang loudly. I lived, dammit, and I didn't record it on my phone or post that shit to youtube.
posted by rlk at 5:58 PM on April 28


I used to be the only person in the subway car pretty frequently -- not monthly or anything, enough that I still noticed, but not so much that I freaked out. Is this one of the many pleasures of living in Queens?
posted by The corpse in the library at 6:01 PM on April 28 [1 favorite]


How I learned my lesson about using an empty subway car as my own personal romper room:

Late one night, when I was young, a friend and I decided to take the 6 down to Brooklyn Bridge and ride it around the loop, so we could take a gander at the gorgeous, unused portion of the City Hall station.

Well before we reached Brooklyn Bridge, we had all of the car, and, it seemed, most of the train to ourselves. Not being much more than kids, we promptly attempted all manner of nonsense, including hanging upside-down from the bars, and swinging ourselves about, and pretending the floor was lava.

I was wearing 14-eye Doc Martens and a skirt. On one pass, I managed to ding my shin on the edge of the seats, only it hurt way more than it should have. And then I started bleeding. Because (fair warning: this is more gross than it was painful) the aglet of my shoelace had caught between my leg and the seat just so—just perfectly perpendicularly—and punctured through all of my skin, so that I had a tiny, aglet-sized window into the cavity between the skin and muscle of my leg.

Fast forward two or three hours, and you could find me in an emergency room with an incredibly amused resident, whose response to, "Is it really okay to pump an entire liter of saline into my leg cavity?" was "Oh, yeah! I mean, it looks weird and bulgy, but I bet I could get at least another 500 mL in there. Wanna try?"

And that is why I no longer fuck around in empty subway cars, pull ups and all.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 6:41 PM on April 28 [5 favorites]


I once hangover-puked in a relatively sparsely populated subway car.

When I got out at my stop, a man who was on the train with me also got out and stated talking to a cop and pointing at me and the cop just had the most "what do you want me to do about it?" expression on his face.


This made my hour. Also, you sound fun to ride trains with.
posted by hal_c_on at 8:25 PM on April 28


When I was 10 years old I lived in Hong Kong.

One day, when I ought to have been at school but was not (my mother would thrust money at me in the morning and I would just go off by myself for the day) I caught the MTR to Kowloon and the empty subway car effect hit me twice that day.

The first was on the MTR, the Hong Kong subway- unlike the NY subway all the cars are open and so it is one giant long undulating tube of a train that you can see right to the end until it curves around a corner at high speed.
I was on the only one on it as far as I could see, for hundreds of meters.
Coming from the surface where the crowds were constantly thronging, I felt like I was alone on the moon, like I was the last human alive.
I did some running and such, whooping and etc.

Later that day I was wandering around a giant new mall Kowloon side and found myself the only person on the third or something level, acres of empty shiny black marble or mirror space punctuated by smooth humming travelators that seemed no shorter than the MTR itself.
Also did some running and whooping, but that was curtailed by a lone security guard who appeared from nowhere and politely ushered me back down a distant escalator.

I took my elder brother to the same mall a couple of days later to show him the magical that was devoid of people, such a rarity in that city.
Every part of the mall teemed with shops and bustling trade- toy stores, electronics shops, fashion fashion and more fashion and I was made to look the fool.

I wandered up and down the escalators looking for the secret empty level- maybe I had missed it? Maybe it was a newly opened basement level?

But it was gone.
And in that moment nothing looked the same, everything was suddenly foreign and inscrutable and I felt more then like the last person on the planet, like I was on the moon, than I had when there was no-body else around.
posted by Plutocratte at 8:42 PM on April 28 [11 favorites]


Plutocratte: Are you sure that was in Hong Kong? It sounds more like a Haruki Murakami novel.
posted by whatzit at 3:35 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


"...so that I had a tiny, aglet-sized window into the cavity between the skin and muscle of my leg."

Not many people have an aglet story worth the telling. Yours may be impossible to beat.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:09 AM on April 29 [2 favorites]


Ipswich line, Sunday afternoon with two small children, last person on our carriage got off three stops before ours and the kids went wild and I was like yeaaaah you go for it my proud beauties! I sang and they ran. Best Sunday ever.
posted by h00py at 7:48 AM on April 29 [1 favorite]


How did this article get published without any nod to Yonathan Elias? Original video here; sensational remix here.

(Be mindful of harmless but NSFW language.)
posted by djpatch at 10:34 AM on April 29


The corpse in the library: "I used to be the only person in the subway car pretty frequently -- not monthly or anything, enough that I still noticed, but not so much that I freaked out. Is this one of the many pleasures of living in Queens?"

Or taking the D train through the Bronx late at night.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on April 29


>I say we get a group together to go check out that bike at midnight, stay to drink and have sex, and disregard any warnings mysterious old crazy people might give us along the way.

The next DC meet up is scheduled for May 8.
posted by Skwirl at 4:40 PM on April 29


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