Tag Archives: train

Social Justice Vigilante

I was taking the train to work this morning. It was one of those new SF Muni trains, the ones with a long bench-like seat along the side of the car and another long bench-like seat mirroring it on the other side. It was the morning commute and it was fairly crowded. This older man, probably in his mid sixties, got on the train and looked around for a seat. He gestured at a mid-thirties business man sitting close by to me, and asked him to move his bag so he could have a seat. The businessman slowly pulled off his headphones, gazed up from the MacBook on his lap, looked the old man in the eyes and said “No.”

The old guy looked back incredulously and asked again to make sure he was hearing this correctly. “You won’t move your bag so I can have a seat?”

And the businessman repeated himself. “No, I’m not going to move my bag. It has important things in it.”

And this is the moment that I got myself involved. I pride myself of being a social justice vigilante. I looked over at the businessman and said “You’re really not going to move your bag?”

He shook his head and repeated “No.”

Keep in mind: this is during morning rush hour. There are a bunch of people standing up without seats, and this jackass is taking up two seats unapologetically and proudly. So I went off on him. “What makes you so special? I really want to know. Your bag is more important than other people? Do you want your own train car too? You are an asshole.”

I have to mention that I didn’t yell any of this. This was me calmly telling an asshole that he is an asshole, and the people nodding in agreement with me made him realize that he is in fact an asshole.

The older guy jumped back in: “You can’t be take up a seat for your bag. You’re also manspreading quite a bit!”

This younger street kid got up and offered his seat to the older guy. The older guy took it, and wouldn’t you know it, now the older guy and the businessman were on opposite benches facing each other. Older guy kept glaring at the businessman, things seemed to settle down, I went back to staring at my phone, and a few stops later I noticed the businessman slowly pick up his bag and place it under his seat by his feet. And that my friends, is what we call character development.

It was one of my finer Muni moments.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Wearing Scrubs on Public Transportation 

 I rely on public transportation to get around the city. I try to be aware of my surroundings and I’ve noticed a lot of hospital workers wearing their scrubs on the bus or train. That doesn’t make any sense to me. Wikipedia defines scrubs as the sanitary clothing worn by surgeons, nurses, physicians, and other workers involved in patient care in hospitals. The key word is sanitary, and I don’t think wearing scrubs on public transportation is sanitary. The subway isn’t exactly renowned for its cleanly conditions. Scrubs are supposed to be sterile to keep germs and infections from spreading to vulnerable patients. Wearing them on the bus seems to violate that cardinal rule. You trust healthcare workers to be clean. Seeing them rub shoulders with homeless people on public transportation is pretty disheartening. It should be illegal. Write your congressman and voice your complaints if you feel the same way. Maybe someone can start a petition to outlaw the practice. I’m too lazy to take the initiative but I’ll gladly sign my name to the cause.
 Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young 

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Slowly Realizing That You’re Sitting Next to a Homeless Guy

I took the train to work the other day. It was in the middle of morning rush hour so the train was pretty crowded. I spotted an empty seat, sat down in it, and considered myself lucky. At least at first. It only took me a few minutes to acknowledge that there was a pungent smell creeping into my nostrils. Something wasn’t right. Something wasn’t right at all. I glanced at the dude next to me. I noticed his ragged jeans, his stained shirt, his overstuffed backpack, and his well-worn sleeping bag. I sat down right next to a homeless guy. I chose the wrong seat. I sat there and suffered for a few minutes until I was able to slink into another empty seat. I sat there and watched a few more people make the same mistake. I left my headphones at home; I had to entertain myself somehow. Slowly realizing that you’re sitting next to a homeless guy is not a good way to start your morning. You know that you’re groggy, but now you have proof that you’re unprepared for the world. You weren’t paying attention to your surroundings. Now you have to deal with it. Ahh, the joys of public transportation.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Seat Scurry

I was waiting for my train at a busy stop, jostling against the other commuters and vying for a position that would best ensure me a seat. The train pulled up slowly, the doors opened, a few people got off, and then the seat scurry began. A seat scurry is a frenzy of angry commuters looking for a spot to sit. You’ll mostly witness it during rush hour, but it could also happen whenever there are too many people waiting at one spot. Everyone feels like they are the ones who are most entitled to a seat and they will shove other people out of the way to get one. It doesn’t matter if you’re pregnant, disabled, or old. If you can’t get to a seat, you aren’t getting one unless somebody takes pity on you. And people are assholes so nobody will take pity on you. Common courtesy is long gone. Chivalry is dead. Manners are extinct. Nowhere is that more apparent than during a seat scurry.

Critically at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

Riders board through the back door of 38 Geary bus during afternoon rush hour. 05/08/12, Market and Post

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Trapped on the Train with a Crazy Guy

I was taking the train to work this morning and there was a little bit of traffic in the underground. I got delayed in the tunnel for about ten minutes. That happens a few times a month and it’s not so bad as long as you’re not overly claustrophobic or scared of earthquakes. This morning was different because I was trapped on the train with a crazy guy. He was a white guy, probably in his late twenties, wearing a gray hoodie and he was banging on the doors and screaming for the train to move at the top of his voice. He wasn’t yelling for the driver to move the train. He was yelling at the actual train. The driver was in the first train car, and we were in the second. I don’t think the driver knew what was going on. The crazy guy would take occasional breaks from screaming to run up and down the length of the train. There were two other guys besides me in our car and we were all a few seats away from each other. We all made eye contact with each other, silently acknowledging that there was a crazy guy running amok and that we had each other’s backs in case the crazy guy got even crazier. Ten minutes stuck in a tunnel seems longer than ten minutes. It’s even longer with a crazy guy. I don’t recommend it. I waited it out and the train eventually moved, the doors opened, I went to work, and the crazy guy stormed off to presumably find another inanimate object to yell at. Just another day in the city.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Snowpiercer

Snowpiercer is a 2013 sci-fi action film based on the French Graphic novel Le Transperceneige. It takes place in a future where mankind has created a new ice age, the whole world has frozen over, and the only survivors are stuck on the Snowpiercer, which is a super train that never stops running. The train is kind of a metaphor for society. The poor passengers are stuck in the slum-like tail section and the elites have a life of luxury in the front cars. Chris Evans stars as Curtis Everett, one of the poor tail-bound passengers who leads a revolt against the elites. The poor work their way up the train with the main goal of reaching Wilford, the creator and controller/captain guy. That’s the basic plot. I don’t want to go into too many details, because I think you should watch it. I’ve seen your Facebook profile, I know your taste. Snowpiercer is right up your alley.

Snowpiercer is not your typical dystopian action flick, mostly because it’s not a Hollywood film. It’s a South Korean film directed by Bong Joon-ho. Don’t worry though, most of the dialogue is spoken in English. It just has a different style of editing that’s different from the quick cuts and over-the-top action sequences that you’ll find in Michael Bay films. It didn’t get a big reception in the US, mostly because of Harvey Weinstein being a dickhole as usual, but the critics seem to like it. I like it and I’m very critical. I watched it on Netflix, you can too.

Critically Rated at 14/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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When Everybody Is Sick On Public Transportation

I can tell that it’s going to be a long winter when everybody is sick on public transportation. I live in San Francisco and it’s been raining and cold the last couple of days. That means whenever I get on the bus or train I hear a symphony of coughs, sniffles, and sneezes. There’s no such thing as silence, only sounds of sickness. There’s no escape from the germs and bacteria all around you. You know that it’s just a matter of time before you catch something and get sick too. Hopefully it’s just a cold and not Ebola. Or Swine Flu. Or SARS. Are we still scared of SARS? It’s hard to avoid getting sick when everybody else is, especially on public transportation. All you can do is use hand sanitizer every couple of minutes and try not to get sneezed on.

Critically Rated at 4/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Bus Stop Fidgeter

You’re on the bus or train going home during rush hour and every seat is filled. All you can do is stand in the aisle and wait for somebody to get up, get off, and vacate their seat so that you can claim it. You’re aware of every movement that everyone makes. You notice that there’s one guy sitting down who grabs his suitcase and clasps his jacket shut at each stop. He looks like he’s about to get off but he never does. He’s a bus stop fidgeter, and he’s a terrible passenger because he doesn’t know that he sucks at riding the bus. When you’re on public transportation every movement you make has to have a purpose. You have to indicate to the other passengers what your intentions are. If you’re getting off soon, you should have overly spastic movements to let other passengers know that you’ll be getting off soon. You should be as still as possible if you’re going to be riding the bus for a while. It’s common sense. But some people just don’t have it. Stop twitching. Be deliberate. Don’t be a bus stop fidgeter.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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RAT on the New York subway! (YouTube video)

RAT on the New York subway! is the descriptive title of a YouTube video about a rat running around a crowded subway car. It’s pretty funny because most of the passengers are standing up on the seats like they are all playing a game of hot lava. The rat runs around the length of the car causing people to shriek and jump out of the way. The rat is actually a blessing in disguise. Nobody is really freaking out about t, and you can tell that the rat is really a bonding experience. People are actually interacting with each other as they laugh, groan, and scream together. They all look like little kids, and that looks like fun. It makes you want to experience a rat on the subway for yourself. Besides, I’d rather deal with a rat on the subway than with one in my house.

Critically Rated at 13/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Pouring a Soda On a Seat

            I live in San Francisco and I see something crazy every time I leave the house. The other day I was on the train heading to work and I saw a thuggish-looking guy on the row of seats across from where I was sitting. He was eating some fast food and sipping on a soda. I’m guessing he didn’t like his soda choice too much, because I saw him take off the lid and dump the entire soda onto the seat next to him. I couldn’t help but glance at the guy. He saw me look at him. He flicked his straw at me and it landed near my feet. He smirked at me, I went back to looking at my phone, and then he got up and hopped off the bus at the next stop. I can only assume that he was trying to frame me for the mess he made. I’ve seen a lot of crazy people doing crazy things, but pouring a soda on a seat was a new one. I don’t know why he did it. There doesn’t seem to be any logical reason for it. He could have thrown the soda into the trash. He could have poured it on the ground. Instead he poured it onto a seat. There’s no method to his mayhem.

            Critically Rated at 8/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Sitting in the Aisle Seat

If you’re riding the bus, plane, or train, most of the time you have a few options: you can take the window seat, occasionally there’s the middle seat, and there’s the aisle seat. Each seat has its benefits and drawbacks, but sitting in the aisle seat on public transportation should be your last choice, especially if the bus is crowded. The aisle will be filled with people standing, and your head is right at crotch level and that’s not a good combination. A sudden swerve or bump in the road could result in some unpleasant contact. There’s always some clumsy aisle walker that bumps into you unnecessarily. Plus you have to get up when the guy in the window seat gets up. You’re lucky that you have a seat, but it’s a very inconvenient seat. Come to think of it, you might be better off standing.

Critically Rated at 10/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Talking on the Phone in the Subway

Having a long conversation on the phone in public is enough to make everyone hate you, but talking on the phone in the subway is just plain stupid. The other day I was in the underground station waiting for my train. There was a stupid bitch yakking away on her phone standing behind me. The train approached and we both got on, she just kept on chatting away as the door closed and the train started to move. Then her phone cut out because that’s what happens when you’re in a tunnel. I enjoyed the temporary reprieve from her annoying voice, but then she called her friend back at the next station. We were still underground and we had three more stops to go before we hit street level. So she had a twenty-seven second conversation before the doors closed, the train started moving, and her phone got cut off again. And then she called back at the next station, apologized for losing reception because she’s in the subway, and promptly got cut off when the train started moving again. She let out an impatient sigh, like it was the train’s fault for her being an idiot. I know that she’s an idiot because she called back at every station. It’s truly remarkable how people like that exist. And holy shit, there are a lot of people like that. I can’t wait for the zombie apocalypse.

Critically Rated at 5/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Let Them Out First

I remember waiting for an elevator when I was about seven or eight years old. The doors opened and I shoved my way inside. As I did, an old lady told me something that I never forgot: “Let them out first!” And that makes sense. It doesn’t matter if you’re waiting for an elevator, the bus, or taking the subway, let them out first. It’s polite, it’s considerate, it’s what you’re supposed to do. It’s actually harder to force your way in when everybody else is going out. Don’t be a salmon. Don’t go against the flow. Let them out first.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Blocking the Window Seat

Some people don’t grasp the fact that public transportation is for the public. That means lots of people ride it and everyone has to deal with each other. There are certain rules and customs that people abide by so that they don’t kill anyone. For example you shouldn’t sit in the aisle seat if there’s nobody in the window seat. The first person to sit down in each row should take the window seat. You’re an asshole if you’re blocking the window seat. You’re trying to keep personal space for your selfish self at the expense of the little old lady who is now forced to stand. You’re not making things any more convenient for yourself either. If the bus is crowded someone will tap you on the shoulder and ask to sit down. And you’ll have to get up and move when they do. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting there because your stop is coming up. Get up and wait by the fucking exit then. There’s no excuse for blocking the window seat. It’s even worse to sit in the window seat and block the aisle seat.  You’re just an asshole. Accept it or change your ways.

Critically Rated at 3/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Getting Up For Your Stop Too Early

You’re on the train or bus heading for your destination and you know that your stop is coming up. In fact, it’s the next stop. So you ding the dingy and get up and shuffle towards the door. But then the vehicle stops at a light or yields for a pedestrian and you’re stuck standing awkwardly by the exit. The clock keeps ticking and seconds turn to minutes and you realize you got up too early. You glance back at your seat and a stressed-out guy in a business suit has already taken it. You were too anxious and karma kicked you in the ass this time. The only thing you can do is act like you meant to get up, like you wanted to stretch your legs or be polite or some other nonsensical reason. Nobody buys it. You fucked up and everyone else knows it.

Critically Rated at 7/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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Talking on the Phone on Public Transportation

If you are on the bus, train, ferry, or some other form of public transportation and your phone rings, you have two options. You can do the right thing and ignore the call, or you can answer your phone. It’s understandable to answer your phone. But you should mention right off the bat that you’re on the bus so you can’t really talk. You find out what they want and you end the conversation.  But if you answer and proceed to have a loud and glorified conversation for more than five minutes, you are blissfully ignorant of how rude and obnoxious you are. It’s even worse if you’re the one calling people on public transportation. You are scum and you should know that.

There’s this thing called Other People. You might want to continuously be yakking on your phone for thirty minutes, but Other People don’t want to be forced to eavesdrop on your lame but loud conversation. Other People don’t give a shit about your day, and they don’t want to hear about it.  No one wants to listen your stupid conversation about how drunk you were last night and how mean your boss was today because you were hungover. And you talk a lot of shit about your friends to whoever you’re talking to.

Who calls people anyway? It’s text or bust. Especially on the bus.

Critically Rated at 6/17

Written, Rated, and Reviewed by Brendan H. Young

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