An Open Letter About Manners

Dear The Same Group of People Who Sit In The Same Four Seats On The Train Every Morning:

I would like it to be known that you do not own the seats you sit in every morning, on the same train, in the same carriage. A helpful hint is that it’s called public transport. I’d hazard a guess that your taxes do indeed help pay towards the cost of the upkeep of the train, along with your train fare, but since you live in the crab-infested sheds of Rockport and work cushy, benefits-padded jobs, you have the air of snivelling, mother-selling tax-dodgers and monthly train pass-reimbursements.

Yet every morning I step onto the train (a crowd-battle in itself, thanks to the one door that opens), and see your smug faces sitting and chatting in those same seats, as if you were in a coffeeshop, or the “cool kids” in school who sit together. Well, I’ve got news for you – you’re not the cool kids – the cool kids sat at the back of the train, not the front. Fools.

You seem to either be completely oblivious of your surroundings, or refuse to acknowledge that other people happen to exist in space and time. For example, the coffee that one of you spilled a couple of days ago. Knowing full well that everyone would be walking into that huge puddle of half of the contents of a large coffee (from the ghastly Dunkin’ Donuts, no less), you made no effort whatsoever to clean it up, and instead chose to sit back and laugh about it. Never mind the blind man who, as a result of his impairment, would not be able to see such a hazard. Being incapable of wiping your own arse, you knew that the maid would arrive momentarily to clean up your mess, and in the meantime, you can have a jolly good laugh about the ghetto North Shore Slip ‘n’ Slide you just created.

Another example was yesterday morning. A frail, elderly woman hobbled onto the train on a rather poorly-made medical crutch. One of you felt it was simply too much of a hassle to remove your briefcase, which clearly required a seat of its own, to make room for this useless freeloading wench to sit down and rest. The jostling and jerking from the train and the prolonged standing would do her recovering joints some good. And what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger. Which is probably why the wretched lot of you are all still somehow living.

If you had been in England, those seats that you seem to claim every day would have been clearly marked with enormous window decals suggesting that you kindly get up off your fat arses and let someone in need sit there. People with babies/small children, the elderly, and the disabled. This woman was two out of the three and you dithered and ummed and acted as if you didn’t know how to remove a briefcase from a seat, shimmy your fat arse over or just stand upright for once and honorably hand over your seat. Someone else let her sit down, right across the aisle from you, and this woman gladly accepted. You should all be ashamed of yourselves, you thoroughly disgusting pigs.

I had the displeasure of sitting with the lot of you this morning. But while most commuters understand that standing in front of a row of seats with a spare spot means, “please move up so I can sit down”, I actually had to ask one of you to do so, and was met with a puzzled glare that means, “I’ve never been asked to do this in my life. I wish my mummy were here to help me figure out what to do – also, where’s the maid to clean up my arse?” And then you finally let me sit down. What a complete and utter display.

Now part of the Elite Seat Club, my punishment was to have to listen to one of you drone on and on and on in your revolting, Rachael Ray, cigarette-encrusted voice, and the younger one natter on and on and on in your irritatingly nasal cackle that is truly the bastard child of Sesame Street muppets and every single Hanna-Barbera cartoon.

Worse still, was the subject of your conversation – the young one bemoaning her situation that she is living at home, rent-free, with her parents, who are embarrassed that she is not out on her own, living in her own place. Here’s a little clarification: they’re not embarrassed because you haven’t got on the property ladder – they’re embarrassed because you are mooching off of them while slagging them off (especially your poor mother, who should have used condoms every time), and acting like the princess you’re clearly not.

There is no chicken-or-the-egg postulating here – if I’d had you as a child, I would taken revenge on my own ovaries by teaching you to look the wrong way when you crossed the road. What a horrendous brat you are. I do hope that my passive-aggressive phone conversation to my brother about irresponsible young homeowners might lead you to reconsider the snobby, ill-informed, moronic question of, “what’s the point in throwing away money on rent when I can stay at home and save up to buy a house with my boyfriend?” Or, to put it another way – fuck you while I play a tiny violin for your troubles. Can’t see the tiny violin? Look here – a bit closer – lean in further – oops, just punched you in the face. Now grow up and stop whining, you ungrateful little gob of insolence.

I understand that, while you choose your seats so strategically, you (the nicotine-stenched one) are thus entitled to Rise Up and rightfully claim your place at the front of the queue to disembark the train. Well, you’re wrong. Whenever I can feel like it, I purposefully start to move into that tiny bit of space you think you can use to edge out the competition to get off the train first, and block you from exiting before the 50-odd group of people who were standing up for two-thirds of the journey.

And other people are starting to catch on, too. Many times I’ve seen other commuters watch you try to get up and they slot themselves in there before you get a chance, taking their sweet time exiting the train and leaving lots and lots of room in front of them. Room you can’t get to.  This is what you get for displaying such foul disregard for anyone around you. If someone has been standing up for most of the train journey and they kindly let you disembark the train first, at least make eye contact and say “thank you” or “excuse me”, instead of just shoehorning your unpleasantness in front of us mere peons.

America ceased their Isolationist viewpoints before WWII, so be aware that there are other people on this train. Even Bhutan aren’t isolationist anymore. It’s pretty much just Switzerland. Do you want to be Switzerland? No, no-one wants to be Switzerland. So either let people sit down and clean up your own messes or GTFO and commute in your gas-guzzling, ozone-raping SUVs you keep bragging about.

And don’t think I didn’t see that puzzled side-eye you all gave me when you heard me speak. Just because I bear a faint resemblance to the people who rip you off at the convenience store doesn’t mean I can’t speak posh. You berks. Now fuck off back to Dunkin Donuts.

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