"Yes, the sacred, unwritten code of public transportation: do not make eye contact, do not speak unless spoken to, do not let excess butcheekage spill onto the seat beside you, and get your backpack off the seat while you're at it."

A TTC Rider’s Code of Conduct, Or: How Not To Piss Off Your Fellow Passengers

The other day I was riding the subway home from work, dutifully minding my own business, when my commute was rudely interrupted by a wildly comical man dancing in the subway car. “I’m working on a track with Drake and Rhianna!” he kept repeating to anyone who would listen.

At one point he even took off his headphones and put them on the head of another man, who looked massively uncomfortable as he continued to tell his Drake and Rhianna fairytale. At this point, everyone in the car is fully alarmed. What is happening? Why he is talking to to other people?? This is not okay! For everyone else on the subway, this is an outright breach of Proper Subway Etiquette.

Yes, the sacred, unwritten code of public transportation: do not make eye contact, do not speak unless spoken to, do not let excess butcheekage spill onto the seat beside you, and get your backpack off the seat while you’re at it. Because public transportation is not a place to make friends, or be comfortable; rather, it is a place to silently hate your lack of alternate transport.

Other violations of Unwritten TTC Behaviourial Code include:

  1. The person who can’t seem to mind their own business. Whether they’re reading your texts over your shoulder, or staring at you like a serial killer lunatic, they have taken a special interest in you and there is nothing you can do to stop it. (Except for actually tell them to stop it, but that would require verbally acknowledging a stranger TTCer’s presence, which breaks the aforementioned code of commuter silence.)

  2. The person who listens to their music too. damn. loud. They may or may not dance and/or sing to themselves. I guess at that volume, the music simply becomes you.

  3. The old fat man who purposely sits on the outer seat so that nobody will sit beside him. Then there’s his slightly less evil cousin, old fat man who takes up more than his fair share of space—but at least he’s not doing it on purpose. (Just hope to god he doesn’t choose to wedge himself in between you and a railing, up close and personal.

  4. The Couple. They are not the only couple on the train, but these two are distinctive, mostly because they are practically sitting on top of each other. These two cutie-pies will literally not let go of each other’s hands. If they are unfortunate enough to be standing during train turbulence, this usually means that they both fall flat on their cutie-pie asses.

  5. The mom (or dad) who knows exactly how cute their baby is. These proud parents can often be found making a colossally large deal out of playing pickaboo with their 2-year-old and talking very loudly to a child who obviously does not understand a word they are saying.

And finally:

  1. The really tiny girl who’s carrying way too much. Said tiny girl also appears to be horrifically balance-impaired, and as a result, ends up falling/dropping things all over the place like a damn fool. For all those unsuspecting patrons she hits/lands on in her wake, she extends her deepest of apologies. Please understand, she is fairly new to TTC and wishes she could get her shit together just as much as you do.

These people aren’t all bad, of course. Speaking as someone who often breaks the subway rules (I have been known, on occasion, to make eye contact with people… the horror!), I would just like to iterate that we should have a little more tolerance for those who choose not to spend their commute sullenly staring at the floor. I understand the desire for a quiet and uninterrupted journey home after a long day, but honestly, out of all the evils in the world, I think the chatty commuter is a lesser one. Chat on, guy. And send me that Drake album when Riri is done with it!

Follow Zakiya on twitter: @zakkassam

6 Comments

  1. Salorwayne
    May 20, 2014

    shedoesthecity Number 7: The jerk on the subway that hates everybody but doesn’t have the cajones to express their displeasure.

  2. Salorwayne
    May 20, 2014

    shedoesthecity Stand up and tell so-and-so to pipe down. I got your back. http://j.mp/ShItL7st

  3. stealdealsplurg
    May 21, 2014

    shedoesthecity How about those people who purposely sit in the middle of the 3 seater bench or even nap on them?

  4. JenniferChoy
    May 21, 2014

    shedoesthecity sometimes, I’m #6 🙁

  5. Salorwayne
    May 21, 2014

    shedoesthecity I am willing to let civilization drift into anarchy in order to crank this on the Bloor line. #Sorry http://twitter.com/Salorwayne/status/469223328629002240/photo/1

  6. anon
    May 24, 2014

    So you Don’t want the parents to keep the small child distracted? How young are you? And WTH would you assume the kid doesn’t understand, kids are fully verbal at this age (kids can start talking before 1, I’m just confused as well by Pickaboo it’s PEEK A BOO (as in peek). 

    I can think of MUCH MUCH worse things and have dealt with worse things on TTC. 

    The person with an infectious (whatever) who wipes the snot off their face with their bare hands and grabs the rails on the bus.

    The person who decides rush hour is a good time to transport a full duvet/bed set.

    The people who will not give a seat to the elderly, disabled, pregnant, small child or new mom.

    The person who puts their bags on seats when they could easily have them in their laps or the person who carries/wears an enormous backpack during rush hour and doesn’t take it off.

    The people who swear loudly over and over in conversation or talk about crimes/sex they had last night. Honestly, I don’t want to hear it.

    The person on their cell phone talking so loud like they are actually trying be audible to their friend across town. 

    People who get aggressive or violent towards other passengers because they are off their meds or having a bad day.

Post Comment