Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Magnet

In the past few weeks I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an annoyer magnet. I hear you, I know . . . I’m easily annoyed. But statistically speaking, is it really possible for so many super annoyers to revolve around me in such close proximity? Do we have a statistician in the house?

Obviously riding the Metro North every day doesn’t help. These trains are packed to the brim with people who suck. People who talk on their cell phones loudly (while this used to only occur during “off peak” hours, it is now a vexing regular occurrence), people who let their kids run amuck, people whose voices carry and not in a good way a la ‘Til Tuesday, people who are sick and shouldn't be on the train, forcing those who are healthy to succumb to their spewing germs, and people who sit next to me and then proceed to act weird.

Like last night. I was on the 7:52—not so late that it should have been the twilight zone, as the late night trains tend to be. I was sitting alone and hoping to stay that way. Then an elderly gentleman with a bright sweater, neat little beard, and a bag that seemed to be filled with rocks (I should know, it landed on me when he thrust it onto the seat) asked if he could sit down. He seemed innocent enough, despite hitting me several times with his elbow as he fluttered and settled. As another commuter barreled down the aisle and hit me with his briefcase, my seat companion even expressed concern, “Gee are you okay?” he asked with a friendly smile.

I was just fine. Until he started to make himself at home. Reading his cell phone and texting (with key pad volume on), scratching himself with fervor, as I began to worry about lice or bed bugs, and yawning loudly. “AHHHHHHHHHHH,” said he, while stretching out comfortably, invading my space. This was followed by constant leg jiggling that vibrated the whole chair (I felt like I was suddenly in Kimye’s disturbing Bound 2 video) and more sighs of satisfaction. I began to lean away, using only half of my allotted space.

As luck would have it Jiggles got off at the first stop, and I could have clapped in relief. The guy across from me met my eye and shook his head. “Bet you’re glad he’s gone!” he said. I smiled back, feeling that all was right with the universe. Until the guy across from me started to misbehave.

No sooner had he made the comment, he began to rummage through his bag in search of a beer, which he then took ten minutes to open by clumsily hitting the top of the bottle as if the twist off cap would suddenly untwist itself from repeat slapping. After finally getting it open, he guzzled loudly, smacking his lips. As he continued to try to meet my eye, I leaned away, scooting myself over to the other half of my allotted space. WHY??

As we approached my stop the man suddenly jumped up. “Did I miss my stop?” he asked the guy next to him, who shrugged as if to say, how the helladeria should I know? “FECK!” he shouted, throwing his arms in the air, beer a swingin’.“FEEECCCCKKK.”  He dashed to the front of the train dripping beer in his wake. “FECCCKKK,” he shouted again. Another drunk man in a suit (when did so many people start getting shitfaced on the train?!) shouted out to him sympathetically. “Man that sucks! I feel for ya.”

“It would have been nice if somebody told me!” he shouted to . . . his seat companion? His drunk friend? The collective commuters? Nobody could tell. “I have a feeling it was on purpose too!” he continued. “Let’s watch this guy sleep through his stop,” he said, laughing wildly. I was scared to get off at my stop, but I had to. He followed me off the train.

“Guess what? Someone decided to NOT tell me it was my stop. Can you believe it?” he asked. I quickly gave him a Gilly from Saturday Night Live “Sarry” before running to the shelter and safety of my car. I’m happy to report no incidences on my morning commute. Happy New Year, readers!


  1. Sheeeee's baaaack! Bon any, AmyMC!

    Yes, there are annoyers everywhere. I know because they annoy me too, and as people like you and I are so parfait, it's easier for us to spot them. Plus, you are on a commuter train to/from NYC, so you're bound to get some crazies.

    I don't know WHAT is going on recently with these noisy cell phone buttons. Dear cell phone makers, There is no reason in this day and age for cell phone buttons to make a noise, so please just refrain from even offering that as an option. Mmkay? Thanks. Sincerely, AmyMC and Jana Lia.

    I mean, really, unless you're hard of seeing or under three years old, your cell phone button noises should be OFF! How many times have I tsked and rolled my eyes and sighed loudly, only to be ignored by these offenders.

    And what is happening with all the male commuters on the Barcelona metro that their breath smells like feet on a summer's day after sightseeing for 12 hours wearing leather sandals? And why are they all mouth breathers? Is it medicine for colds? Is it wrong to offer an Altoid or Halls Mentho-lyptus? Is it too obvious when I look, my eyes pop out and start watering and I breathe into my perfumed scarf?

    And yesterday a woman was cell-phone-pacing -- on the moving metro! I glared at her, willing her to get jostled hard to the ground, but she had some sort of Jedi or Karate Kid other-worldly balance thing going on and she managed to just walk up and down annoying everyone. Or just me. Which was the main thing.

    This is all not to mention the daily accordion players, sunflower-seed spitters, people who never let you off before they get on, and -- if I may extend the commute to the escalator leading out from the underground area -- those who just stand at the top wondering what to do next, not realizing it's going to be "get hit from behind because the escalator doesn't stop just because you do".

    I swear, next time a woman plops down next to me and her handbag thumps down on my leg, or a man plops down next to me and relaxes his elbows and spread-eagle knees into my space, I'm going to do something drastic. Like text you about it and use angry emoticons.

  2. Who the hell are these fartin people?? And why do they always seem to flock to you?!

  3. Amy, you were a magnet for weirdos in Barcelona, you are a magnet for weirdos in NY, any you will be a magnet for weirdos anywhere go!

    But at least in Spain people not normally take the train with a bag full of beers for their trip home...

    1. Josep, that's because they've already drunk them on the metro or walk TO the train, and thrown the empty cans on the metro/sidewalk/train tracks, then peed up against a trash can or recycle bin where they could have thrown the empty can, and then got on train with bad breath to go home, with legs spread open so far no one else can sit down and then go "tsk" when someone does try to sit there, then turns on their cell phone music really loudly and sings along.