Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Subway woes

Known widely among New York subway riders, “manspread”, as it is called, is the practice of sitting with the legs spread wide and occupying two or sometimes three designated seats in the manner of Mademoiselle Cha-u-Kao in this famous Toulouse-Lautrec print.

It is seen more commonly among men, only rarely among women; in a crowded train, they annoy those who are standing, especially the elderly, and they are the least likely to even think of standing up to offer their double or triple seats.  “Jumbospread” of overweight passengers is annoying, too, but they are excusable; they can’t help it.  But there are skinny people who allow a half seat on both sides — “elbowspread." There are women who take more than one seat in other ways, too, those who sit sideways (“sidespread”), those who award an extra seat to their shopping bags (“bagspread”), and those with a child small enough to be held on the lap to take a seat to sit in or stand on (“totspread”).  Then, there is “womansqueeze,” women who force their oversized bottom into a tight space.

Among standing passengers, the best known annoyance is “polehog,” the practice of leaning on a pole leaving no space for others to grab; and there is “doorhog” commonly seen among men who stand leaning agains the doors bearing the sign “Do not lean on the door” and blocking the exiting passengers at each station. 

Aside from these, my subway petpeeves include “backpacktwirl,” “toteswing,” “chompchomp,” “smooch,” “teensqueal,” and “phonejabber,” not to speak of “almsbeg,” “trapeze,” and “beltout.”  Then, last but not least, there are passengers who, having come in out of the rain, leave a puddle from the dripping raincoat on the seat.  Shall we call them “randrip”?  

Still, I enjoy subway ride for all the annoyance.  The variety of passengers always make a topnotch entertainment. 

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