Subway Etiquette

It’s National Etiquette Week. Gothamist has been posting some really great, really should be common sense, posts about how to not be a jerk in New York. My favorite so far is their 7 Deadliest Etiquette Sins to Commit on the Subway. All of these subway habits are the worst and completely inconsiderate to your fellow straphangers. Especially pole-hugging. Sometimes to deal with pole huggers, I’ll still hold onto while they’re leaning against it, hoping they’ll get the hint. They don’t usually, and then I’m just stuck with my hand behind the curve in a stranger’s neck until a better pole opens up. Here are a few of my own additions to the subway sin list:

Eating smelly food:

Gothamist’s list touched on this a bit, and they seem to be for a complete food on the subway ban. As a person with weird blood sugar, I’m cool with occasional subway eating is fine. Sometimes you’re in a hurry, and you need to jam half a bagel down your throat so you don’t bonk on the way to work. Emergency snacks like granola bars, cracker snack packs, these foods are fine. But if it’s food with an odor that will waft through the whole car, that will splatter your seat neighbor in any way, or that requires utensils or condiments, don’t eat it on the train. My least favorite subway food of others used to be McDonald’s, because it just smells like disappointment and angioplasty, but it’s been replaced with hard-boiled eggs. They’re the eggiest smelling variety of egg food, and they’re the last thing I want to smell in an enclosed space with no air circulation.

Taking too much ball room:

This is a sub-category of seat hogging, and men are the main offenders. No one has big enough balls that require sitting with their legs at a ninety-degree angle to be comfortable. When you sit spread eagle, you’re just being an asshole who’s taking up seat space for two people. The best way to deal with this is walk up to the seat and say, “Excuse me, can I sit?” and most people move. Then other times, they move just enough but keep their  legs spread out so far that I feel like I’m back on a family car trip in the backseat of a Volkswagen crammed between my two sisters. The only difference being my seat neighbors never call me “football shoulders” like my sisters did. I’d like say the sitting with your legs gaping open is something only men do, but more and more women are doing it. Part of me is like, fuck yeah ladies you take up that space, but most of me is just mad at them because I want to sit down.

Game noises without headphones:

I’m so glad you have Bejeweled to keep you entertained on your long commute. Do you really need to hear the sound of the swishing of jewels? If you do, I still don’t. Put the headphones on. Also, you know that’s not the sound jewels make in real life, right? They’re fancy rocks. They’d just clang together and sound like…rocks. Oh, and if you’re wearing headphones, I shouldn’t hear any noise coming out of them. Turning them up that loud defeats the purpose of keeping sounds to yourself.


Hey giggling teenager, you seem lucky to have such a hilarious boyfriend, who makes you giggle so much that you’re dropping the lettuce from your McDonald’s sandwich on the ground. But that does not make it okay to lean over the seat railing and hold your sandwich over some else’s head. Also, guy next to me, don’t read over my shoulder. Get your own book.

Not holding onto anything:

The train is bumpy, jerky and unpredictable. Hold onto something! Don’t stand there trying to keep your balance and look cool. You look like a tool with unnatural posture when you try. There was one morning a few months ago when this guy wasn’t holding onto anything and he fell into me. He laughed and picked himself up. Then he fell again because he didn’t hold anything. He looked and me and laughed again and I said, “You know, there’s a pole you can hold onto.” (Everyone says he was trying to hit on me. I say no, because he seemed to be an adult wearing a suit and not a child on a playground throwing sand).

Best animal videos ever (or at least this week)

Oh internet! There was a time, though it seems so distant, when you were not fast enough to load videos of cute animals. When your connection had to dial up, and it took 10 minutes to log into my Hotmail account, where my sign in name was “crazymango.” How times have changed! Now, I’d say, on average, I find at least two new animal videos online that make me go “AAAAAAWWWWWWW!” and giggle profusely. And this is without even really trying. Here are some of the best animal videos I’ve found in the last six months…

Otter Pup getting weighed

How can something so grumpy be so brain-hurting-ly cute?

Scared Red Panda

He’s so fluffy and floppy!

Penguin goes shopping

Is the best part of this penguin story that the bird is trained to go shopping? Is it that he refused to leave the family that rescued him? Or that he knows not to eat any fish on the way home? None of the above. The best part is that he’s wearing a penguin backpack.

Baby porcupine vs. coffee cup

Please vote for you who you think won the battle.

And now, for the greatest animal video of all time….

Meet the Sloths

Meet the sloths from Lucy Cooke on Vimeo.

I defy you to find something cuter than baby sloths Lady and the Tramping a green bean. Oh what’s that? A baby sloth hugging a stuffed giraffe and toppling over? Yeah, I have been defied.

Best catcalls I’ve gotten in Flatbush

I’m in a new neighborhood, so I’ve got a new collection of dudes yelling at me. Here are my favorites so far:

1. “Hey beauty queen, give me your number so I can call you later”

Because beauty queens usually wear cutoffs and hoodies, right?

2. “I wish I could get you to say yes to everything.”

I assume “everything” means anal. The answer is “no.”

3. “Hey pretty.”

Not exactly original. It’s only noteworthy because I’d underdressed to walk to the store. I was pulling my sweatshirt closer to my face to make up for my lack of scarf or hat and I was scrunching my face, making a noise like “Mergeaaaah.”

Unexpected Expenses

I took a bite of my leftover burrito at lunch and it tasted, fruity. Fruity in a stale, fake way. I took a second bite, hoping my tastebuds had suddenly gained an imagination. They hadn’t, the tofu, beans, and cheese had a hint of fruit with every bite. I took a third bite, just to figure out why. The fruit flavor had a slight undertone of cigarette smell, and then Ifigured out that the Tupperware I’d reheated my burrito filling in was the same one that E had been using to store hookah tobacco, and the residue from the apple flavored, molasses soaked tobacco worked its way into my burrito. Then I bought a mediocre salad from Duane Reade because I decided I’m not eating anything that tastes right today. To make myself feel better, I write “hookah only” on the Tupperware lid and container in sharpie so this mistake never happens again. Then I felt a little ashamed that this was the second time I’ve put leftovers in a hookah Tupperware.

Chipotle mayo is the new salt

Something did not look right about my calamari.  The little squid tentacles were covered in something creamy, and it wasn’t coconut milk like the menu I had said. I held the dish under the tiny light built into our table, and it was thick and orange-colored. The theater (Nitehawk) was already dark when the waiter dropped it by, but even in low light I am mentally incapable of eating anything without looking at it.  (side note: I was seeing Beast of the Southern Wild. I loved the movie. Go see it). Our waiter passed by again and I asked quietly, “What’s on this?” Chipotle mayo, he said and walked away.

I hate mayo. Always have. Can’t see that changing. Its two main qualities, eggyness and creamyness, make me gag. The only non-calarmi ingredients listed on the menu were sweet coconut, lime leaf, and basil, all flavors and textures I can get behind. I prairie-dogged our waiter down, and he was totally cool about. He brought out a new calamari, minus the mayo. I understand there are people who love chipotle mayo, and that’s fine. But when did it become used like salt, so frequently and liberrally it doesn’t need to be mentioned on a menu?

Chipotle in general is the new “exotic without actually trying” flavor. Cornnuts have a chipotle flavor and there are creamy chipotle ranch salad dressings, and these are lowest common denominator foods. I can’t tell you how many restuarants have a veggie sandwich, and rely solely on chipotle mayo for flavor. No, salt, no pepper, no marinades, just chipotle mayo. It’s a nice gesture to appease vegetarians (yes, I do eat fish sometimes, but I identify as vegetarian. Have you ever met someone who calls themselves a pescetarian and not wanted to punch them in the face?), and I appreciate the effort, but mayo is one of the least veggie friendly condiments. Even a chipotle pesto would be something new, and more delicious than mayo. The over-saturation of chipotle foods is like when mango salsas become more prevelent in the grocery stores. People would buy it and be like, “oooh, it’s mango!?” like it’s so crazy to mix sweet and spicy. I’m not saying I don’t like mango salsa, I just don’t find it to be the most exciting thing to dip my chip into. Now, it’s like, “Ooooh, chipotle flavor!?”

Meet Moushey

This is Moushey. He drives a boat. Sometimes he wears a sweater.

Look how chubby his cheeks are.

I made Moushey at an anthropomorphic taxidermy class at The Observatory, a truly wonderful and truly bizarre gallery space and library in Brooklyn. Making sure he was rightly proportioned and perfectly stitched took me a while, and I ran out of time to build him a kick ass diorama. Though, he seems content with just his wooden boat and his sweater.

In case you were wondering, I did not pick him up off the street and cut him open. The mice in the class came from a herpetology supply company. They were frozen mice intended as snake food. We used Borax to preserve his skin, and his insides were replaced with clay, pillow stuffing and armature wire.