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Three Circles of Subway People Hell

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Between rush hour, service delays, and inexplicable line changes, riding the subway can be quite the calamitous adventure all on its own without the krazy kast of kharacters that you may be lucky enough to have ride in your subway car.  Dante’s Inferno-style, I’ve divided the circles of horror into three:

This category is for minor annoyances that include:

* People you’d rather not talk to but feel forced to do so (coworkers you hate, friends of friends you don’t care for named Chad, etc)

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* A mariachi band or musical/tumbling act– hey, I didn’t want to listen to my ipod/not get kicked in the face anyway!

* Moms with 5 strollers ready for WWIII who are in no way going to let you ask them to do ANYTHING for the convenience of ANYONE else on the train

* People who don’t know that straddling the subway pole with their entire body is not an acceptable way to ride

* Your unbelievably slow-moving, easily panicked parents.  Maybe that’s just me…

* People who decide to sing/dance along to their ipods inexplicably and out of nowhere

This category is for your first stage of panic:

* That wildcard in a hoodie sitting down with his/her head down in their hands.  Are they sleeping?  Are they crying?  Are they plotting to kill you?  Strap yourself on to this wild ride and find out, Mr. Toad!

* That guy who will not discontinue eye contact, no matter how many things in that Dr. Zizmor ad that you’ve seen approximately 1 million times you try to pretend to be intrigued by

* A shitload of teens during rush hour– either a teen is going to do something stupid, or someone’s gonna yell at them and it’s not going to be pleasant

* Drunken bridge and tunnel girls & guys on a night on the town– one can only take so much shrieking and laughably predictable macho posturing.  It’s only a matter of time before someone picks a fight or ralphs all over you.

* People that look like Willie Lopez from the movie Ghost.  I’m always convinced that Carl Bruner must be behind this.  Molly, you in danger, girl!!

* Some guy/girl you slept with randomly and something embarrassing happened but you can’t exactly remember what

* A fighting couple.  Can’t you go somewhere, ANYWHERE else that doesn’t involve an audience?

This is for when you’d literally just rather be dead:

* An unintelligible homeless guy screaming, wearing no shoes who smells like a giant pile of feces and vomit plowing through the car like a deranged and blind bat out of hell (yes, this did happen to me)

* An ex girl/boyfriend that you’re not exactly on great terms with/hate with the fiery passion of a thousand suns

* Some insane lady taking a shit on the seat (a real story I heard secondhand)

* Some drunken asshole who will not stop shouting obscenities at you, and yet no one on the subway seems to care, so they just continue staring at you, as though somehow, this is your fault.

* Someone that you drunkenly and mistakenly yelled at for a reason that seemed viable at the time, but now seems…umm, kinda crazy.  Whoops!


* Someone eating something so absolutely vile smelling to the point that you actually may vomit on the train

In the words of that crazy subway ghost guy (played by noted character actor Vincent Schiavelli) in, once again, the movie Ghost: GET OFF MY TRAIN!

Care to add any to this list?  Comment away!

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Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G - Caliburg Contributor

Anna G. is a Southern California native living in the Williamsburg area of Brooklyn since 2005. Anna is constantly trying to unite her love of CA sunshine and the excitement of the New York urban jungle, all the while trying to keep her unwieldy credit card debt under control, and look fabulous at brunch, no matter how un-showered and hungover.


  1. Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner
    February 25, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Don’t forget the guy in mesh pants jerking off across from you. Yeah. That happened. Awesome post!

  2. February 25, 2010 at 10:17 am

    for the sequel to this list:

  3. Alexi Lawless
    February 25, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Yeah, and the guy who conveniently humps you every time the train jerks, so that you’re almost positive that it’s actually happening, but don’t want to start yelling at him to get away from you making yourself look like the crazy one.

  4. BAS Writers
    February 25, 2010 at 10:52 am

    Oh my god Alison, a guy in mesh TANK TOP once pulled out a container of lotion and just started jerking off next to me and actually grabbed my arm during it. it sucked. i actually cried.

  5. February 25, 2010 at 10:57 am

    people are always bringing up my tank top…

  6. Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap
    February 25, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Do you guys remember the story of when the homeless guy on the bus jizzed in Monica’s hair? That pretty much trumps everything.

  7. Alison Lambert - Half Price Headliner
    February 25, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Wow. If only those mesh wearing/homeless jizzers knew how much harm they were doing. I feel like Monica should get a medal, or a really good sandwich or something for surviving that.

  8. Laura S - Spendthrift Scribe
    February 25, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    I always have worse luck with the bus than the subway, the worst being standig in between two women changing a shitty diaper then handing it across me, on the hottest day in August. Then after they were done, immediately got off the bus.

  9. kips
    February 25, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Well, this is nowhere near the level of the sexual assaults you guys have endured, but I hate the loud people who think that god can’t do his work without them, so it is imperative that they condescend to bring you to Christ with their obnoxious subway preaching.

    I also hate the discomfort of being within earshot of those parents who are verbally abusing their children. The F word is neither necessary nor effective when scolding a toddler– I wish it were possible to call the cops on these people.