You are probably the worst
In case you never watch the news or get on the internet, Atlanta has been seeing a resurgence of things being on fire. Most recently, I-85 was torched and collapsed leaving the city whose traffic jams were already like being guided through the 9 concentric circles of hell–with even more problems (to put it lightly).
As such, the city’s very awful public train has been overrun with East Cobb rich white bros who don’t know how pretty much anything that isn’t an Apple product works. This in and of itself is ironic, because they always vote against extending public transportation to their parts of the city.
All this is to say that, there are a whole bunch more people riding the train who don’t seem to know how to manage themselves on public transit. Sure, there have always been people who are annoying AF on the train, but the new crop of people are the type who don’t have to deal with other people on their traditional commutes. These people can fart and burp and be as gross and rude and whatever else as they want in the privacy of their own vehicles. However, they haven’t quite made the transition to a decent human being on public transportation. Are you one of these? Let’s find out.
The 7 Types of People Who Suck at Public Transportation include…
1. People who sit on the outside seat so no one else can sit with them.
Marta in Atlanta features a bunch of two-seat style hard plastic chairs for riders to sit in as they rumble on toward their destinations. The chairs face multiple directions, but there are only a few single seats on the train reserved for people in wheelchairs or older people, etc.
It seems like a given that, if the train is packed (as it has been for the last few weeks since the I-85 collapse), you will have to sit next to someone during your commute. I get that sitting next to strangers can be awkward and weird (especially if they’re someone on this list), but it’s a given considering the circumstances.
Nonetheless, there is always a douchecanoe that sits on the very outside of a two-seat bench so that no one can sit next to them, and they get the whole commute to themselves.
If the train is empty, then go for it, man. Sit alone and enjoy your ride. But if there is ANYONE standing, while there is a technically open seat available then you are the scum of the Marta system. Move your lazy ass over and let someone else sit down.
Riding Marta is already 0 fun. No one does it for the joy of it. So at the very least, move so someone else can have a 0 fun experience as opposed to a full on, in the negative Marta ride.
2. People who put their bags in the seat next to them so no one can sit by them.
These people are similar to #1, except they Forrest Gump people with freaking backpacks and work cases, etc.
If there weren’t a social construct against grabbing someone’s bag off the seat and throwing it in their laps so I can sit next to them, I’d have done it already. These people also conveniently always wear headphone and never make eye contact.
At least with the outside-seat people you can ask to sit on the inside seat (which they always act like is the biggest inconvenience of their lives). But with backpackers, there’s no polite/decent human being way to say, “Move your shit so some of us can sit down, you asshat.” At least, I’ve yet to see someone break through to these people.
3. People who have loud conversations or play their music without headphones on the train.
As previously mentioned, the train is a miserable place. It’s like a terrible school bus to work and to home after a long day at work. Everyone on that train would rather be going almost anywhere else. It’s a palpable mood in the mornings. And everyone seems f***ing exhausted in the afternoons as if they spent the whole day in the hot sun herding cattle.
The one good thing about riding Marta is that you don’t actually have to DRIVE, so it’s the perfect place to zone out and listen to a meditation, an audiobook, or your fave Pandora station. Some people read actual books (how they don’t get motion sickness, I’ll never know). Some people stare out the window like they’ve never been outside before in their lives.
And some assholes play their music as loudly as possible without headphones or have boisterous conversations with their significant others/bros/phones/etc. Not only is it nauseating to have to listen to whatever kind of music is on blast, but it dampens the already sad mood of Marta. The mood goes from, “I don’t want to be here,” to “Mother of god, kill me now.”
Put on some headphone and whisper your conversations. No one cares. No one else likes your music. No one is impressed by either.
4. Perfectly healthy people who don’t offer their seats to older people, people with disabilities, people with children, people obviously struggling somehow, etc.
In almost 2 months of riding Marta, I have witnessed someone offer their seat to another person exactly twice. The number of times it has been warranted to offer a seat to someone else has been WAY MORE than 2 times.
Since I was standing on both occasions, I didn’t have a seat to offer. Once a school kid offered his seat to a woman who was standing, and another time a mid-30s (probably?) guy offered his seat to an older man. Side note: If your kid is the kind of kid on Marta who scoots over so no one can sit next to him on a packed train after his friend gets off, I consider you a failure as a parent.
This isn’t an Atlanta thing. It’s nationwide. I remember reading a story a while back about this pregnant woman who, IN TWO PREGNANCIES, was only offered a seat on the train by a man ONCE. She was so astounded by the lack of politeness that she had a statuette made to give to the first man who finally did it. She got to give it out when she was 8 month pregnant… with her second child.
If it won’t kill you to stand for even part of the ride, just let someone else have your seat. Consider it your good karma for the day.
5. People who stand up and block the doors 200 stops before they actually get off.
When there is nowhere to sit, people tend to hang out by the doors. By design, Marta has few handrails in the actual train car. So it makes sense that people will cluster by the doors. Similarly, many people tend to get up right before their next stop during the train ride to be at the door as it opens.
However, there is a combination of this behavior that leads to people being blocked from entering and exiting the train. And instead of shift aside for new people to get on and exiting people to GTFO, the door-clusterers just sort of stand there staring at their phone blocking the way. As a result, people entering the train also get stuck by the doors and cause even more of an bottleneck.
I don’t understand why it’s so hard to just move along the train away from the doors to let people enter and exit easily. But I don’t understand how ALL of these points aren’t basic logic, too.
6. People who hold on to the side bars and encroach on the personal space of others.
These are oftentimes the same people who get up early to be the first person off the train. I’ve noticed a lot of men will hold on to the metal bars near the doors and encroach into the space of others who are also close by. At times it looks like they have their arms around the people near the door.
If someone were that close to me on public transportation, I don’t think I’d be able to hold in how much I’d want to gut punch them. It’s uncomfortable enough to be in close proximity with all the different people on the train without someone closely hovering over you with his arm damn near around your neck.
7. Motherf***ing manspreaders.
Speaking of wanting to gut punch people who get too close to you… There is almost nothing worse than a manspreader on the train. I say almost, because I imagine someone throwing up on the train is horrendous.
A guy once got on Marta a few stations after I did. He immediately slammed down in the seat next to me (which I leave open because my mother raised me right), threw his backpack on the ground, slipped down in the seat so as to recline, and spread his legs into a very wide V. He knee knocked into mine, forcing me to crunch myself smaller into the already not comfortable seats.
It took everything in me (and the ringing reminder of Sean’s voice in my head saying, “You’re a smaller human than you think you are. Don’t start fights with people.”) not to forcefully womanspread my own legs back into his–and then gut punch him.
The hard plastic squares that are Marta seats should serve as a barrier for your own personal space. If you’re crossing the imaginary line, you’re in someone else’s space. And that makes you a terrible human being. Not really. If you’re doing it inadvertently, whatever. Be more aware next time. But those people with the kind of complex that makes them think they deserve all that space (like knee-slammer bro), deserve the gut punch.
Next time you have to ride public transportation, keep these points in mind. It’s not that hard to use your brain and just be polite about the ride. Everyone else who has to ride the train will thank you.