The morning show down

This morning when I went to catch my transfer at West 4th Street, I had an encounter that was just unbelieveble.

As you may know, I have listed some Commuter Etiquette, some guidance for a more pleasant and friendly commute.  Most of the things listed under the Commuter Etiquette is just common sense but commonly ignored.   For instance, the right of path; see Commuter Etiquette #10, “Walk on the right, pass on the left.”  This particular etiquette is usually a forgivable one should two people almost collide.  Sometimes there’s a tango to go around, and sometimes the person steps aside and lets the other by.  However, I have found from my personal experiences and observations, it is not as forgivable when it occurs on a flight of stairs.

At times, I will come literally face to face with someone heading towards me on the stairs even though I may already be on the right side, or not.  There’s always someone who will blink first whether someone is on the right side of the path or not.  Sometimes it’s me, and sometimes it’s the other person who gives way passively (or begrudgingly) and almost no wordy exchanges.  However, this morning was no ordinary tango on the steps.

I was on the “E” train (see earlier post) and got off at West 4th Street to transfer to either the B, D, F, or V trains to Broadway Lafayette.  I walked the down the stairs from the upper level to the middle level along the left hand side (I know).  Nobody was on the stairs heading towards me so I kept on down the stairs.  I descended down the second flight of stairs to the B, D, F, V platform and then a group of people that just go off the “F” train started up the stairs.  I hoped to catch the “F” train and was trying to go down the stairs as quickly as I could while some opposing traffic was heading towards me.  The people saw me and went around me.  I was two thirds of the way down the stairs when this jackass stopped in front of me.  He held up people in back of him but they went around him.  I looked at him with an expression on my face that said, “What the hell are you doing?!”

He wanted me to move.  

I thought to myself, “Who the hell does he think he is telling me to move while I’m coming down the stairs?!”  I responded, “Why don’t you move?” 

He refused and stood there, as did I while the people behind him went around us.  I looked at him, he looked at me.  It was beginning to feel like a show down.  I looked at him, and looked at the train as it departed.  

He then says that I am on the wrong side of the path.  I told him I was already on the stairs to which he responded, “So.”

Here stood a nobody douche-bag of a white man.  He was bald at the crown, wore glasses that gave him beady eyes.  The only thing that was distinctive about him was his mustache, and it wasn’t even a particular kind of mustache.  It stood out because who the hell wears mustaches?  Guys who make porn, or adult white male dweebs.  Well, he wasn’t a porn star, so that meant he was your typical adult white male douche bag who decided at that very moment, he was not going to go around me like everyone else did that was ahead of him on the stairs. 

At this point, I didn’t care if I was running late to work.  I have flex hours…

Then the douche bag was about to lecture me and started off with the words, “In this country…”

I darted my eyes at him, and glared angrily as he continued.  I was now pissed off.  Who the hell did this asshole think he was talking to me in that manner?!  I could feel it, something was about to erupt.

 “Look buddy, I am not a foreigner!  I was born here!  I am an American!  Don’t you dare start off with me about “In this country…”  I don’t speak with an accent!  I was born in this state! In this city!”  And stormed past him down the stairs.

The douche-bag was shocked at my reaction towards him but he quickly regained his adult white male composure especially in light that I basically told him that he was an ignorant white man .  He tried to explain that he wasn’t implying anything racial but I was already down and could care less about him and the stair show down.

The douche-bag was clearly upset by my reaction because he continued to shout after me.  He shouted that I was on the wrong side of the path and that he wasn’t my “buddy”.  He was right about one thing.  He wasn’t my “buddy”, but it was better than me having addressed him as, “you dumb white piece of shit”.


~ by thedailycommuter on Monday, December 1, 2008.

9 Responses to “The morning show down”

  1. As someone who transfers at West 4th everyday, HE is the one who broke etiquette. At that station, everyone breaks the right and left rule on the stairs, b/c everyone is always trying to make their transfer. In fact, I’ve witnessed people go out of their way to use the left side of the stairs to let people make the F or the V.

    The man is a douche.

  2. It’s true, people do step aside so others can make their transfers.

    It was a rough morning, I tell ya and ended up being a very long day. Thank you for your comment! It’s always appreciated. In fact, I am going to add that to my Commuter Etiquette. Thank you again.

  3. Hi Daily Commuter,

    As for the moustache thing, he might have been growing a moustache for Movember, a campaign that gets guys to grow dodgy moustaches in November to raise funds for male specific cancers like testicular or prostate cancer. They have it here in Australia and maybe over there.

    However, the guy was obviously a little turd and a patronising little racist with a small mind. Glad you showed him “what the !!!”

    Just wanted to say that I love your site. Keeps me engaged when I have the late shift at work.
    Keep the posts coming and stay safe. Sometime I should tell you about our third world public transport system here in Sydney

  4. I just found your site and am enjoying reading your take on commuting and life. I wonder why you choose to mention the race of the people you encounter though. Particularly in instances where you find a person to be repugnant, the inclusion of race seems to be used to amplify your disdain.

  5. Rebecca,

    Thank you for your visit and your comment. I guess I should have a general statement explaining the race thing as I do use it to describe people who I encounter.

    I don’t think you can avoid the issues of race, gender, or other types of physical appearances.

    As you may already know, I’m not white and even though I am born American, I am quite aware of how strangers see me, and their attitudes (whether good or bad) towards me reflects that.

    For instance, in the “Morning Show Down” post, the douche-bag started his diatribe with, “In this country…” Would he have started off with those same words if I was a fellow white person? And I’m sure if I were a big black guy, he wouldn’t dare try to start with me about the whole “right of path” issue.

    Also, look at our elected President for 2009. This is the first time in American history where we elected a black President. He’s black. The media has repeated it over and over again. I think race was very important detail in the elections. I voted for Obama, and proud of my vote.

    Race has both positive and negative associations. I get both the up and down sides of being a specific race, as well as a specific gender. I am quite aware of how people see me and I’ll use it to my advantage and certainly will not hesitate to re-educate someone should they be ignorant towards me.

    I hope this provides you with some understanding even if you do not agree. Again, thank you for your comment.

  6. Adrian,
    Thank you for your visit and comment. It’s always great to read encouraging comments like yours especially when coming from the other side of the globe!

    I’ve not heard of the raising awareness of men’s cancer by growing a mustache. I’ll have to look into that.

    I like certain facial hairs and it needs to fit the guy’s face. I kind of like handlebar mustaches but it has to be on the right person. Do you have a ‘stache?

  7. Hi Daily Commuter,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response. I am interested in your view on race and society, and I appreciate you taking the time to explain your views. I am an American as well, but I have spent the last several years living in London, where race is virtually never mentioned in the media. As a result of this I found it a bit jarring reading your posts, but I respect both your views but the way in which you tell your story.

    I know race plays a role in everyone’s life, in both advantageous and detrimental ways, but I do hope the election of Obama (who I also proudly voted for) as president will go some way to unifying the country and helping people to see race as an adjective in someone’s life and not their defining characteristic.

    Again, thank you for taking the time to respond to my comment, and I look forward to reading more of your posts in the future.

  8. Hey DC,

    No stache here at the moment. Doesn’t suit me but used to sport a beard in the winter time when I was in the Navy.

    Yeah MOvember is pretty big down here. Everyone tries to grow the worst staches they can and get sponsored for it. Each capital city has a big party at the end of November. Thousands of guys compete and then they and their poor suffering girlfriends go to the ball and then they get shaved off the next day. Sponsorship money goes to the various cancer research centres.

    A good idea and a good cause.

    Chat soon DC.

    PS: Trying to find time to tell you about my horror story on Sydney’s trains.

  9. Adrian,

    You must share your Sydney train story. Any time you’re ready, feel free to send me a comment and I’ll be happy to post it.

    You know, the whole men’s cancer awareness is not as big here as it is for women’s cancer. We have the pink ribbon (breast cancer), marathons, walk-a-thons. It’s highly publicized.

    But I don’t hear much charitable causes for men’s cancer. Very interesting… I think it’s great that you guys down-under have awareness for men’s cancer.

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