“Excuse me!”

I travel to work on the Long Island Rail Road and I tend to notice interesting bits of behaviour. One behaviour in particular is the inability of passengers to say, “Excuse me” when they want to exit a row.

The typical train has 5 seats in a row – three on one side of the aisle and two on the other  – there isn’t enough space to pass the person sitting in the aisle seat without first asking them to move.

So, how do they indicate that they need to exit? Well, it’s really simple … they start to fidget. They gather their things and angle their bodies and there is this expected agreement that this fidgeting means they want to exit. This reminded me so much of a post on “She’s not from Yorkshire1” that, one day, when I was in a particularly mischievous mood, I decided to see what would happen if I ignored the “I need to leave” cues.

We were waiting to pull into the station at Jamaica – a big transfer station – when the lady next to me started to gather her things and angle her body. I wasn’t listening to music, only reading a book, and I decided to be conveniently engrossed in the paragraph that I was reading. This wasn’t difficult, the book was a good one2, and I was at a good part. It took her a moment to realise that I was missing her cues, but she finally said, “Excuse me!” and so I said, “Sure!” and got up.

Thankfully she was nice about it3. I just find it interesting, wouldn’t it be easier – and quicker – to say, “Excuse me!” than to fidget and wait for the person next to you to notice?

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1 They do that in NYC as well!
2 I was reading The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
3 I was lucky to get a decent person, not all people are decent and not all people will react politely. Basically, this is a disclaimer saying, “Reactions may vary, so observe with wisdom”.

Mondays are made of this …

I was minding my own business, sipping on my very caffeinated drink, contemplating important life decisions – should I take the train that stops 8 blocks away from the office, or one? – and generally minding my own Monday Morning business when a voice calls out, “EXCUSE ME!” and a woman tries – unsuccessfully – to push me out of the way, rushing in front of me to get down the stairs.

I stopped to allow her to go, I figured someone in such a hurry must either be running away from something, or running to something. Since it didn’t look like she was running away from anything, it might just be best to let her run to whatever she was in a hurry to get to and save myself some coffee stains.

I think she realised how rude she was being so she said I should go ahead, except, she didn’t say this politely, it was more along the lines of “No, no, go, go, go, go, go!” with each go getting louder and more urgent.

Figuring she really needed to go I indicated again that she should go ahead of me.

“Just go, I’m going to be late for work!” she said.

So, I went, taking the stairs one at a time, making a point to take my time and savor each of the 12 stairs. I familiarized myself with them, possibly naming a few of them along the way, as opposed to my usual morning stair-skipping trot.

As I smiled to myself the thought came to me, this is why I don’t like interacting with people. Now, I’m a story in this woman’s life. She’s going to go into work, grumpy and complaining about the girl in the yellow skirt who took her time down the stairs. She’ll tell her friends how I refused to go, even though she told me to go ahead in front of her and they will all shake their heads at my delinquency.

Of course, this is all in my head and by the time she gets to her destination she’d have forgotten all about me. But, just in case, here’s to all the ladies-in-a-hurry. Next time you want to push someone aside, just go ahead of them, or they might write a blog post about you.

The day the internet goes dark

Wordpress.com's front page

Today, a lot of sites will be “going dark” in protest against SOPA and PIPA. (these can be viewed on Wikipedia, even though the rest of the site is on blackout)

Wikipedia's redirect page

I am fascinated with the way social media has created an avenue for protest and will be following this to see where it goes. A lot of user generated social sites will be affected if these bills get passed and I wonder what the world will be like without sites like YouTube, or Etsy or Flickr.

Google stands up to SOPA and PIPA

What are your thoughts on these bills?

Irene

We got off pretty easy. Irene swept through the neighbourhood and the damage was mostly power outages.

outages across Long Island

Which is not such a big deal compared to the 25 (last count I heard) lives lost or the houses flooded or the roads lost.

  

My main inconvenience is no internet, which, a drive to the closets Starbucks and a wait around for a plug solves. The trains were down so there was no way to commute to the city. Otherwise, everything was pretty normal.

I don’t know when my electricity will come back on, but every time I want to complain I think of those who were hit worse and I stop myself.

Sometimes my privileged self is pretty annoying.