Thursday, December 07, 2006

An Open Letter To New Light Rail Riders

This is an open letter to new Light Rail riders in Denver. Welcome and happy riding! I offer you this, a who's who of the many different types of typical Light Rail riders. For extra fun, use as a check list to mark off each rider you see.

The Cell Phone Talker speaks at a volume that could be heard in a jet engine test room. Usually has a buffoonish or shrill, valley girl voice.

The Kissers can be standing in the middle of the car, or, more horribly, in the seat across. These hickey-splattered folks go at it like they are not actually on a crowded train, but at a rave. Don't look at them directly, or you will get busted and feel like a perv.

The First Timer sits in the seat across from you and looks around uncomfortably, obviously expecting conversation and social niceties due to the close, vis-à-vis seating arrangements.

The Elbower sits down and immediately flares out their elbows in a silent yet brutal battle for elbow room supremacy. Are typically readers of large books or newspapers, but can also be stingy nonreaders.

The Kicker is somewhat rare. Usually aged under five, these little guys sit in the seat across and kick you in the knee if you're lucky or crotch if you're not with their short yet powerful, pendulum-like legs. Always with a parent who doesn't notice.

The Hopeless Single Man must be observed repeatedly to be seen in action, but it's worth it. HSM will unabashedly begin talking to any female that sits in his area, usually about boring crap like comparing this train system to the one in Othercity, USA. Will look downcast when he is ignored or his prey gets up to find another seat. Bonus: witnessing one woman leave and another hapless woman sit in the exact spot to be harassed equally.

The Outer Sitter, in direct defiance of the unspoken rules of the train, sits not on the inside of the seat but the outside, making another passenger step over them to get to the other half of the seat.

The Faller is very rare. The train stairwell is steep with narrow stairs, and infrequently someone will fall down them. Help them up or you'll feel bad about it all day.

The Fry Bearer carries a greasy bag of delicious smelling McDonald's onboard during the evening rush hour, torturing hungry, tired workers. May be malicious or just inconsiderate.

The Lap Sitter is the most feared rider of all: dominant personality types who sit down next to you not only on the seat but on most of your immediate lap as well in a wordless gesture of “move over pipsqueak.” It doesn’t matter that you were already over as far as possible, being the exemplary Light Rail rider and all.

Several things have to happen to observe the Leaner in action. All front facing seating in the immediate area must be taken, forcing this subject into a seat with their back to the front of the train. Timing is also important--they have to be in the process of sitting down (and, most importantly, leaning forward) at the precise moment the train begins to move, pitching them forward into the face (or lap) of the person seated across. Don't get frustrated when all the required steps don't always line up: observing these fellows takes patience, and a little luck.

The Tweaker sits next to you and drums their knee up and down several hundred times per minute, sometimes against your leg. Also frequently shifts their seated position. Attempts to read or ponder anything while sitting next to a Tweaker are futile.

Other, more self explanatory riders who didn't make the above list include the Proselytizer, the Gawker, the Cusser, the Groomer, the Bleeder, and the Close Cougher.