A How-To Guide on Public Transportation

I have the absolute pleasure of riding the oldest public transportation system in the country regularly.  In all seriousness, it generally gets me to and from work relatively unscathed, and I save the $35+ per day that I would spend parking downtown.  Nonetheless, my 4 years of weekday rides has given me some insight into what you should and should not do to make your trip on the subway successful.  Take this as light-hearted.  I promise that I’m not as bitter as this post may make me seem :)

DO have the proper stance.  Stability is key when you don’t want to make physical contact with the creepy stranger next to you.  I have found that standing with my feet shoulder width apart and my body parallel to the direction of the train allows for ultimate balance.  I generally don’t even need to touch the yucky hand poles or those weird rubber straps.

DO remain aware of your personal belongings.  This is two-fold.  It’s important to keep your eye on your stuff so that no sticky fingers get into your purse.  It’s also important to realize that your giant backpack is inconveniencing everyone around you.  If your backpack turns you into a Ninja Turtle-sized obstacle, please take it off and put it at your feet.  You won’t keep bumping the person behind you, and people in the middle of the train can pass you as they exit.

DO give up your seat for old people / pregnant women / people with crutches / anyone who looks like they need to sit down more than you do.  And don’t play the “oh, I was so engrossed in my Kindle or phone that I didn’t notice the 80 year old lady standing in front of me” game.  I see what you’re doing, buddy, and it isn’t becoming.  The 10 minutes of standing won’t kill you.

DO try to have a general idea of where you are going and what train line will get you there if you aren’t a train regular.  There are several online tools and apps that allow you to plan your trip, tell you what lines to take, where to change trains, etc.  If you are confused, ask someone on the platform before you get on the train.  Most of the time, someone will give you the right answer.  Most of the time…

DO step off the train if you are blocking the door.  If not, you are just creating a bottleneck, and I have been known to put my shoulder into it when I can’t exit the train.

DON’T eat McDonald’s.  It just makes me want McDonald’s, and I end up hating myself for getting a 6-piece nugget on the drive home.  Actually, don’t eat in general.  No one wants to watch you chew with your mouth open.

DON’T listen to music on your phone/iPod sans headphones.  Or with headphones loudly enough for me to hear.  It really blows up your spot when you are rocking out to “Baby” by Justin Bieber.

DON’T have a full blown conversation on your cell phone.  We are all trapped in a small, confined area.  I don’t need to know about your recent bunion procedure, your daughter’s dead-beat boyfriend, or what you are making for dinner.

I think this might be enough for one day.  I could come up with these little tips and tricks all day long, but I don’t want to overwhelm anyone :)

*Kim

Scrooge McKim

One unfortunate part of growing up is learning that Santa is doesn’t exist.  There is no man in a big red suit flying around in a sleigh tossing gifts down your chimney.  Instead, it’s your parents/family listening to you whine while you pour over the Sears Wish Book, dog-earring the pages of the 700 toys that you want.  Key word: want.

This year, stores like Walmart and Target were open on Thanksgiving in many places to get a jump start on the holiday shopping season. Really?  REALLY?! I don’t know about you, but on Thanksgiving, I want to stuff myself full of turkey and spend the day on the couch pretending to care about football with my husband.  If I were a Walmart or Target employee, I’d want to be doing the same thing.  I would not want to have to cut my time with my family short to watch people trample each other for flat screen TVs.  I made the mistake of going shopping on Black Friday one time.  Never. Again.

And then there’s Christmas.  Christmas, to me, is trimming the tree while listening to Michael Buble sing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.”  It’s about driving around and looking at lights, sipping hot cocoa, and hoping that it will snow just enough for a white Christmas, but not enough for me to start swearing while I clear three feet of snow off my car.  It’s about spending time with family and friends and just enjoying each other’s company.  I guess the presents are a bonus, but should not be the center of the holiday.  Nonetheless, we’ve made the gifts #1, with everything else a distant second.  Don’t get me wrong, I love buying gifts for people.  I just don’t like being told what I need to buy and when I need to buy it to have a successful holiday season.  Holiday shopping is stressful.  There is always that inner dialogue you have with yourself when buying gifts.  “Is this too much?  Not enough?  Do they even want this?  Crap, what if (insert random name here) buys me a gift and I don’t get him one?”  It ends up being more stressful than fun, and everyone is just glad that it’s over on December 26th.

Do we even remember the true meaning of Christmas?  Somewhere between Baby Jesus lying in a manger and today, something was lost in translation.

Let’s make a deal.  If we usually exchange gifts on Christmas, let’s skip it.  Instead, let’s hang out once this holiday hoopla dies down.  Better yet, let’s go out for a nice dinner, get a couple of drinks, and laugh as we watch other people schlep around 10 shopping bags filled with stuff that people with probably return anyway.  I want to spend time with you more than I need another scarf.  Comprende?

*Kim