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The 30 levels of rage you'll feel while riding the NYC subway

By Sophie Harris
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By Time Out contributors. Edited by Sophie Harris

Who knew that riding the subway could provoke such intense reactions from New Yorkers? Okay, so everyone knew. In the interests of everyone feeling better, we've listed the things that drive us craziest and ranked them from mild to severe. Now we can vent our rage in an orderly, streamlined and efficient fashion. Everything the subway experience is not. Gah!

Annoyance rating: MILD

1. Hearing our fellow rider's music through their headphones.

2. Stepping in something mysterious and sticky.

3. Someone elbowing onto a crowded train and then spending a few stations huffing and puffing that there's no spare seat for them.

4. When a fellow passenger holding onto the pole constantly bumps into your foot, not because the train is moving but because they’re an animated talker. Spatial awareness is important.

5. Someone who thinks their shopping bags deserve a seat of their own.

6. Drunk young people yell-talking.

7. That guy with the giant backpack standing in the doorway as the driver repeatedly tries to close the doors.

8. Being packed in tight enough that it’s a struggle to pull your phone out of your pocket.

9. Germaphobes who refuse to hold the pole and instead go flying around the car bumping into people at every stop.


Annoyance rating: MEDIUM

10. Hearing our fellow rider's music through their headphones playing the first 55 seconds of “Chandelier” over and over.

11. Stepping in something mysterious and squishy.

12. A stranger striking up conversation on a late-night ride and ignoring all cues that you just want to nap/think they are totally creepy.

13. The person who insists on leaning all over the pole (and last remaining patch of space), staring blankly at you while you repeatedly lose your balance.

14. Ass-leaners. If we're at the end of a row, and you’re standing next to us, don’t lean into the railing, thus smooshing your flesh through the gaps between the metal bars. Sure, there’s fabric in between your skin and our face, but your ass is still a degree away.

15. Phantom farters.

16. The fur lining on someone's hood flicking against your eyes or mouth—and there's nowhere to escape.

17. A strange ponytail touching your face.

Annoyance rating: SEVERE

18. Our fellow rider playing some kind of app game/crushing candy/shooting angry birds and the volume is on high AND THEY'RE NOT WEARING HEADPHONES AAARGH.

19. A homophobic preacher shouting his hateful message all the way through your morning commute, effectively ruining your zen and your day.

20. A mariachi band getting on your car during rush hour. You weren’t fully awake yet? You are now!

21. Just squeezing through the closing doors into a car full of roughhousing teens. (Are you allowed to tell a kid to "knock it the fuck off" if no parent/guardian is around?)

22. The commuter couple commuting standing in the middle of a crowded car, not moving in to make space because they’re too busy making out. It’s 8am, people.

23. A man headbanging two inches away from you.

24. Being forced to watch a couple pop each other's pimples a foot away from you. So many different types of wrong here.

25. Sitting next to someone who clearly just bathed themselves in horrible perfume. Bonus points if they douse themselves with it while they’re next to you.

26. Almost getting kicked in the face by an "IT'S SHOWTIME!" dancer.

27. Being repeatedly hit with an oversize bag by someone who clearly does not GAF.

28. People shoving you and others to get a seat.

29. The guy with the speaker and microphone who sees you reading but insists on singing his Russian folk tunes RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. Then follows you when you quietly get up to move.

30. You: alone, at the end of a row. Them: A loud group who bursts onto the train, encircling you where you sit, somehow completely oblivious that they’ve just entrapped you in their party. Some sit next to you, some stay standing, but they’ve made it impossible for you to escape. Their conversation, which you could hear before the doors opened, continues just as loudly, and they're blissfully unaware of the bountiful space in the car, but since you just happened to be sitting closest to the door they came in, you’ve become an unwilling part of their lives. Yes, Joan: That dress was too expensive, and you shouldn’t have put it on your Amex. Please can we go home now?

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