It's cold out there this morning. Crowded, too. Lots of folks are going to work. The subways are crowded. If it is not too much of an imposition, please indulge us as we raise one more item of concern about how we must all behave on mass transit.

At rush hour, New York City subway platforms often grow extremely crowded. New people pour in every minute. Each train takes several minutes (or more) to arrive. A crowd grows. This effect is compounded by the fact that, at many stations, the arriving trains are already almost full. At these stations, during rush hour, only a handful of people, at most, are able to get onto any arriving train car. The rest of the commuters must wait on the platform for the next train, hopeful that it will have a bit more space.

In such situations, as some people on the platform enter each arriving train, the rest of the crowd remaining on the platform slides forward to fill their spots. Specifically—due to the fact that each train stops in the same place—people move towards where the doors are when the train arrives. The closer you are to where the door is when the train stops, the better the chance you have of getting on a crowded train. A space on the platform directly in front of where the subway car door will open is a prime spot.

As such, it is earned by the time you have spent on the god damn subway platform, waiting for trains. Sure, some people are lucky enough to just enter the station and stand right where the door happens to be and get on. But at rush hour, when the platform is crowded, the door-adjacent platform spots are overwhelmingly occupied by people who were unable to get on one or more crowded trains that already passed, and, as their consolation prize, moved closer to where they knew the doors would be opening on the next train. These people have paid their dues. They have suffered the pain of having to wait for full trains to go by. Their reward—minor though it may be—is a better spot on the platform, and better odds of getting on the next train.

Now. Here is what I want to say: don't think you can just waltz into a crowded subway station at rush hour and glide on down to the crowded subway platform full of people who have been waiting and strategically improving their spots over many long minutes and just step into the prime spot where the door will be by saying "excuse me." I don't think so, friend. "Excuse me, mind if I just co-opt this hard-earned piece of subway platform real estate that you have paid for with a level of stress that will likely cause you to suffer a heart attack in early middle age?" Yes. I mind. And no. You are not excused. You can wait like everyone else. THIS IS RUSH HOUR AND REGULAR RULES DO NOT APPLY. If you attempt to unilaterally improve your subway platform position with no greater justification than the fact that you said "Excuse me" and flashed that shit-eating smile of yours, your safety cannot be guaranteed.

You know who you are. Motherfucker.

Stay warm out there today, folks.

[Photo: Flickr]