Friday, June 17, 2016

How To Ride The Subway in Toronto

The subway came to Toronto in 1949. We call it the TTC; not the Metro, and not the underground. If you are exclusively riding the streetcar you can call it The Rocket. If you are coming home from the bar then it's called the Vomit Comet. If you are going somewhere you say, "I'll take the TTC". If you someone asks how you are getting home you say "subwayyyy" in a tortured voice. If someone asks if they can your use TTC pass, you say yes (because it's transferable). If that same someone asks why you didn't answer their texts, you say it's because you were on the subway. 

When the train pulls into the station it is essential that you don't stand directly in front of the doors. We will call this, for ease of reference, Rule#1. Standing directly in front of the subway doors prevents those who want to exit - who are currently occupying the space you want to occupy - and confounds the process entirely. 

It's simple psychology. Animals that can not see a way out won't move. Remember that hamster you lost up your butt? Same concept. It's also simple physics. A metal container full of humanity must first be emptied before it can be re-filled with fresh bodies. It can't - and never does - work the opposite way. You can't jam yourself into a loaded coach and then expect people to filter past you. This isn't a coffee machine. 

The correct method of loading on a subway car is lining up at the edge of the doorway - parallel to the car itself!- and entering once everyone has gotten off. When in doubt, repeat the following mantra: "It is logical to let them off". 

Congratulations! You have now successfully boarded a subway car! You are now trapped in a metal cylinder with strangers, speeding through time and space in the dark. You are an astronaut! But give yourself a minute. Because the only thing worse than what I just described is if you are all of those things and elderly /pregnant / you get the idea. Rule#2 is: Look around before you grab that seat.

Use your PRESTO card, asshole.

Hey White Men who are gainfully employed in jobs where they can sit all day! I'm talking to you! You always grab the seat because you are the fucking fastest not because you fucking deserve it. You never ask if someone else wants it. Never. 

Hey young men with your legs spread wide like you have elephantiasis of the scrotum! I'm talking to you! I get that it's a subconscious offer of sexual congress in my direction. I'm vaguely flattered. Now shut it down and close your legs. Because the woman with all those shopping bags needs a seat. 

Super Misogyny: It's cool that her time and purpose is less valuable than the men who work. Who the fuck do you think she is "shopping" for, anyway? 
A family! Because if she was single, she would be working too.

Hey pretty ladies with your gigantic purses staring at your image in the reflective glass! I'm talking to you! Put it on the ground when the carriage is packed. No exceptions. If the purse is too expensive for that, then make better life choices going forward. 

Hey teenagers and workmen with your gigantic backpacks! I'm talking to you! What the actual fuck do you have in there, anyway? The Ministry of Health warns against children carrying that kind of load on their shoulders and grown men should know better. Everyday I watch one of you literally knock over a little old lady - one who was standing because no one offered her a seat - and then mumble a half-hearted apology as you blunder away under your enormous burden like some ancient turtle. Old people are fragile.

Rule #3 corresponds to the correct way to de-train: Look before you leap (off). As the doors close on your second-to-last stop, begin to gently get up and move toward the doors. You have a whole two minutes to complete this task and it will be enough. Pack up your book and begin to stand slowly. This will indicate to those around you that you mean business. Make eye contact to convey your intent. Ensure you are gripping the handrails so you don't go flying when the train careens to a stop. Straighten you clothes BUT REFRAIN FROM DONNING YOUR GIGANTIC BACKPACK. It's still way too early for that shit. 

Now that you are pointed in the right direction, exit peacefully onto the subway platform. Remember how we talked about not blocking the doorways of the subway car? Take a moment to notice the fools who are doing that very thing right now. Annoying, right? Don't be like them.

Don't push past people in a rush at the last minute. 
Don't become irate because people are moving more slowly than you would like. 
Don't breathe down their necks and wriggle like a salmon trying to swim upstream. No one wants you to spawn right now.

Me, reading on the subway.

You are almost at your destination! Just one thing left to do and that is, properly ride the escalator to the surface. Riding the escalator is tough because it's basically stairs that move and I can see how that would be confusing. Theoretically, you just get on it and stand still. That is what it was designed for. After all, one "rides" the escalator, one does not "walk" the escalator. It wasn't designed to help people who could easily use the stairs get to their destination faster. It was designed for the slow people, the people with a lot of bags, or a lot of children or a lot of age, or a lot of weight, or a lot of all of the above. If you are so interested in racing up the stairs, use the ACTUAL stairs, Big Guy, and show us all how it's done! Feel free to show off and hoot a bunch so we know who you are.

It is important to remember when using the escalator that, while "walk left, stand right" is a commonly understood rule of decency, it is not - as some able-bodied assholes would have you believe - a federally mandated municipal bylaw enforced by police and punishable by up to 6 months in prison. The person who is causing the hold up on the escalator is exactly the right person to be using the escalator. YOU are the interloper. So Rule#4 is: "Walk left, stand right - unless that does not suit the situation and then use common decency". People can't make their bodies smaller so you can squeeze by, touching them in an uncalled for manner BTW, and thereby decreasing your commute by a 10th of a second.

Let's recap:
Rule #1: It's logical to let them off. Stand parallel to the carriage.
Rule #2: Look around before you grab that seat.
Rule #3: Look before you leap (off).
Rule #4: Walk left, stand right - unless that does not suit the situation and then use common decency.

This raccoon is offering others his seat because he is Canadian.

You are all set to ride the subway in Toronto. Oh, and don't forget to bring your wallet because it will cost about $10,000 USD per trip. 
Good Luck and Enjoy our fair city!

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