Public transportation is a convenient way to get around most major cities and the subway is what makes the really big cities livable in the modern age. However, there are hazards to consider when riding the rails and there will be times when you are confronted with a situation that you might not know how to deal with. I’m here to offer helpful advice on how to avoid disaster in five of the most common dangerous situations. They include diagrams of key avoidance areas (represented by a white field emanating from a black dot) and text on how to handle them.
This one’s bark is worse than it’s bite, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of a vicious stabbing incident. If you let them argue with whatever invisible demon directly in front of them, you should be alright. But get between them and their full blown craziness and you might find yourself getting spit on, eyeballed and even bitten. The best case scenario is that you and most of the people on the train think that they are yelling at you. They aren’t existing in your reality so don’t bother to try and exist in theirs. There will be a time for them to calmly engage the real world again and this is not it. I’ve routinely seen people having arguments with ghosts and once heard someone claim that “Abe Lincoln was a black robot lesbian” and then follow it up with a string of angry cursing. You have no idea how much I wanted to be a part of that conversation, but there was just no way he was having it with me. That statement was reserved for the burning giraffe breastfeeding thousands of spiders that also happened to be tenured at Yale. I can’t even begin to compete with that. I had a schizophrenic friend once and no matter how much you connect with them in your world, their other reality will eventually merge with yours and the end result can be pretty unpleasant.
The door opens, someone walks through and then you hear it, “Excuse me, ladies and gentleman.” Most people tune out at this point but, if you listen in, you might hear a pretty good story about someone’s mom having asthma or a mental illness you were previously unaware of. The good news is that this is usually the easiest subway hazard to avoid. Standing out of the center isle as they pass through the car is usually enough but you might have to make brief eye contact. If the story is good enough and they’re not a repeat on my train I usually give a little change but you’re not obligated to do the same. They’ll probably make enough money to dine out somewhere nice that week and still make rent.
Some of the most dangerous elements on the subway are also the most difficult to spot, and this is one that can go completely undetected until you get a lap full of someone’s dinner from two hours ago. While usually a lone male, it could just as easily be a woman or a whole group sitting in wait as the inevitable draws ever closer. Notice the slow deep breaths, swaying motion and look of utter defeat. Heed these warnings because it might be all that you get. If you notice any of these signs, immediately sit at least three seats away to avoid spray. Sometimes the passenger in question may try to communicate with god by whispering his name. This is a countdown and you will not want to be around when they finally blastoff. It is, however, recommended that you stay on the car to enjoy the potential show that could just be waiting just at the next bit of rough track. If you find yourself in the midst of an incident and are unable to escape the full fury of their internal evacuation, take advantage of the handrails along the top of the train. You can safely pull yourself along most of the car without having to touch the floor. Although if the person seems to covering their face and crying, you can relax because all is clear. That’s how they signal that they have finished.
Alone they pose no threat, but combine them into groups of three or more and one of them will start doing pull-ups and shouting while the others exchange made up stories about girls they’ve had sex with. If, for whatever reason, there is a young woman with them, one of them will seem to be holding her against her will. Sometimes they will even try and force her to kiss them and she will struggle and complain. Every fiber of your being will tell you to save this poor defenseless girl but you must not do this. Each time I’ve spoken up on behalf of this girl, she has told me to mind my own business or the group began to threaten me with physical violence. The peer pressure to appear tough makes them extremely aggressive and they will be more than willing to cut you with their dad’s knife to impress their friends. If you’ve attempted to help the girl or told them to stop cursing and laughing so loudly and find yourself about to get your head kicked in, back off casually and do not show fear. Act like you’re getting off, go to another car and wait until you can follow one of them. Follow them all the way home and tell their parents or, if you’re pressed for time, just follow them part way home and then beat them within an inch of their life. I can also not recommend taking an ear or one of their teeth as a trophy highly enough.
At one point this used to be a fully functioning human being but cruel fate has twisted them into their current state. Now that they are on the streets, normal societal rules do not apply to them so their behavior might seem strange to the layman. This includes the smells that they give off. Average people might find this unappealing but it serves a strictly functional purpose as a signal to anyone that might disturb them while they sleep to stay away. “Normal urine” has the ability to stink up a bar bathroom a moderate amount but the stink of derelict urine is several times more concentrated than that of a cat. Even a few drops would be enough to disorient every single person inside of a space the size of a football field. If possible, do not share the same car with a sleeping bum fermented in his own piss. However, if you do find yourself trapped near one, take small short breaths through your mouth while covering your face and get off at the next stop. Like radioactivity, a small dosage isn’t dangerous but prolonged exposure can cause you to lose teeth and hair or even be fatal. Not every bum sleeping on the train is going to smell but, when the whole world is your toilet, the potential for them to drop their pants and just go is still substantially higher than that of any other type of human. Steer clear unless they seemed bright eyed, happy looking and alert.