How I Survive Subway Rides

by Marinka on October 26, 2008

Ok, so I already terrorized you with my subway fears, so now I thought I’d make up with some subway joys.  The key to a wonderful subway experience in NYC is to make sure that my friend John is with you.  If you are visiting New York City, he is available to escort you on the subway for a small fee. Lest you think that he is an escort just because I used the word “escort”, however, you are a completely depraved pervert.

Here are the Top Ten Ways That We Make Subway Rides Fun!
1.  Who Would You Have Sex With?
Look at the people sitting across from you.  Going left to right,  number them.  Now, who would you have sex with, death is not an option?  Luckily, at rush hour, the contestants will change at almost every stop, enhancing the fun!    It’s amazing how often both John and I will opt for a woman.
2.  Spot the Al Queada Operative.
Needless to say, this game is fraught with anxiety, and requires participants to  become temporarily politically incorrect.  The good news is that John and I have coded this game to perfection and now when we spot someone suspicious, we ask each other, “do you have your CELL phone with you?”  We pause dramatically at the “CELL” for about three minutes and make meaningful eye contact with each other, to make sure that the MEANING is clear.
3.  We would rather be single forever rather than end up with THAT.
Spotting that special someone on the subway who proves to us that being alone forever is better than spending twenty seconds with THAT.  Usually reserved for metrosexuals, whose eyebrows are tweezed into a hypernatural freak show.  We have no doubt that we feature prominently in other people’s version of this exercise.
4.  Spot the My balls are so big, I take up two seats guy.
I’m afraid that I have to take the credit for this one.  It’s the man who sits with his legs spread so far apart that he literally takes up two seats.   It is very difficult not to say to this individual, “kindly readjust your testicles so that they fit on one seat”.  
John and I had a priceless moment once when a passenger with an ass shaped and sized like two baby elephants glued together at the trunk tried to wriggle into a seat space that is best suited for Barbie’s fetus.  And that’s how John coined one of my favorite terms, “If the ass don’t fit, don’t sit.”   He’s a regular Johnny Cochran!
5.  Avert eyes from the head wound.
Once John and I were seated next to a man who had a hole on the side of his head.  A gaping hole.   This was alarming not only for obvious reasons, but also because through the powers of telepathy John and I were able to communicate to each other that his brains were about to spill out on us and it was making us nauseated.  What really helped our “telepathy” along was John making the “I’m throwing up in my mouth” gagging face at me and my saying “I am going to vomit, let’s move subway cars” to him.
We have also had to avert our eyes from a man who had a scab on his finger that was certainly small pox infected and numerous incidents of facial unpleasantness.
6.  Comment On Insane Buttons.
One day we saw a woman whose entire coat was apparently sponsored by PETA.  She had approximately 10,007 buttons screaming that “meat is murder” and “you wouldn’t wear a coat made out of infants!”  John couldn’t help himself and made comments like, “If I ever become insane and wear buttons on my jacket, arrange to have me shot, ok?”  The great thing about making comments about insane people on the subway is that they usually assume that you’re the insane one and leave you alone.
7.  Who Has Marionette Lines?
Marionette lines are the lines from your nose to your mouth.  With age they deepen and scream for Botox.  John and I like to inspect our fellow passengers for such lines and are always depressed because we have the most pronounced ones.  We may need to visit some nursing homes to feel better about ourselves.  Or perhaps the morgue.
8.  Preggo and Queer
So, I just called John because I couldn’t remember any other games that we played on the subway and he reminded me of Preggo and Queer, which we used to play when I was pregnant (Preggo.  Get it?  If I have to explain Queer, I give up)  We were a crime fighting team, looking out for the safety of our fellow passengers.  “It was about your extra testosterone and my not having any,” he reminded me.
“What the hell are you talking about?” I asked.  “I didn’t have any testosterone.”
“You were a very manly pregnant lady,” John told me.
This is totally untrue, by the way.  But I have to use it because my list is too short without it. 
9. Glamour and Romance Can Be Yours
Whenever someone eats on the subway, this phrase comes to mind. John said it one time when someone wearing a large pair of bedazzled jeans was eating a very large bag of potato chips and licking her fingers. (Finger licking is one degree removed from cannibalism in my book, except less appetizing.) John took one look at her and said “yes, glamour and romance can be yours!”

10.  Who Gets Nauseated First From Motion Sickness
This is usually limited to the bus that we take sometimes, to avoid the fraught with danger subway.  John will show me something on his ipod, which is usually a Bewitched episode and I will tell him that I get carsick if I watch it.  He then accuses me of making it up to avoid watching the video  I will not stand for such an attack on my character.  I will have an Altoid to cut down on my nausea.  He will accuse me of buying the Wintergreen Altoids specifically to spite him and tell me that the smell makes him gag.  I will say, “Fuck you.” and he will say, “you’re a witch and a Russian whore.”  For some reason, usually no one sits next to us.

One year ago ...

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

OHmommy October 26, 2008 at 4:19 pm

Dear God I love your blog. It’s so refreshing and a treat in my reader. For reals.


kia (good enough mama) October 26, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Here’s another for you (we have subways in Toronto, too):

1. Which passenger doesn’t wash his/her hands after taking a dump?

2. Which passenger picks his/her nose and eats it? (For this one, it’s much easier if you actually SEE someone picking and eating)

3. Regarding wardrobe: which passenger is colour blind or completely blind?

4. Who thinks she is a size 4, but is actually more like a 24?

Dayum. I have more, but I can’t think of them right now.


Vodka Mom October 26, 2008 at 5:59 pm

if the ass don’t fit don’t sit. Sweet baby jesus I am laughing so hard right now. ROFLOL.


Mayberry October 26, 2008 at 6:33 pm

I used to run into the “my balls are so big…” guys all the time when I was pregnant. Too bad I didn’t have my own personal queer with me at the time!


the mama bird diaries October 26, 2008 at 6:42 pm

See, now I have an infant coat at home and I just love it.

I will never understand how ANYONE can eat on the god damn subway. Gross man. So gross.


Rhea October 26, 2008 at 6:51 pm

This post is hilarious. LOVE it. We don’t have the subway here in Texas, but I’ve ridden it in New York and D.C. It’s always an experience, that’s for sure. Your game is awesome.


Madge October 26, 2008 at 7:55 pm

freaking hilarious. i heart your blog.


binks October 26, 2008 at 8:15 pm

Hmmmm…. I will have to play the next time I ride the subway.
It will help keep my mind from playing the “which guy is going to shank the tourist today” game.


Melissa October 26, 2008 at 8:17 pm

I used to have a friend like John. Sigh…I miss my “boyfriend”. Gay guys just don’t come out to Stepford. Not even to do hair.


anymommy October 26, 2008 at 8:34 pm

I’m going to pee my pants. From laughing, not like ‘who’s most likely to leave the subway seat wet.’ Also, I so want to move to NYC and just commute with you and John. Not work. Just commute.


Mama Ginger Tree October 26, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Does John have a blog? Does he read your blog?

Is “John” a figment of your imagination?


Kylie w Warszawie October 26, 2008 at 11:54 pm

My husband and have those kinds of conversations. He usually pretends to be psychotic in some way and I play the straight man. But it only works in the States because our Polish isn’t good enough to have smart ass conversations.


jon October 27, 2008 at 1:35 am

I am honored that I got to play #1 with you before during my trips to New York and #5 is why I could never live there!


Renée aka Mekhismom October 27, 2008 at 6:11 am

You are so funny. I can’t believe that man with the hole in his head was not on display somewhere. Seems like he should have been a study for interns or something. And why dear God with all of the germs in the subway would you ride like that?
Oh the adventures of the NYC subway system abound.


Z October 27, 2008 at 6:38 am

Bwahaha! 🙂

My husband usually looks around and then tells me what diseases he thinks everyone has – using the correct medical terminology, of course. I usually glare at him and tell him to shut up. And then stare at the man with the weird growth coming out of his neck that my husband just diagnosed 😉


Heinous October 27, 2008 at 7:01 am

you are too funny. I wish a had a subway to ride now. Or any form of public transportation for that matter. Our town is that small. Perhaps if I walked into a classroom unannounced I cold play along.


Magpie October 27, 2008 at 8:06 am

Here’s what I think. The NYC subway system should hire you to do PR! Just imagine the throngs of newbies down there playing your games.


Manager Mom October 27, 2008 at 8:47 am

Hi Marinka,

I am trying to find your email address but can’t locate it anywhere. if you want to will you send to me at


Kristine October 27, 2008 at 10:20 am

These are games I might be playing from here on out. Even if I never set foot on subway.

We previously just point out the “No ma’am”s – as in people who should be told “no ma’am!” about their wardrobe.

I am nearly convinced that 75% of America just never looks in the mirror.


Maura October 27, 2008 at 12:11 pm

Apparently, I need to get a commute buddy. Because I am not having NEARLY as much fun on the train as you are on the subway.


Heather October 27, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Ok first of all I am laughing so hard that my visiting Mother in law thinks I am looking at porn or something on the internet (had to explain what a blog was). I am laughing because we play 1, 2, 3 and 5 at the airport with my husband – I’ll have to teach him the other ones.

Now I can’t wait to travel or go somewhere public, not allowed out in public to often – to play “Spot the My balls are so big, I take up two seats guy”.


WA October 28, 2008 at 10:10 am

That’s the same game I play during PTA meetings.


Lish October 28, 2008 at 4:58 pm

I JUST KNEW New York was more fun than California. Thank you for proving it.


Anna Lefler October 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Oh, I’m always doing #1. Pretty much all the time.

* sigh *

Yeah. Pretty much all the time.


Smart A$$ Mom November 25, 2008 at 7:04 am

I resign at the funny counter. I give up. You win. Next time I make my jaunt to the City for my eyebrow torture, can you and John escort me through the subway?


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