Funny, But Not Funny: Things to Remember to Keep Your Expo Ride Courteous

It was a busy Monday morning for the Expo line. When the train rolled up to the Culver City station, the compact cars were fairly flush with anxious commuters and excited tourists; standing room only, unfortunately for me, as I unwittingly chose this day to wear my higher-than-usual heels.  But I wasn’t phased; when you’ve lived on the East Coast, you learn to take the occasional armpit to the face or other types or personal space invasion in stride. Happily, standing room only on our Expo line has thus been a much more positive experience, people give apologetic looks when forced to squeeze in next to you instead of dirty glances.  Also, our cars are clean and odor-free, a luxury to anyone who has experienced the horrors that busy Boston or New York City train and subway cars can be.  In short, riding our Expo is pretty great, even when it’s standing room only!

Untitled design (19)A few stops later, a cherub faced 20-something joined our merry Monday morning commute towards downtown Santa Monica.  He was wearing a backpack…with a fishing pole in it.  While he had clearly taken the liberty of dissembling the pole down into 2 smaller pieces, the pieces were still large and pointy enough to send surrounding commuters ducking and swaying away each time he obliviously turned to glance out of the window or step aside for those exiting or entering the car.

Luckily, while I was close enough to witness the incident, I wasn’t within reach of said fishing pole.  While staring in disbelief, I noticed that a few stealthy passengers were actually taking video and photo of the young man who was blissfully ignorant of how uncomfortable he was making those around him.

It’s fairly safe to presume that if this had happened on the East Coast, it would have taken all of 30 seconds for someone to scold this young man for not simply taking his backpack off before he poked somebodies eye out.  But for the most part, we here on the West Coast, specifically when you get closer to the ocean, tend to be less confrontational and much more chill or passive, myself included.

So, for the commuters who almost got their eyes poked, and for the young man who most likely did not intend to cause such sudo-panic, here are a few of the most important things to remember when riding the EXPO!

This is not your living room so do not presume that your need for comfort is greater than the needs of those around you.  That said, no, you should not “manspread” or sit with your legs taking up half of the aisle and you certainly shouldn’t prop your feet up on the chair next to or across from you.  On your way home from a successful shopping excursion? If the car is crowded or becoming crowded, hold bags on your lap or tuck them under your chair instead of taking up additional seating with them.

This is not your bathroom so except for the occasional makeup application (which actually isn’t really safe to do on a crowded or moving car), please do not groom yourself around everyone.  This means not spraying perfume or cologne, plucking your eyebrows (or nose!) or clipping or polishing your fingernails or toenails.  And obviously, it should go without saying, should you feel the all-to-human need to pass gas, for the love of everything ever, hold it until you are off of the train.

This is not your bedroom so while leaning your head against the wall or window to rest is acceptable, please, as tempting as it may be when you’re tired, don’t stretch out over your row of seats is inconsiderate and falling asleep completely may lead to a, possibly hilarious, but also very uncomfortable situation…and that’s only the best case scenario that the person you nod off next to has a good sense of humor.  Untitled design (18)

This is not your kitchen so unless you are snacking on something that isn’t messy or smelly, please don’t feel free to chow down.  Running late to a potluck? It’s still no excuse to prepare your food while you are riding the Expo and is pretty unsanitary too.  Inadvertent messes and odors are caused these ways and can quickly turn a pleasant commuting experience into a terrible one.

In short, this is a shared space, not your private home, so please avoid doing things that make your fellow commuters uncomfortable as riding in close quarters with total strangers can already be a bit daunting.  This includes:

  • Not talking loudly on your phone.
  • Don’t play music or watch videos on your mobile device without earplugs.
  • Not making aggressive public displays of affection with your significant other.
  • Be aware of when your personal property takes up unnecessary space or may pose a physical nuisance to others (ahem, fishing pole!) and be proactive about it.  For instance, if you’re carrying a long
    object, make like an architect and turn it vertically instead of horizontal so that it takes up less space.
  • Wearing a backpack? Take it off when the car is crowded and hold it in your hands in front of you or place it on your lap.
  • If you are seated and able bodied and an elderly person or someone who is not able bodied is not seated, please offer them your seat.