How to find the perfect seat on Metro-North

You have approximately 8 seconds from the moment you enter a train car to find a good seat. Take more time than that, and every decent spot will be occupied. So what to scan for when assessing which open seat is best? Here’s a checklist of folks to avoid:

  • People talking on cell phones or even holding cell phones (if he didn’t intend to use it, he’d put it away)
  • Riders with food that spills easily (popcorn, beer), comes in an overly crackly bag (potato chips, pretzels), smells (hard-boiled eggs, egg sandwiches, cheap pizza) or is too messy (BBQ wings)
  • Small children with no books or toys to occupy them
  • Small children with toys that screech or squawk (I already know my ABCs and what Mr. Cow says)
  • High school kids who are drinking or have been drinking (no good can come of this!)
  • High school kids who are not reading a textbook or otherwise doing their homework (“Idle hands…”)
  • High school kids not traveling alone (you don’t even know you have an indoor voice til age 18)
  • Teenage boys who don’t look like they’ve showered this week
  • Everyone on St. Patrick’s Day (enough said)
  • Women who look like they probably wear makeup but just haven’t applied it yet (you can’t effectively use a mascara wand without lots of elbow room)
  • People who hold their NYT too close to the seat in front of them (no appreciation for how sensitive the back of your head might be)
  • Groups of more than 8 riders over age 25 (they still think they are in high school)
  • Riders obviously not on their way to work or school (they’ll want to talk to you about sights to see and which neighborhoods are safe)
  • Anyone handing out beer to his buddies
  • People who take off their shoes (this is not a long airplane ride)
  • Riders with cheap, leaky earphones (iPods are only as cool as the earbuds to which their connected)
  • People with dogs that can fit in a pocketbook (we moved out of Brooklyn to avoid rodents. And Paris Hilton? So not-now.)
  • Couples who plop down in a 3-person seat, but leave the middle seat open and talk across it (if he doesn’t want to sit next to her, he really isn’t that into her)
  • Men who adopt the Larry Craig “wide stance” (knees should remain within the width of the seat; this is true everywhere)
  • Bloggers a little too interested in noting your bad behavior

Not an exhaustive list, but a start….

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