eighty-six: letters to two fellow riders

The expression “jaded New Yorker” exists with good reason. We city dwellers see outrageous things on a daily basis—some too cringe-worthy to mention here (I mean you could be just sitting down to breakfast for all I know). Most days, the ridiculous behavior doesn’t faze me, but today’s antics were just too much! Oh how I wish I had some civilettes for these offenders…

March 28, 2011

To the Gentlemen Clipping His Nails on the 6 Train,

I think you’ll agree with me here, riding the six train during rush hour isn’t the most pleasant way to start your morning. We’re crammed-to-capacity in a mobile petri dish of germs. So I have to ask, why would you ever trim your fingernails here? You didn’t even make an effort to collect the clippings, but let them careen across the train.

I don’t like to pass judgement or make broad generalizations, but your navy blue suit and brown Ferragamo loafers suggest you must have some level of taste. And judging from your smug look, I think you know better. I also think you have it in you to be more courteous to the rest of us. No need to apologize this time, we’ll just chalk it up to a crazy week at the office with no time for a man-icure. But please, please, don’t let it happen again.

Your fellow rider,



To the Gentlemen Watching Porn on a Portable DVD Player,

I very much respect your desire to stay entertained during this forty-minute train ride from New York City to Westchester County. BUT, I find your viewing choice completely inappropriate. Pornography? On a commuter train? Without headphones? That goes against all spoken and non-spoken rider code. I am disgusted and offended. And only wish you weren’t seemingly smart enough to hit the pause button when the conductor came for your ticket. If you ever do this again (which I’m nearly sure you will) I hope you get caught. And punished in a big way.

Your fellow rider,


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