The Commuter Threat

Composed on the 23rd of January in the year 2008, at 9:31 PM. It was Wednesday.

For weeks now, I've been trying to think of a way to write about how much certain New York subway commuters piss me off without sounding whiney. No small task. But today, I realized something: these people constitute a threat to our national security, and it is in fact my duty to identify them and assign a colorful threat level to each. I've selected the worst of them and provided a description, along with an explanation of how they threaten free peoples of the world and a palette of hues that best reflect their terrorist intentions.

{Turnstile Searchers}

Description: People who decide that directly in front of a turnstile is the best place to retrieve their metrocard, which they keep in the hidden pocket of their wallet at the bottom of their purse which they tossed underneath their groceries in the third shopping bag they decide to search. During rush hour.

Terrorist Intent: These people are practicing a form of non-aggressive herding. By blocking off a main access point to the city's primary means of transportation, they constrict the flow of traffic, create bottlenecks, and reduce the number of people who might otherwise have escaped the fiery rains of death due in the next few years.

Threat Level: Light Salmon

{Meanderers}

Description: These commuters wander back and forth across the path, not actually lost, but apparently suffering from some kind of directional blind spot, forcing them to triangulate their destination every ten feet by examining it from different perspectives.

Terrorist Intent: They are trying to pick us off one by one, on the theory that the occasional person will get so frustrated trying to get by them, they will lunge too far and land on the tracks in front of a train.

Theat Level: Dark Slate Blue

{Lumberers}

Description: Arms akimbo, stance wide, Lumberers move with a distinct purpose, and they do it slowly, while taking up as much space as possible. Small or large, body size is no handicap to the freakish amount of space these people can occupy.

Terrorist Intent: They are trying to eat up the available ego space, and reduce us all to self-loathing fish, too depressed to fight back. The physical space consumption is merely a byproduct.

Threat Level: Dark Turquoise

{People Who Are Afraid of Stairs}

Description: I'm not sure I can explain this and have anyone who hasn't seen it believe me. This only made sense once I realized they were terrorists. They get to a set of stairs, then stop for a few seconds, looking down with a pensive expression. It's exactly the same reaction a normal person would have if they turned a corner and found themselves faced with a growling police dog. They seem to actually think the stairs are going to bite them.

Terrorist Intent: The sudden traffic blockage this causes ripples back through the commuting crowds, causing mini-strokes in thousands of innocent people.

Threat Level: Orchid

{People Who Sit On Stairs}

Description: These people sit on the stairs. In a subway station. What else can I say.

Terrorist Intent: I don't think these people are terrorists. I think they're just fucking stupid. Or they're trying to pick a fight. I recommend every New York citizen carry a brick around while traveling, so these people can be properly Darwined out of the gene pool.

Threat Level: Bright Fucking Red. Shoot on sight.

{Scientologists}

Description: Once you have your Commuter's Brick, may as well take out a few of these people on your way. I'm not sure how to describe the feeling I get when I'm in the middle of a two train, one bus, hour long commute, and some perky button down mormon mutation asks me if I'm feeling stressed.

Terrorist Intent: In case you've been living under a rock or the influence, these people are a dangerous and insane cult. What would Moses do?

Threat Level: Plum

{Corner Surprises}

Description: Despite probably having a driver's license, these people have forgotten the many lessons about blind corners, thus they think it's okay to hug the wall and shoot around the turns and almost run into people on the other side. It's as if they're playing football and they want to make sure the clock stops so they can look indignant for a few minutes when they get creamed.

Terrorist Intent: Something diabolical, I'm sure.

Threat Level: I dunno... Puce, maybe Teal

{Dashers}

Description: They're late for work. Ok. I understand. They see a surge of people coming up the stairs they're about to go down. They quickly put on a burst of speed, trying to navigate the commuter horde going in the opposite direction without obviously killing anybody. They look so sad and frustrated, but they struggle on nevertheless, to meet their final disappointment at the bottom of the stairs.

I'm going to do some quick math here.

Average time train door stays open: 20 seconds, assuming big crowds.

Average time to descend average set of subways stairs: 13 seconds.
Average time to descend same stairs in front of oncoming traffic, while hurrying frantically: 14 seconds.
Average time for first person off train to get up stairs: 15 seconds.
Time remaining before doors close once the first person becomes visible to the hurrying person: 5 seconds.
Odds hurrying person will make it to train in time: 1/200.
Reason hurrying person made it on the 200th try: The train got delayed and hung out at the station for a extra five minutes, making the hurrying person look like an asshole for pissing off a stairwell full of people for 0 net benefit.

Terrorist Intent: They give hope a bad name.

Threat Level: Indigo

{People Who Shouldn't Live In New York}

Description: If you are constantly offended by the ungracious and rushed hordes of people pressed against you for half an hour everyday, or can't understand the sudden change in etiquette that overcomes them when they are trapped underground in a gritty, badly lit tunnel with trains screeching past at 185 decibels, maybe you should find someplace else to live. If that's not an option, please, please don't tell us how unhappy you are. That kind of behavior is moments away from making us revert to our true forms and savagely tear open your throat so we may better drink your blood.

Terrorist Intent: None. These people just need to be more afraid of us.

Threat Level: Baby Blue

Suicide is painless.

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