Keep your hands on the pole and not on your neighbor’s ass, bucko.
Charlie — that button-eyed, lopsided-grinning, porkpie-hat-wearing mascot of the MBTA — isn’t exactly an accurate pictorial representation of the majority of T riders. In fact, we’ve long thought one of the reasons Charlie looks so damn delighted (there’s something diabolical in that pointed wink) is because he pumps himself full of sedatives prior to a punishing day spent inside our subway tunnels.
There are times when we wish we could do the same. Lumbering delays, a stop on every corner on the B trains and none in Inman Square, and an infuriating inability to handle bad weather are among our many complaints about our ancient mass-transport system. But we’ve long resigned ourselves to that. What really puts us over the edge is the conduct of our fellow riders, and it’s recently gone beyond a run-of-the-mill ignorance of common courtesy. Because of several T assaults, flashings, and molestations, the MBTA just launched a public-service campaign to warn people that they’re being “watched,” and to encourage potential victims to file reports.
No surprise, then, that one person’s peaceful commute on the T is another person’s journey to the gaping maw of Hell. But we are romantic idealists at heart, and even at our most hopeless moments — ever tried attempting to enter the Kenmore station right before a Sox home game? — we believe the impossible is possible. Herein, a well-meant manual to encourage civility and etiquette on the T. When in doubt about whether to expose your private bits to the next throng of anonymous commuters, stop, breathe, refer to this handy cheat-sheet, and calmly ask yourself: what would Emily Post do? Right: keep that trench coat buttoned, pally.
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