Commuting adventures between Tacoma and Seattle.

Category: Train Etiquette

I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and I’ll…Just Need to Sit Down Here a Moment

Remember the old codger who plopped down between me and The Fonz and ended up knocking The Fonz onto the floor?  Well, he found himself a seat this morning without forcibly displacing any other riders; Lebeau won’t like it, though.  Getting to this seat was a bit of an adventure for the guy; I remember it as if it were a meal ago…


Perfectly normal. Nothing to see here.

I’m standing there playing Words With Friends while waiting for the train, The Scarecrow wandering feverishly and randomly around the train platform, when I hear some labored breathing approaching.  I didn’t look up, assuming it was probably just The Scarecrow doing his morning calisthenics, or masturbating, or both.  As the breathing gets closer, it really sounds like the “breather” is in distress.  I look up and see that same old codger from before, wobbling down the platform, bent over about 30 degrees struggling to make it over to where I’m standing.


Poor-Man’s John Wayne

He’s hugging the wall of the Freighthouse, hobbling along like William Boyd in Hopalong Cassidy, reaches out for a railing, then leans on it casually while trying to catch his breath as if to say, “What? I’m just standing here leaning on this rail like a goddamn boss.”  It was all he could do to get from the door to this spot on the platform–about 30 yards–and he sounded like he had just run the sprint of his life.  Standing there leaning on the railing was too much for him, so he ended up sitting down on a curb.  Was he going to pass out?  Man, who could tell?

At about this time the train pulls up, and this guy works for Sound Transit counting passengers, so he’s got to get his ass up and over the the doors.  I instinctively step aboard when the doors open, sit down, and pull out my laptop.  I look up: oh my god he made it!  The old codger covered the 15 yards between his seat on the curb and the doors of the train, but it sounded like it nearly killed him to do so.

He dumps himself into Lebeau’s seat and spreads himself out across the two seats in that space–he really needs a rest.  If anyone needs the extra room, it’s this guy, but he comes off completely oblivious to the people around him who have nowhere to sit, just like last time when he was sitting where the bikes go, and when his ass shoved The Fonz out of his spot.  This old dude should probably have a handicap parking sticker on the back of his Sound Transit ID badge to let people know how lucky they are not to be performing CPR on him right now.




Ahhhhhhh. That’s better. Gotta let the piggies out for a little air every once in a while, ya’ know?

Not sure what’s worse: being barefoot on the train, or being somewhere on the train where someone was previously barefoot.


Trust Issues


I think it will be OK. I’ll just be a second.

Señor Botas is back (sans botas), and he has locked his bike to one of the handrails near the door.  When he got on the train, there was an old dude sitting in the spot where the bikes go; I think the old dude works for Sound Transit counting passengers on the train, or something.  Anyway, old dude won’t make way for the bike, so bike gets locked to a hand rail.  Kind of reminds me of this episode of Bert & Ernie.

No sooner than Señor Botas locked up his bike, he heads over to take a seat next to the old dude–right where his bike should be.  Seconds later, the train stops and another regular bike-folk gets on with her bike (she is a-ok, not a douche at all).  She’s probably 20 years old, a little sassy and adorable, and usually wears a lot of pink and white (and a little green) to match her pink and white bike.  She comes right up to the old dude (and Señor Botas, who is now sitting next to the old dude in the place where his bike should be) and says LOUDLY, “This space is for bikes!”

Señor Botas and the old dude reluctantly get up and make way for her to properly stow her bike.  Pretty awesome, except now Señor Botas is standing in front of me, guarding his priceless bike (girl’s bike frame, BTW), still locked to the pole, and bumping his stinky backpack up against my laptop screen.  Old dude proceeds to amble up to The Fonz and me.  “Can I squeeze in here between you two?”


Make way! Precious cargo.

“You can try,” I said.

“I don’t want to mess up your computer there,” he says to me as he makes his final approach.

Queue sound of forklift backing up….and, we have touchdown.  The Fonz is immediately displaced by the old dude’s giant ass.  The Fonz responds with a loud “Jesus Christ!” then gets up and stands for the rest of the trip.  Good times.  Wish you were here.

Sweet Talkin’ Cheek-to-Cheek


The king of No. 2.

Our friend, Loogie Hocking Zombie, knows how to charm a woman.  Maybe he’ll include these techniques in the book he is writing.  I had no idea the path to Momma Lovell’s heart passed through a Honey Bucket…and just her luck, LHZ knows a lot about Honey Bucket, the company, and every intimate detail about how they are cleaned, who cleans them, etc…  This conversation topic is apparently so successful for him that he’s also using it on Grandma Munster (who, for some reason keeps trying to shift the conversation onto another subject).

In the event you’ve been trying to find a way into the sanitation arts as a career path, you’ll be well advised to marry into the business.  Not just anyone can hose out a portable toilet.


Plenty of room; I didn’t even notice you were there.

AND THEN…we have an update on the situation with Louis Lebeau and yesterday’s usurping of his seat.  Once more, Momma Lovells’ travel partner took a load off where Lebeau normally sits, but today he stood his ground and carefully backed his Nazi-resisting butt right into the remaining tight parking place next to this interloper.  It was kind of funny to watch as he backed-in, butt sticking out, one cheek rubbing up against the partition wall, the other squeezing past his neighbor–a tight fit for sure, but Lebeau will not be deterred.  Interestingly, his neighbor didn’t stir from her pretending-to-be-asleep act, and now they’re both sitting there, cuddled up like a momma penguin and her chick, napping and pretending like the other isn’t there.

Wide Loads and Conspiracy Theories

Loogie Hocking Zombie and Momma Lovell are discussing the prospect that Louis Lebeau is an FBI agent.  They’re pretty certain about it, and they are unimpressed with him sleeping on the train when he should be vigilantly protecting himself and the rest of us from a Terrorist Act.

I’ve learned two things about the FBI this morning as a result of LHZ and ML discussing Agent Lebeau.  First, FBI agents are supposed to take a different route to work every day.  “Agent” Lebeau is making a terrible mistake by riding in the same train, and snoozing in the same seat every morning.  This is an important safety behavior so the Russian spies don’t ambush him some day on his way into the office.  An interesting thought since he apparently didn’t notice The Evil Nazi standing right in front of him last week.  Sounds like vanpools are verboten at Quantico.

Second, LHZ and ML are equally concerned about their own safety against Russian spies, or Terrorists, because they take a different route to work every day.  (I’m still scratching my head on this one, since these two are on the same train as Agent Lebeau, and the rest, of us each morning.)  This might explain LHZ’s aimless pacing on the train platform: it’s definitely harder to hit a moving target.  Stay away from the cans, Mr. Zombie!  The terrorists hate cans!



Not every pair of sweatpants should have “Love Pink” printed on the butt.

So, Lebeau gets on the train and Momma Lovell’s commuting partner is sitting in his spot.  He turns to take his usual seat, and he finds his spot is occluded by about 33% of someone else’s butt-cheek.  He pauses for a moment, and you can see the cognitive discord flash through his brain:

Alright, here’s the train, and I’m all ready to get on and sit down here in my favori….What?? What’s this?  My seat is so much smaller than I remember it from yesterday.  [looking around] Am I in the right place?  What’s going on here?  Weird.  Well, I’ll just sit here anyw…Huh?  What?? Who is that?  Hey!  Someone is in my seat!  What am I going to do!?!?  Where do I go?  How will I survive?  Who is this person?  I know, I’ve seen her before, sitting right… OVER… THERE!  The nerve of some people!  Well, two can play at this game.  I’m going to just take her seat and see how she likes it.  That’ll show her who’s boss.

I’m very interested to see how tomorrow plays out with Lebeau and Momma Lovell’s travel partner.  Will she go back to her usual spot?  Will Lebeau need to adapt to a new routine (which he should be doing anyway, according to FBI regulations)?  So many questions.

Note: Once Momma Lovell’s travel partner left the train in Tukwila, Agent Lebeau IMMEDIATELY took his usual seat.  No hesitation.  A true leader.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Señor Botas?

The guy with the fancy new hazmat booties is back, but without the booties; makes me a little sad.  He’s clearly Hispanic.  Today he is standing right in front of me, facing me, talking loudly on the phone with someone who can’t hear very well.  He’s literally–literally–shouting into his phone trying to spell something for the person on the other end.  It’s like he’s yelling at me.


This photo must have made Robert Downey, Sr. so proud.

“Eme!  Eme!  No!!  Eme!  Say!  No!  Eme!!!  Say!  Day!  Day!!!  Hey.  No!  Jesus Christ!  EME!!!  Ok.  Say, day, airrrrrrrrrrray.  Punto.  SAY!!”

I think he’s trying to give someone an e-mail address.  That “someone” is on a T-Mobile phone, in Ecuador, standing in the middle of a busy market, a mariachi band is playing, a 727 is flying overhead, a car bomb has just exploded, and that person is holding their phone upside-down.  There’s a time and place for everything.  Here and now is literally–literally–screaming for the phonetic alphabet (or a txt message).

Señor Botas is the spitting image of an unshaven, nicely tanned, Mexican Robert Downey Jr. wearing a bike helmet and backpack.  Dude is LOUD, but smells OK.

Bag Draggers

People on the 1502 really have perfected the art of laziness.  Perhaps the most annoying display of laziness is the person who can’t bear to carry their freaking airline carry-on bag from the door of the train to the foot of the stairway, up and out of the station.  It’s about 50 feet to walk, in the middle of a swirling mass of other hurried commuters mind you, and to some people that seems like the best time to suddenly stop walking…usually at the narrowest point along the path or right in the middle of the train’s exit door…then drop their bag, extend the handle, readjust all of the other crap that they brought with them on their journey to the Alaskan gold fields, and walk the 50 feet to the stairs (now taking up twice as much room on the walkway with their ridiculous airline grade luggage dragging along beside them).  Upon reaching the stairs they stop again, lower the handle, pick up the bag, again rearrange their load and eventually proceed to climb the stairs like Quasimodo, just far enough away from the railing that nobody can get by on that side, but not close enough to actually use the railing to steady their ascent which is almost always a wobbly and precarious scramble to the top.

For the love of all things holy, just carry the f’ing thing you lazy piece of s#!t.  And why are you packed like Edmund Hillary in the first place?  Really?  For a day at work?  Nobody should need sherpas, two base camps, and an advance team to get from the train to the top of the stairs.  If you’re slow and lazy, just wait for the path to clear before you do your thing.  There is no point in doing the equivalent of driving 40mph in the left lane on the freeway during rush hour.

In related news: people wearing overstuffed backpacks, people coming down the stairs (probably carrying a bike) while 1,000 people are trying to go up, people who get on the elevator before letting everyone else off, and people who stand in the way of train passengers trying to get on or off the train.  All of you need to be punched in the face.