Because morning commutes aren't bad enough.
Relief Line is your not-so-serious glance at the city we love.
As all Torontonians know the TTC does its best to bring a touch of misery to our commutes every day. The delays, the overcrowded vehicles and the temporary closures of entire subway lines, all combine to provide a uniquely painful experience. The downside is that amidst all that institutionally generated suffering it can be hard for a single individual to stand out as especially awful. Still, against all odds, some particularly selfish and insufferable commuters manage to step up and make a ride on the TTC an even more unbearable experience than it already has to be.
This is how you can become one of them.
Before we begin, it must be said that mastering the subtle etiquette required to becoming a completely selfish and insufferable TTC commuter is not for everyone. Sure, you might feel a little grumpy around strangers before your morning coffee, but do you have the total lack of common decency that it takes to ruin the commute for dozens, even hundreds, of Torontonians? If your answer is, “No, of course not!” then this article probably isn’t for you. If, on the other hand, you are currently wearing t-shirt that says, “Everyone is Entitled to My Opinion!” and thought my use of the word etiquette was “super gay,” then you’re probably in the right place.
So where to start? Well, you should be working to irritate and annoy fellow commuters as soon as you step on board a TTC vehicle. A popular choice is to run full steam into a wall of people, right as the doors close, and then passively aggressively say, “Excuse me!” like the collision was their fault. Alternatively, you can just shuffle on slowly and immediately stop moving; ensuring the people behind you can’t get on before the doors close. Either way you should NEVER move to the middle or the back of TTC vehicle. So unless you’re stealing a reserved seat from a pregnant woman, you will always remain an unmovable object in an inconvenient location.
Once you’re safely on board, it’s time to establish yourself as something more than a mild inconvenience. The best way to do this is with a short announcement. You don’t need a fancy speech or anything, just look around and start muttering some xenophobic comments. This will quickly and effectively identify you as someone who most Torontonians would otherwise avoid in day-to-day life, but can’t at the moment because they are trapped on a sealed, moving vehicle. After that you can start to let your body odor do the talking.
Casual racism and poor hygiene will lay a strong foundation, but no truly unbearable passenger is complete without some accessories. Maybe you own a large bass amp or an old hockey bag inexplicably filled with dirty socks? Perfect! Bring both of those along for the ride. If you don’t want to lug around a heavy accessory then get creative. Maximize annoyance by carrying on a screeching, unleashed pet. To really aggravate people you will want to go with something in the rodent family, say a ferret.
After you and your rodent companion have managed to score a pair of reserved seats it is time to relax and enjoy some music. Remember, your music is everyone’s music, whether they like it or not. So crank “Moves like Jagger” by Maroon 5 on an endless repeat while you feel the rage and confusion around you slowly build. Why would you keep playing that song over and over again, in your own ear buds, at a volume that everyone else on the streetcar can clearly hear? To destroy your fellow commuters will to live, that’s why.
As you will by now have alienated everyone on board it is just the right moment to engage someone in an unsolicited conversation they clearly don’t want to engage in. You could start up on some rant about how Donald Trump is making America great again, or maybe just tell a shy, teenage girl that she would be prettier if she smiled. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. What matters is your wilful obliviousness to all the social cues telling you that your forced attempt at conversation is entirely unwelcome.
Okay, so far you’ve been rude, offensive and annoying. It’s a great start. The problem is you have yet to be actively repulsive. What can you do to change that? Maybe eat an entire rotisserie chicken without cutlery or napkins? Yeah, that’s pretty bad but it could be worse. If you really want to go all the way you will need to do something else. I am talking the worst of the worst. I am talking using your own teeth to trim your toenails.
Yup, that’s the one. It doesn’t get much more repulsive then chomping on your toenails on crowded subway car. There’s really no way to come back from that. You’re officially irredeemably awful.
At this stage there is nothing left to achieve. You’ve done it all and it’s time to say goodbye. You may notice an audible sigh of relief from your fellow passengers as rise to leave, but don’t let them off that easy. There’s still time for your denouement. This means dropping a nearly-full 2 litre bottle of RC Cola and letting it spin and sputter through the entire length of the subway or streetcar, covering the floor in a layer of stickiness that will never quite go away. It will be your final parting gift to your fellow commuters, your reminder to everyone on board that even though you are gone, your legacy of selfishness and misery will forever live on.