Miss(ed) Manners

October 1, 2004

Miss(ed) Manners: I Got Hit By a Train

Filed under: Column — missedmanners @ 8:39 pm

That’s got to be my most favoritest title for the column, ever. While the above statement is true, I did get hit by a train a few days ago, it’s one of those wonderful admissions that elicit the best kind of reactions, stunned silence. I mean, obviously I’m okay, I wasn’t hit by the train hard, and it wasn’t moving, that much. But still, you’re not sure whether to laugh or start wondering if I’m missing a couple of legs.

Stunned silence is great, sometimes I think the world would be better off if more people were stunned silent, for more time. It’s the same situation when I tell people my older brother was run over by a bus, which is true. Usually people’s jaws just drop and they stare, and it’s gets even worse when I start laughing. It’s funny because he lived through it, he broke his pelvis, and he had tire marks on his back.

Tangent #1: Pelvis is without a doubt the funniest word in the English language. Sometimes I refer to sex as bumping pelvises (or is it pelvi?).

It’s a long story that I won’t get it into. Suffice to say, he was in Kindergarten, he dropped a zucchini and went back to get it. Neither he nor the vegetable fared well.

But back to the story at hand, I was hit by a train! I’m guessing it was partially my fault, long years of being a man surrounded by women has taught me how to take on blame like a balsa wood life boat would take on water.

It was 6:30, this past Wednesday, and I was cruising up the platform at the 14th Street station. I take the A,C,E down to West 4th and I know exactly where on the train I need to be in order to make the transfer to the next two trains most efficiently. Unfortunately, that day, the train was pulling in as I was walking and I stepped up the pace to try and make it to my spot.

Well, these two little ladies were engaged in a riveting conversation about something some bitch at a some office had done to someone and were unaware of my runaway boulder presence behind them. As the train ground to a halt, I tried to pass them on the left and little lady A, so engrossed in conversation with little lady B moved in front of me, cut me off, and bumped me into the train.

She strafed into me.

Tangent #2: For those of you unfamiliar with the term strafing, or unfamiliar with its prominent role in video games, allow me to take this time drop some computer science on you.

Strafing is a term that effectively means moving sideways while keeping your eye on something else. It’s tantamount to quickly sidestepping, usually in a circle around a radial point, like a giant crab.

It’s a technique used most in a genre of gaming called, First Person Shooters, or FPS’s (or is it FPSi?). See, back in the day, my friends and I, locked in the computer lab at high school, frenetically trying to look like we were doing work, would play these games into the wee hours of the early evening. The first generation of these games, Castle Wolfensteing and Doom, didn’t have the strafe function. You had to continually run at an opponent, head on and shoot him with your pixel gun and then turn around and try it again.

Like this:

When the ability to move sideways and circle around that annoying kid from the swim team and unload clip after clip of imaginary bullets into his slightly, but noticeably lisping face, it was a boon unto the genre.

So I got bumped. Into a train. It was one of those, “Oh shit, this isn’t supposed to happen,” type moments where your balls shoot up into your stomach for protection. It was almost completely stopped but I sort of bounced off it and stumbled and then fell to one knee. I got dropped by some paralegal pipsqueak.

The worst part about this is that she didn’t even notice. I escaped death on the bumpy yellow line by a few seconds and she kept on staring into her coworkers eyes as they boarded the train (they strafed into the subway car, those map hacking campers).

To add insult to injury, as I pulled myself up from the ground, I was greeted by a hale of giggles. Waiting for the A on the opposite side of the platform was a group of school girls, plaid skirts and every thing. What they were doing in their uniforms near the meat packing district at 6:30pm I have absolutely no idea, but to be brutalized by a four foot tall mother of three and then have little girls laugh at you amounts to more than enough reason to hit the bottle, hard.

I constantly hear people griping and complaining about how the tourists in Times Square don’t look where they’re going, that they’re constantly strafing into people, cutting them off. I think that’s a load of piping hot fiber rich horse shit. People do this every where, from stopping at the top of the stairs to pull out a cell phone to cutting you off to get a cab to swerving into me and making me get hit by a train. The only difference is that there are so many people in Times Square, the rate of occurence simply goes up, it’s just the nature of large numbers.

People walk around without regard for their surroundings all the time, and it annoys me to no end. I know I’ve been a proponent of eye contact in the past, I think it’s important to be able to see the person you’re talking to. But NOT when you’re moving around! ESPECIALLY NEAR TRAINS.

Say you were driving in a car, would you make a left turn and look to your right as you did it? No, you’d glance around to make sure you weren’t going to hit someone or get hit and then you’d put your eyes back on the road, the same thing goes for walking in the street, be aware of your surroundings.

Do NOT strafe in real life. It is a video game feature, it can be hazardous to the health of those around you.

So yes, I got hit by train, because someone wasn’t watching where they were going. I guess it could have been worse, right? I could have missed the train.



  1. maybe, the baby ate your dingo?

    Comment by rachel — January 2, 2007 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  2. good post – filled my coffee break

    Comment by knightly — February 22, 2007 @ 3:49 am | Reply

  3. good post – filled my coffee break

    Comment by paul_knightly — February 22, 2007 @ 4:14 am | Reply

  4. This is very nice and informative post. I have bookmarked your site in order to find out your post in the future.

    Comment by My Kids View — August 16, 2007 @ 3:48 pm | Reply

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