Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Miss Manners on a Train

I spend a lot of time on a train. A whole lot (enough so that I'm a little afraid to total it all up). And some of that time happens to be after 9:00pm. And after 9:00pm*, a transportational phenomenon known as Drunk Train occurs. It's like an exclusive club where to qualify you must be
A) drunk
B) on a train.

Unfortunately** for me, I am always missing one of the key elements, so I'm merely an observer on these inebriated journeys.

For the most part, I accept Drunk Train and all its trappings as part of an irregular commuter's schedule.

Sometimes, it's a blast. Like when all the passengers rallied to a conductor's defense when a Belligerant Drunk berated him for trapping him in the bathroom. Apparently, the lock stuck and Belligerant became convinced that the conductor was holding Belligerent in there for unknown, nefarious purposes. There is, apparently, a market for video of furious, oversized men in tiny bathrooms.

Sometimes, it's shockingly classy. Like the elderly gentlemen handing out nips of scotch in the bar car while regaling me with stories of their travels around the world.

And sometimes it's a hot mess of a girl throwing up in unseemly places.

So, I thought I would compile a list of little tidbits of wisdom I've accumulated in my time on the train, be it Drunk or not.

1) Any plans/agreements/contracts hatched on Drunk Train are exclusive to the Drunk Train. They are like delicate flowers indigenous to the train car- they will only wither and die without the pleather seats and faux wood paneling. In other words, do not be disappointed when the Ivy League gentlemen with whom you made elaborate plans to go to Las Vegas with get off at their own stop instead of yours.

2) If you have reached a level of inebriation that involves fluids of any kind moving beyond your control, please find a place to stay in the city or hire a car to take you home. I understand this is financially troublesome, but so was your bar tab. I cannot stress this enough. Fluids should always be under your firm supervision on a train.

3) Do not call your parents. During the sober days, the reception is unreliable, which only leads to maternal and paternal consternation. During the tipsy nights, you will almost certainly say something you will regret in the morning. For example, Girl in the Cute Blue Coat, while I'm sure your mother is glad that you are, "making really, really good decisions and, like, always being safe," she is probably less than thrilled to hear that one of those good decisions involved a bar restroom and a Serbian man.

4) Flat shoes are your friend. If you cannot walk in heels sober, you cannot walk in them drunk. If you cannot walk in your heels on solid ground, how do you think that will go on a moving train? This is not exclusive to Drunk Train.

5) If you have to ask, then you are definitely talking too loud.

6) The conductor is your friend. Even if he leaves without waiting for the rest of your group, or insists that you cease swinging from the luggage racks, or refuses to admit that he locked you in the bathroom. The conductor is the one who can wake you when you get to your stop or leave you passed out in a pile of your own spittle (see item 2, re: fluids). Also, if you really charm him he will frequently let you ride for free (thank you, Lou!).

7) Don't sing. Ever.

8) Don't fart. Ever.

9) Do not pack or bring anything you are unable to lift. If you must bring an oversized suitcase, try not to travel during peak hours. Really, really try.

10) Relax. It's just a train ride.

*Drunk train is not, as you might think, exclusive to weekends. Last night I made my way back from acting class on a Monday Drunk Train.


  1. Flashers and gropers!! You didn't mention them once. Or maybe they go in anther chapter called "Things to Help You Get Off a Train." Great post, Missy Manners.

  2. I know! They're the worst. None of my readers would ever do anything that uncouth though..right?!

  3. Manners. Who has them anymore? Especially in public quarters. Surely you do. That said I came across this little gem courtesy of one of our favorite Scallywag contributor’s – Ms Sarah Hartshorne- who happens to run a little gem of a website of her own called erraticinheels.