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How to sit by yourself on the train

Thanks to Tovi, my friend and neighbor, for this great contribution:

Here's a lesson on how to make sure no one sits next to you on the train.

  1. Take the aisle seat.
  2. Wear the largest and puffiest coat you can find.
  3. Sit with your legs extended and spread out as much as you can.
  4. Fall asleep.
  5. Be overweight.

If you follow these rules, I can assure you no one will sit next to you on the ride to and from work:



I remember one very slow, very sleepy, very cold morning last winter when I sat in one of the aisle-facing seats. A gentleman in a puffy down coat sat next to me and, as bizarre as this sounds, I basically snuggled right up against him and dozed off a little. It was probably the most comfortable train ride I've ever had.

Its people like this that I ususally purposefully sit down next to, just to piss them off. Even if there are plenty of seats to go around, the audacity of people like this amazes me. I'll look at them and say "Excuse me" and make them move or let me in, whatever. lol.

what R[u]^10de said. people who snag an aisle seat or put a bag on the other seat, I'm comin for ya, and I had a bean burrito for lunch!

I Hate the rude, lazy "Super fatties" that think they are entitled to two seats just because they are too fat & sloppy to get up off of their fat asses and exercise!

That's soooooo disgusting and pathetic.

I'm with Rude also. I don't care if there's empty seats all around--I will mess with the person taking up an entire seat.

Dan Suizzo--

Wow, that's really nice.

I notice that the picture taker is also engaging in a seat-saving tactic - putting a newspaper on the seat next to them. Granted, this is far less obstructive than the puffy-coated individual, but nonetheless has the effect of warding off some seat-seekers.

Mr/Ms Puffy coat may be guilty, but beware of pointing fingers.

I think we're all missing the real issue here. Why is the person behind the seat hog wearing pants that short AND valcro shoes? I find that truly disturbing.

Maybe he had to put the paper down to take the picture?

HA, Kimberli - that's funny!
I think it might be a Grandma, so she is allowed to wear short pants and velcro ;)

It is kind of disturbing though....

i hope that's a GUY in the velcro shoes, not someone's grandma. :)

doesn't look like a packed train on 2nd look. everyone pictured has an empty seat next to them, so i'd do the same considering.

Maybe a Grandma with really short hair? Even weirder, ha.

wow.... that pic is classic. Imma gain 300lbs and get me a coat just like that so I can be talked about :)

Ask to sit next to me on a nearly emtpy train and feel me intimidate you or possibly kick your ass.

Why would anyone sit where they are not wanted?

well those are not private seats, so sitting where ever there is an open seat is the right of a paying customer, yes? but one maybe shouldn't let their rights get their asses kicked, as eddy sammy has warned. ;)

i think it takes the common/street sense of when to assert and when to leave a situation alone.

HA! That reminds me of the week before Christmas riding home on the 151 Michigan Avenue bus... a girl put all of her shopping bags on TWO seats and stood next to them to guard them. I asked if I could sit there and she sighed heavily, then made a big production about having to remove some of her bags to make room for me, like it was a big imposition. I reveled in inconveniencing her!

Don't forget the following

6. Don't take a bath or a shower
7. Don't wash that coat.
8. Sleep in a trash container
9. Avoid brushing your teeth for 2 days
10. Eat baked beans
11. Keep your lunch on the seat next to you.
12. opps, knock your drink over on the seat next to you.
13. throw your garbage on the seat next to you...or the floor.
14. Keep a paper bag with something in it that causes your breath to smell.
15. Keep your boom box next to you.
16. Bring your pillow.
17. have a 2 litter of Coke. Burp often.
18. Bring your dog with you...after he ate baked beans.
19. Leave a messy diaper on your seat when your stop appears. The adult version is a pair of Depends.

Note the CTA has no rules on bad smells. And you wonder why the subway stinks so bad.

What a lame and narrow minded post for the tattler. You must be so proud.

I guess you don't like overweight people. Maybe you never met one. Maybe no one in your family is overweight so you think they are evil, or thay just like to take up more room just to agravate people.

I have been fortunate enough to overcome my own weight issues, so I know how hard it is to deal with. It sucks for you to go out of your way to publicly humiliate someone who really did nothing to you other than somehow offend your slim sensibilities.

"I have been fortunate enough to overcome my own weight issues, so I know how hard it is to deal with. It sucks for you to go out of your way to publicly humiliate someone who really did nothing to you other than somehow offend your slim sensibilities."

Ever been to Paris? There are NO obese people there! It's amazing. There must be something in the water here in the USA that causes people to be obese. And there's probably something in the air that makes obese people like the one pictured above entitled to two seats on the el. Yeah, I'm sure that's it. We should feel sorry for them and accept them for who they are. It's not THEIR fault.

Thank goodness we have "New York" style seating on our subway trains in Boston ( except the trolley lines )

Problem is then the homeless LIE down

While I agree with the above poster about the "misleading" factor of this particualr photo(in that there are other empty seats available), that doesn't change the fact that I see this very scenario play itself out almost EVERY SINGLE DAY during rush hour, when the cars are packed!

Oh, there are too fat people in France. Look, everyone is entitled to the space they take up. I'm a fat person and I fit into a seat, but I've no animosity towards one who needs a little more. This is hardly some great crime against the world. What pisses me off are the thin people who feel a deep need to spread out and get an attitude with me if I sit next to me. I may be fat, but I can stay within my own seat. That's more than I can say for a lot of thin men who spread their shoulders and elbows out so they are into the neighboring seat by 4-6 inches. At least the fat person has a need for the space. What's their excuse?

if you want the seat to be empty next to you, just pour a little puddle of water on the seat.. NO ONE will want to sit there!

by the way, what do you do about this - you are sitting on a aisle facing seat (sideways) like the ones right behind the driver. The bus is packed but you are fortunate to have a seat. You are grateful for that seat. People crowd the bus having to stand. But the guy right in front of you has his heavy computer hanging from his shoulder and it rests on your knees which actually are hurting your knees because his bad is so heavy.. So do you speak up and say please move your bag - its hurting my knees, or do you just shut up and be grateful you have a seat while the poor guy has to stand, or do you do a knee pivot so that you kinda hit the bag hinting to him to move it off your now sore knee? some people who have those heavy leather purses also hurt your knees when they pass by you with that hard leather bag hitting everyone's kneecaps as they go down the bus aisle.

Today a young lady on the #147 bus for some reason lost her balance and she almost landed on the lap of the lady passenger next to me, that wouldn't have been so bad but then her way thick and heavy bookbag was not secured to her back and when she fell on the lady her bookbag swung around and hit the lady in the face, the passenger was wearing glasses and the bookbag smashed the lady's glasses hurting her nose. What an idiot to not secure your bookbag and try to maneuver the aisles at the worst time the bus is moving too fast for you to do it.

(Off-topic from this post but in response to Mary T's comment about bookbags). If you're carrying an oversized bag/briefcase/backpack/shopping bag, aren't you aware of it? I was "thwacked" four times sitting in a bus aisle seat tonight by people with large bags and so was a woman sitting behind me. She remarked, "People with big bags and backpacks shold treat them like an extra appendage!" I agree.

As I said earlier, in Boston they just lie down


Note to Jimbo2K6: I have no problem with fat people. And I agree with Brian that they are entitled to the space they take up.

What I have a problem with is rude people. Rude people who take up more space than they need or are entitled to by their size. And yes, as Brian says, that includes skinny, or regular-size guys who spread their legs or shoulders out to hog the adjacent seat.

In fact, with "leg spreaders," I make it a point to sit down and nudge the guy with my leg to reclaim my space. They don't like it but most of them move.

you see. this is a too-many-people-per-square-mile sort of rage that causes so much bickering. it's simply not natural to have so many millions of people occupying such a limited amount of land.

everybody's jockeying for some more elbow room.

i'm originally from down south where there's maybe just over 1 million people in the whole state. people are not so irritated like those who live in big cities.

so when u have so many people cooped up in tiny apartments and too many cars on the road, it seems to bring out this sort of rage.

maybe we all need more Calgon bath moments than we think. :)

"There must be something in the water here in the USA that causes people to be obese. And there's probably something in the air that makes obese people like the one pictured above entitled to two seats on the el. Yeah, I'm sure that's it. We should feel sorry for them and accept them for who they are. It's not THEIR fault."

Yeah. There's something in the water alright. Probably the same stuff that causes people to be so damned insensitive and judgemental.

I don't mine large people. I hate the panhandlers on the CTA. Why don't they just take a more honest approach & say they need the $$$ for booze or crack? Heck i might give them a few bucks then. But nooo, instead you get the I'm hungry ect.... IL gives people $162 a month on their LINK cards. There are many, many places here to get a free meal. I have more respect for a drug dealer or car thief than the lowly scum beggar.

Sean...Don't know where you are getting your info from but a lot of people get far less than $162 on a link card. If you are single and childless you HAVE to have a job in order to get ANY $$ on your link card...speaking from experience. Don't always assume a homeless person wants your money for something other than food. More respect for dealers than the homeless???

People shouldn't always assume that people are taking up more space just to piss you off. I had a knee injury that prevented me from bending my knee more than an inch or two. I was on the bus in the seats right in front of the back door with my leg out in front of me...I got so many dirty looks...and no my leg wasn't in the aisle I was facing the front of the bus. A rude guy standing in the accordion section of the bus (where my leg was extended into) kept "accidentally" kicking my leg as if I had it there just to bother him!!

If you're fat what can you do short of miraculously shed lbs as you board the bus? It is those who hog seats with their bags and papers that are truly rude and inconsiderate.

Ever been to Paris? There are NO obese people there! It's amazing. There must be something in the water here in the USA that causes people to be obese. And there's probably something in the air that makes obese people like the one pictured above entitled to two seats on the el. Yeah, I'm sure that's it. We should feel sorry for them and accept them for who they are. It's not THEIR fault.

Obviously you have never been overweight and completely lack sympathy for those who do. You don't know what it's like to know your body is taking up more than your share of the seat than you ought to, and so you sit uncomfortably, trying not to be *too* much in the seat next to you, when some skinny people get on the bus/train, give you a look of disgust (even though you are clean, neatly attired, and vaguely educated-looking) then either pass you up or sit down with a look that could shred paint off a wall.

I'm sure you also believe that all fat people are fat because they choose to be lazy or not to exercise. Right. Because you know, fat people just *love* the disgusted looks and commentary we get, and the constant media reminders that we're fat, and how we are guilted and shamed constantly into hating ourselves, and made to feel less than human because our BMI isn't perfect.


People in Paris also eat what they want, smoke like crazy and drink tons. But their foods aren't chock full of chemicals and preservatives like ours are.

Got news for you folks, that's not a coat...

Oh please, most fat people are fat because they aren't willing to make hard decisions and work to not be fat.

Now, by fat, I'm not talking about "obese" as judged by the BMI index. I'm not talking about 10 or even twenty lbs over your "ideal" body weight. I'm talking about people who are so large that they do encroach on other people's space.

Most people like this that I've ever known eat poorly and are not active. When they "try" to lose weight, because they are so out of shape that they feel they are putting in far more work than they really are. They work out for a couple weeks, it exhausts them. They overdo it at first and get burned out. They run for five minutes, and rest for half an hour. When they don't shed 20 lbs. a week, they go off on a jag about how "hard" they tried and that obviously they have some condition that keeps them from losing weight.

It's a lack of discipline indicative of someone who doesn't REALLY and TRULY want to change, plain and simple. For the huge majority of fat people, if you eat sensibly and get intense exercise (Note: Intense excercise is not twenty minutes on a bike or elliptical at the lowest possible resistance setting...) three times a week, you will get to a healthy weight within a year or so, depending on how overweight you are.

After having two bike accidents within a few months of one another that greatly impeded by ability to work out, I wound up gaining 25 lbs. in addition to having a lot of muscle turn into fat. That process took about a year. For about 6 months, I really couldn't perform most of the exercises I was used to because of injuries, but after that, I made excuses for not working out. When I finally got back on my bike this summer, I felt like I was dying by the time I was finished with a mere 7 mile ride. God forbid if the wind were blowing, I'd feel like throwing up. But I stuck with it, started adding miles to my rides, and after a couple months of riding vigorously four times a week, I'd already dropped 3 belt sizes, my face slimmed, my cardiovascular fitness was far better and my legs felt strong again. Then I got back to lifting weights once the weather changed. Now, I've lost all the weight I put on and am almost back to where I was before my accidents.

It wasn't easy, but I tried to stay within myself while pushing as hard as I could without getting burned out. When I bike, I bike FAST. When I lift weights, I don't rest for five minutes between sets. When I use the elliptical, I keep nudging up the resistance.

At the same time, I eat sensibly, but I eat what I want. Yes, I am aware of fat intake, avoid transfats, refined sugars, corn syrup, and industrial food as much as possible and try to get whole grains when I can, along with two or three servings of fruit and vegetables a day. Yet, this morning I ate a scone at breakfast. I eat real ice cream a few times a week, put lots of sugar in my coffee, use butter when it actually helps the recipe, drink a can of soda at least four or five days a week, eat cheese, and generally don't avoid any food that I really love.

I'm sure if I gave up all of these things and substituted it all with nutrient shakes, raw food, and bland recipes, my body would be more defined and I'd lose another 5 or 10 lbs, but that's not what I want. I want to look good and enjoy life. Good food is part of that, so I have struck a balance. If you can't give up eating too much or can't be motivated to be involved in intense physical activities on a regular basis, then you REALLY DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE, END OF STORY. Stop deluding yourself, stop making excuses and just accept that you like the shit that makes you fat more than you want to not be fat. Stop buying into the bullshit artists that act like you need to deprive yourself of everything in order to not be fat. That you have to have an inordinate amount of resources, willpower and techniques to change.

You just have to make sensible changes and stick to them for the long haul. You might need to be more hardcore for a couple months at the beginning, but that's it. You won't gain 10 lbs by eating 1/3 of a pint of ice cream a couple times a week. You don't have to spend two hours in the gym five times a week. You don't have to eat salads and diet shakes at every meal. You don't need a personal trainer and exotic supplements. You make it complicated and difficult because it gives you an excuse.

Exactly to what E said above! I am going to follow E's advice and I believe I will have some changes, slow but sure. E's rant also convinced me that when people say "Diets dont work" MOST of the time its not the fault of the diet, but the fault of the PERSON not keeping at it.

woops, I think it was anson who said all that.

To E: - if thats not a coat, what is it?

If you're fat and can't manage to sit without spilling into the next seat, then you should stand or take the train outside of the rush periods when there is more space to sit down. Period. We all pay the same fair and therefore are entitled to an equal amount of whatever space is available.

This morning some fat ass loser refused to even make a good faith effort to compact himself. He kept his legs spread open and his arms at his sides. As a result, the seat next to him was more than half occupied by his tremendous girth. When I tried to move his arm from my space, he even claimed that because he was there first, he was ENTITLED to as many seats as he wanted. This was all during the 8 to 9am rush period by the way.

"Fare", that is...

I just thought you'd like to know: that picture is of me. Take pot shots at my weight. That's fine; I'm used to it. I'm sorry if my being large is burdensome to the community at large by virtue of the fact that I take up an extra seat on the L. I'm sure you'll all be glad to know that I am working hard to correct this gross imposition on the rest of you; I have lost 40 pounds in the last year. With any luck, within the next 3 years I will be thin enough that my picture will not appear on the World Wide Web with snarky comments.

But in the meantime, here's the deal: when I sit down, I take up one and three-quarters seats. It usually doesn't matter if I sit in an aisle seat or a window seat -- there just isn't enough room for anyone to sit next to me. Additionally, I am a full-time student and what you don't see next to me is a bookbag with $400 worth of textbooks and a $2,000 computer. (For those who say "just keep it in your lap" -- sorry, this thing is a roller-bag that weighs about 30lbs when loaded up.) If it's all the same to you, I'd rather keep that bag on the seat next to me on the inside seat rather than leave it exposed on an aisle seat or on the floor.

Lastly, I'd like you to take notice of one more detail: the train is not full. This picture captures only a small portion of the train car, but what it does capture in that small portion is several other places for people to sit. When the train DOES get crowded, yes people, I DO sit in the window seat because every once in a while someone skinny enough to fit in the remaining 1/2 seat -- usually an Asian female or some Size 2 Bucktown Barbie Doll -- will sit next to me.

I truly thank you all for your patience and generosity of spirit as I continue to lose more weight and impose less of a hardship on my fellow CTA riders longingly staring at that 1/2-remaining seat and thinking to themselves, "if only..."

There is no proof that the person in that pic is obese. He or she could have stuffed a ton of newspapers in their jacket or something.
And its that Americans can afford to be lazy and eat McDonalds and that other crap 24/7 that makes them obese. France is healthier with less junk food.

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