It’s always interesting to watch the “tourist subway family.” My fellow New Yorkers, I am sure you’ve seen them. Its that family of 4 that gets on the subway, and right way you think to yourself, “Oh man…I hope one of them isn’t holding on when the operator hits the brakes.”
So mom, dad, son, and daughter get on board in a hurry. The kids are totally excited to be on board. Mom looks like she needs a drink. Dad is already shuffling through his black fanny pack to find his subway map.
Somehow, its always the kids that know the program best. As soon as they get in, they grab onto a rail. Mom and dad? No way. They stand there completely oblivious to the fact that the vehicle they just boarded is about to lurch forward. Meanwhile you are sitting there praying that it is a jerky start.
Doors close, and here we go. Mom immediately loses her balance and stumbles back. Of course, dad thinks he’s a bad ass because he is already in the “surf boarder” position, ready for any movement. The kids giggle as goofy mom regains her balance.
Now come the wildcard events that make every encounter with the subway tourist family a little unique. Enter toothless, homeless guy. Here comes your regular subway homeless guy looking for a handout. My favorite are the ones who stop and try to talk to the little kids on the train. The sheer look of horror on the parent’s face is priceless!
Anyway, subway tourist dad freezes in the moment of truth, but you know in his head he wishes he had the courage to dig though his fanny pack for his mini can of mace.
Then there’s mom. Quickly trying to reteach her brat children that it is impolite to stare. But of course, mom yelling, “It isn’t nice to stare” doesn’t really hit the level of subtleness the rule is designed to achieve.
Occasionally, subway tourist family will consist of a couple preteens. In this case, it is by far the most exciting when it is rush hour. As New Yorkers, we hardly blink an eye when you find you face 3 inches from the blown out weave of the woman in front of you. Being packed like sardines in a train car is hardly cause for concern. But not for the subway tourist family…with teens. Almost instantly, you can see that this incident is causing years of emotional scaring as the teens huddle together to avoid touching smelly construction worker guy. Simply priceless.
But back to typical subway tourist family. By now, we are approaching the first stop of their little subway excursion. As a regular rider of this line, you naturally anticipate the next stop and know when the driver is about to hit the brakes. But not subway tourist family [insert evil laugh]. 3….2….1….BRAKES. Subway tourist family slams into the other passengers on the train.
Out of frustration, subway tourist mom yells at subway tourist kids for hitting the people next to them. As if it was their fault in the first place. In reality, her “top heavy” physique is the culprit. We all know that subway tourist mom should have stuck to the salad bar at the Times Square Olive Garden…instead of eating a while basket of fried calamari by herself. But that’s neither here nor there.
By now the subway car is moderately crowded, with little room left to roam around. That does not deter subway tourist dad (aka Map Nazi). He now begins to wrangle his family into the doorway approximately 12 stops ahead of time. For some unknown reason, subway tourist dad thinks the train is simply going to slow down and open the doors. So the family may need to tuck and roll. Just in case, he has his family prepared for the jump.
We’ve now reached their stop, and the doors open. Out they run. Till next time Subway Tourist Family!
Keep an eye out. You’ll see them. Sit back and enjoy the mayhem. It certainly makes that morning commute fly by.