Long Island Railroad

Is this seat taken?

Have you ever used public during rush hour? Or seen a movie on opening night? Went to the bar with a few friends? By now you’ve probably figured out where I am going with this. I find it odd when I’m riding the train to see people standing even though there are plenty of seats available. Why is it so awkward to ask someone to move over? The question is simple enough. Is this seat taken? May I sit down?
I’ve always wondered why people would rather stand than ask someone to move over so they can sit down. There are plenty of seats on the train. I look around and I see a lot of empty seats. You figure someone would be bold enough to ask a fellow citizen to slide over, but I’m going to guess that 7 out of 10 times that doesn’t happen. Even as I am riding the train to Huntington, the same people who were standing are still standing. But as soon as we stop at a major destination like Jamaica, seats clear and the people standing finally sit down. I for one am too tired to stand so I’ll ask someone to move over.
These days most people are too busy playing with their cell phone to even notice what other people are doing on the train. With that being said, I still wonder why people don’t ask fellow passengers to slide over. I don’t want to put the blame on technology because this is something that existed prior to cell phones and tablets. When I was an undergrad in college, I remember lots of people signing up to take public speaking classes and I remember reading that public speaking was one of the biggest fears for most people. Could this be a reason that people don’t ask strangers to slide over or ask if the seat is taken?
While riding the train, I decided to take a picture of what I am now calling “The Situation”. As I took the picture, the person sitting next to me said ,”this train can’t be that interesting.” I replied, “I am going to blog about why people don’t simply ask strangers to slide over  so they can sit.” We both laughed and he admitted that he was one of those people. He brought up an interesting point, the distance that someone has to travel can decide whether they will ask a passenger to sit down. Since I was going to Huntington, there was no way I was going to stand for over an hour, but if someone is traveling to Woodside from Penn Station, they might not mind standing for 5 minutes.
To all the people who would rather stand than ask someone to slide over, the trains are only going to get more crowded. The population is going to increase. More people will take the trains and other forms of public transportation. Don’t be afraid to ask if the seat is taken. You never know who you will meet and what conversation you can have with the person sitting next to you. Sit down, be courteous, introduce yourself, and enjoy the  ride. The person sitting next to you could one day save your life.
Long Island Railroad

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