Friday, April 3, 2009


A couple of years ago I was talking to a friend about my affection for Belgium, a country that I had been visiting frequently on business. My friend had never been there and asked what was so special about this tiny country. I said that I really loved the people. I said that although they were just like the Dutch in terms of their roots, only they hang out in bars sharing cigarettes, and drive cars, where as the Dutch get stoned and ride themselves.
What I was getting at was that the Belgians were partiers and entertaining while the Dutch were stoic
loners. Take your pick but I prefer the crowd at the bar.

Anyway-I have been noticing a change in New Yorkers recently that I have the feeling is becoming a trend, and I really do not like it. Since the advent of the unlimited ride Metrocard, I ride the subways maybe 4-6 times a day on the average. And for years I have seen that people tend to create their own space just by not looking at anyone else directly, or just reading. But everyone always seemed totally conscious of each other and, sometime without even looking up, would make room for the fellow passenger on board.
What I am noticing now is something that I call POLE-LEANERS. Or POLE-HOGS. I have begun to notice in the past year that now when you get on a train that it is totally normal for someone to get on a crowded-standing-room-only car and lean their entire body against a pole. What is basically happening is that the new-comer to the car will simply ignore the environment around hog up the whole pole and leave others to reach high or around them so that we won't fall over during the thrust of the moving train. I have even had people lean on poles right on top of my pole-clutching hands, ignoring my touch as they make themselves more comfortable...
I find this behavior to me my particular pet-peeve and I have been noticing that it seems to be perpetrated almost always by some "kid" wearing an iPod.
What bothers me here is NOT so much that I have to adjust myself in deference to some unthinking or self centered ass,
but is something that I am afraid is much larger than just someone grooving to music to the exclusions of others. What I am thinking is that what was once a town filled with talkers and opinions is becoming unfriendly and cold. New York is going back to the Dutch in a way .
I don't want to turn into some vigilant weirdo and start confronting the POLE-HOGS, but I do think that maybe it is my duty to get into the face of the tuned out jerk and force them into a little banter. At least while I am trying to pry my hand out from under their leaning body. I'll try to be niice...but I hate these POLE_HUGGING DOUCHEBAGS! And PLEASE! Bring back the BOOM- BOXes. I am tired of having to craning my neck just to see the tiny screen of an iPod to figure out what the fuck I am listening to anyway.

by the way- this is a link that is definately not anti-social...I think.


knithound brooklyn said...

we live in an age of entitlement. the pole hogging douche bags simply think they are entitled to do what they want when they want. "Hey, it's all about me, baby." Kids raised by self indulgent parents too scared to assert any parental authority.

david kramer said...

Yea. But were do you think the Boom Boxes fit in to all of this?

But really, thanks for the comment and that is sort of my point. NYC is changing into a much more insulated place I think. People with bad manners are totally accepted as normal.

SOmehow confronting any of this makes me feel kind of helpless or like some vigilent kook.

Anonymous said...

Pole Hugging Douchebags!

That's a great name for a show!

david kramer said...

Big John-
Let's curate it!

david kramer said...

Also- John-
You should check out the link that I posted.
It is something that you might get a kick out of...

kip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kip said...

I was on the subway last night for the first time in quite awhile, and I thought the energy was much more personally giving that at any time since i moved here. people were smiling and and cordial.I must have been on an unusual train.

Distributorcap said...

i dont hug poles, i promise... but the guys with the Uzis in the Union Sq station make me want to hide behind one