Okay, just be cool. Don’t be all searching through your purse or your satchel or your fanny pack (Oh dear God, you’re not wearing a fanny pack, are you?). Just have it ready – one fluid motion IN the pocket, one fluid motion OUT the pocket.
Don’t be all looking closely at the card. How much do I have left? Can this get me to Metro Center? The pros just know. You should too.
Well, yeah, there’s a big map. But don’t, like, look at it. If you need to steal a furtive glance or two, fine. But don’t be all obvious about it. A casual sideways look, sure. Maybe you have to backtrack once. But make it quick. Do you see anyone else looking at the map? Oh, you do? Well, they’re dumb. They obviously don’t belong here.
You belong here.
Maybe you don’t have one of the fancy tap-your-wallet-on-the-thing cards. That’s ok. Plenty of folks get the paper ones. But for the love of Christ, make sure it’s going the right way when you put it in. And if the machine doesn’t take it, well, it’s the machine’s fault. Don’t be all like “oh, sorry-sorry-sorry” to the folks behind you. It’s not your fault that you put it in backwards, or maybe didn’t quite hit the slot.
It’s totally the machine. Fuck the machine. Maybe even say that: Aw, fuck you or something similar. Shows you’re hardened.
And if, when you get to the platform, there are eleven-million folks waiting for the next train, DON’T PANIC. Rookies panic. Rookies think Oh, God, will there even be room for me? Should I maybe go wait near the front of the train? No. You are a pro. Pros cram into the last couple cars with every-fucking-body else because fuck this, I own this fucking train.
That, by the way, should be your mantra: I own this fucking train.
The escalators won’t be moving. Don’t get all freaked out. Just walk. And none of this one-step-at-a-time shit. I don’t care if descending into the tunnel gives you wicked vertigo and you start losing muscle control about halfway down and you briefly forget how to go use stairs and become dangerously close to just tumbling end-over-end to the bottom.
Just. Keep. Moving.
Do you see anyone else stopping? You do? Well, they’re schmucks.
You are not a schmuck, are you? No. I did not think you were a schmuck.
Yeah, yeah, you have to swipe your card going out. It’s weird. We all know it. But don’t be all complaining about it aloud.
And sure, when you go to sit down you might find part of a previous passenger’s weave on the seat. Just fucking sit down. If you gotta brush it off, don’t make a face. I mean, sometimes you sit in someone else’s fake hair.
It happens. Deal with it.
But maybe keep some Purell in your briefcase.