Over at The Urban Ethnographer, we find this superb post about riding the subway that will be familiar to anyone who does so on a regular basis. What I love is the taxonomy of riders, including the “packers”:
People carry large bulky items with them. In all fairness, though, packers need to be distinguished from folks for whom the subway is their main method of transportation and who really have no other option for transporting bulky items. The term packer is therefore reserved for those people with super large backpacks they refuse to take off when they board the train. If you encounter a packer, you would be best advised to practice defensive maneuvers. I have been hit by a large backpack, and it’s quite a weapon. Recently, I witnessed a packer on the train whose backpack was easily 50 pounds or so. In turning around, she easily cleared a swath of passengers from her vicinity. They were not happy, and she met their protests with protests of her own.
I also really liked the “pole huggers”, as these idiots really aggravate me:
The folks don’t want to share pole space with you–they don’t care if you fall down or into other riders when the train stops suddenly because you had nothing to hold onto. These folks can be identified by their possessive nature toward the pole: They will crook an arm or elbow–sometimes even both arms–around the pole, or lean against it, and effectively block anyone else from using it for support and stability. Pole huggers will relent as more people crowd around them and reach for the pole. Securing a place at a pole is simply a matter of showing the pole hugger you do not recognize their ownership of the pole.
I would add one other–the surfers:
Surfers. These are tourists who think mass transit is the Epcot Monorail at Disney. They will stand in the middle of the aisle and act as if they are surfing–because no one has ever thought of doing this before. They will then crash into people as the train stops suddenly or goes around a sharp bend.