Rule #3: Ride the Wake

In the race car movie Days of Thunder, Tom Cruise's character illustrates how to pass a guy by racing directly behind him, thereby minimizing his own wind resistance.  He conveyed his message by moving sugar packets up the thigh of Nicole Kidman's character.  At least, I THINK this is what he was illustrating.  All I could focus on was Nicole Kidman's thigh.  You see, this is BEFORE she got all the work done on her face.  NOW she looks like Heath Ledger's version of The Joker... only more scary.

My point is that it's sometimes okay to bide your time before passing someone who's walking in front of you.  Please take a look at the illustration below.  It is an approximation of the Ditmars Blvd. stop on the N/Q train.  Like any good commuter, I always try to know which door to enter in which train car so I have easy access to the stairs/escalator/exit upon arrival at my destination. 

This is the subway stop at which I live, and I have knowing-which-door-to-exit-from down to a science.  As illustrated above, many people (represented by the purple "X's") think the door from which to exit the subway car is the first one, Door #1.  On the contrary, it's actually Door #2.  You see, if you can be the first one out of Door #2, you can cover the distance between the train and the LEFT staircase in a few strides, whereas if you exit from Door #1, there are a. generally slower people in front of you, and b. all of them are going to go for the nearest staircase, slowing your exit from the station.

So I (the little happy face in the picture above) always try to leave from Door #2.

But what's that you say?  There are people coming UP the stairs?  As it turns out from the epic illustration above, there is indeed a child and it's parent walking ascending the righthand stairway, and one lone soul ascending the left.  So the strategy here is simple:  Ride the Wake.

The large "X" exiting Door #1 is likely to be a fast walker: like me, he knows which door to exit and has been itching to do so ever since 30th Avenue.  When you see HIM make a beeline to the LEFTHAND staircase, that's when you make your move.  Get in stride directly behind him.  He will mow down (or at least force aside) the one knucklehead coming up the stairs, which will allow you to pass him at the turnstiles below.

Under NO circumstances take the righthand stairs.  The presence of the child and it's parent indicates that they are people who will be traveling abreast, not single file and hugging the rail as is appropriate.

I was going to add red arrows to the illustration to show what I was talking about, à la the whiteboard of an NFL coach, but all I could hear in my head was John Madden's voice doing a play-by-play of the whole thing, and, quite frankly, there are enough voices in my head to ignore without the appearance of his drunk, rambling ass.

Riding the wake is like using a human shield.  The person in front of you takes the hits, while you match pace and get where you're going bruise-free.  Obviously, if they are a Slow Walker, this is a problem.  When that becomes an issue, please direct them to Rule #1, so at least you can still progress in your journey, even with some bumps and scrapes along the way.


I don't think I've gotten enough credit for NOT making fun of Scientology in this post.  I mentioned Tom Cruise at the beginning, and didn't so much as giggle.  The Voices and I are making real progress.

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