I didn’t realize stairs were such an obstacle

Commuting via public transportation every day has led me to the conclusion that for most people in this city, the hardest part of their day is stairs. I’m not talking about fifty flights of stairs. I’m talking about one flight, sometimes less, to get from, say, the subway platform to the sidewalk.

This is apparently a huge task for some people, and I really don’t know why. I mean, having to walk up ten flights of stairs might be daunting for the average person, but not impossible. So you would think that people who just need to go up one flight, sometimes less, wouldn’t look like they’d rather just roll over and die. And I’m not talking about people of any particular size–I see this shit happen with all sorts of people. They disembark the train and then stand at the bottom of the stairs and look up, trying to decide if it will take them all day or only half a day to climb those ten stairs, trying to decide if they should even attempt it or just curl up in the corner and cry instead.


This is related to the problem I have with the sidewalk, because for a lot of people in this city, myself included, the stairs are used for commuting, not for taking a leisurely uphill or downhill stroll. And during busy rush hours, you can only manage a single-file line in any direction on the stairs, because there are so many people. So the person leading the line sets the pace. And more often than not the pace is that of an 80-year-old grandmother with a walker, even when the leader is a 14-year-old boy. I just don’t get the challenge here, and I don’t understand how people can be oblivious to the long line of other people waiting and missing their connecting train because the biggest challenge in someone else’s life is stairs.

Now, I will say that the subway system in this city isn’t always great for people with disabilities. There aren’t always elevators available at all the stations, and the ones that are available are often broken. So I’m not hating on people with legitimate difficulties getting up and down stairs who still need to use the subway. I’m raging at the people who are just fucking lazy and oblivious. There are plenty of able-bodied people I see take the stairs at a snail’s pace every day. More than once I have missed my train because of these assholes.

The other thing that annoys me is that often these people rush to get to the stairs first. THEY NEED TO BE FIRST, GET OUT OF THEIR WAY. And then they start on the stairs, and it’s as if they’re walking in fucking slow motion. What the hell did you run to the stairs for if you’re just going to take your fucking sweet time climbing them?

Then there are the people who have giant packages or strollers who also shove to the front of the line only to cause a massive traffic jam. Again, I know this city isn’t always accommodating of things like this, but if you have a fucking huge stroller or package and you KNOW it’s cumbersome to get up and down the stairs, why do you need to rush to be the first one in line? Doesn’t it make more sense to wait until most of the crowd has gone so you don’t have people breathing down your neck to get down the stairs and get home? OH WAIT, THAT’S LOGICAL SO NEVERMIND.

This next one is possibly my favorite (read: most hated) issue with stairs: people who start out fine and then get to the top and STOP. WHAT THE FUCK IS THE POINT OF THIS?! If you think stairs are hard and want to congratulate yourself for rising to the challenge, STEP TO THE SIDE AND DO THAT. I see this happen literally every day when I catch the subway in the morning. Significant Other and I climb the stairs at a normal person’s pace. The person in front of us also does this. But then they reach the top and just come to a dead stop. Right at the top of the stairs. BLOCKING THE WHOLE FUCKING STAIRWAY FOR EVERYONE ELSE. They look around, like they didn’t realize where the stairs would end, like they are surprised to be on the subway platform. And oh, aren’t there just so many fascinating things to look at here, right here, at the top of the stairs? NO. GET THE FUCK OUT OF THE WAY. I’ve taken to just shoving past these people, because they’ve also caused me to miss my fair share of trains while I tried patiently waiting for them to get over the shock of having reached the top of the stairs. Breaking news: Stairs have been around for centuries. They are not that difficult.

Now, I have a pretty fast walking pace, both on the stairs and on level ground. I’m not asking the people around me to have this pace too (although man, that would be awesome). I just want people to fucking move at a normal speed on the stairs. If they really are the hardest part of your day, then I will GLADLY switch places with you. But I’m guessing they aren’t really, so pick up the pace, assholes. Some of us need to get home before we go into a fit of rage and stab someone.


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