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Riding the Rails: Decking the Halls, A Survival Guide

The holidays are a stressful time. Consider these tips to handling the pains before inflicting some on others.

Riding the Rails: Decking the Halls, A Survival Guide

It’s been a while (two months at least- yikes) since I last posted a blog on Patch.  I do apologize to my readers, I was in the midst of a stressful storm and I was unable to get my fingers to press a few keys on the ol’ board.  But on the plus side- I’m back!

I decided to dedicate this posting to the one thing that we’ve been inundated with since before Halloween, Christmas and the winter holidays.  Let’s be real- once you walked into Target looking for the perfect costume, the aisle right behind it contained Christmas lights and decorations.  Santa came way too early and it annoyed a lot of shoppers.  Alas, we have no control when the jolly guy decides to poke his red nose into our lives.  Soon enough, he’ll make his appearance around July, when we have the “Back-to-School” sales.

But we need not feel like we’re suffering and stress ourselves out even further.  We’re not swimming in a sea of despair, for we are New Yorkers!  This blog, I hope, give you some insight to what to expect when traveling during this time and what you can do to avoid leaning on your horn, mashing your teeth, and yelling out obscenities  that would get you landed on the naughty list for the next five years.

Driving Tips:

-Leave early.  If you know you need to be somewhere by a certain time, leave early.  You know how the LIE is like- you will never have it run smoothly when you want it to. 

-If you do wind up leaving later than you hoped, just accept it and graciously apologize to your host for the delay.  You hit traffic and you could not control that.  The more agitated you get, the more it hinders your ability to make safe driving decisions.  The DMV recognizes how emotions affect driving and offers up some tips: http://www.dmv.org/how-to-guides/driving-and-emotions.php. It also affects your mood at the party, which is not cool.

-Breathe.  We get it!  It’s the holidays.  You’d rather be at home sipping tea (or wine) than sitting in traffic on your way to your judgmental in-laws or “Drunkle” Charlie’s to watch chaos unfold.  Take a moment before you turn the keys in the ignition, close your eyes and take a deep breath in and slowly breathe out through your mouth.  Slowly open your eyes and keep calm.  You’ll feel more focused and ready to take on what craziness gets thrown your way.  While driving- just exhale.

Mass Transit Tips:

-Please be polite.  I’m not asking for you to drop a cape onto a puddle outside Penn Station for me to walk over, but after a long night of work and barely any seats, except for the one next to you that your ugly knockoff is sitting on, please be kind.  You did not buy a ticket for that purse to sit there did you?  Well I bought a ticket for my butt to sit there.  If I ask you politely, I expect the same courtesy from you.  If you do not want to get up to make room for me to climb over you- don’t complain to someone else that you don’t want to get up.  It makes you look like a big, fat jerk.

--Please refer to my second post about loud talkers on the train.  This is a universal rule that applies all year- but it gets heightened around the craze of the holidays. 

-Much like driving, take a moment and breathe.  You cannot control how the trains run and who they let on.  You can, however, control how you deal with the situation.  As much as you want to toss around your tough New Yorker-take-no-nonsense attitude, chill.  Everyone is on edge and on the same insane stress level (some may be even more, you don’t know) and nobody needs any added agitation.  I’ve been down that path before where I wanted to bite heads off and sharpen my claws, but when I put myself in the mind frame of others and take a moment to breathe, I let the anger slip away and stay to myself, like everyone should.

-Invest in an ipod or MP3 player of sorts.  Put your favorite music (or movies) on there and make a playlist that puts you in a good mood and a mix that is you “chill out” music.  It works wonders.  It also blocks the rest of the annoyances of the LIRR from you.  There is research to back up this tip: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110427101606.htm.


If you have any tips to share, please do.  Together we can survive the holidays and retain sanity (or what’s left of it).  Happy Holidays!!

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Linda December 06, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Reena, welcome back! It is important to remind those using your suggested MP3/iPODs or DVD players to use their headphones and listen at an acceptable volume - I do not want to hear their music or movie. I have also seen commuters on the LIRR watching a movie via portable DVD, w/ no headphones, so that the entire car was subjected to the narrative/soundtrack. Let's all make a New Year's resolution to be courteous during our commutes!


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