From Ask Lutz

No More Flat Tires!!!

Dear Lisa,

I was nearly pushed onto the train tracks this morning!

It all started while I was riding the packed L train to work and some lady kept insisting that I was invading her "personal space." As any commuter would expect during busy commute hours, invading "personal space" just comes along with the territory and one can not help but surrender to gravity as the train sways violently from left to right! I was doing the best I could to keep my cumbersome belongings in order on this crowded train and minding my own business, but the lady was getting more and more aberrant and irrational as she started calling me "bitch" and "don't try me" expletives.

So we approach 14th Street Union Square, where my L train commute ends and I try and rush up the stairs to catch the NR uptown. She follows me out. She then gives me a "flat tire." At this point, I'm considering enrolling in an anger management group session, cause I'm really feeling like I want to punch her. I give her a mean glare, but don't say a word. I try to calm myself down and think of pleasant images--swimming, California beaches, etc.

We arrive at the top of the stairs and she gives me an aggressive push. I nearly fall down as an N train approaches. I call her some names and rationalize to myself that it's probably not worth pursuing this as it could lead to a precarious situation. I jump onto the N train and try and calm myself down.

Still disturbed and angry, I hastily walk toward my building where I work and peek inside the lobby. And low and behold my arch nemesis is standing there! Great, she works in my building!! What the hell? I think she saw me, but I continue down the street toward the freight entrance and enter there.

What do I do if I see her again in the lobby?

President Bush is here for four more years and I got harassed by a delusional co-worker this morning. All I can say is that I'm glad I'm leaving the country today.

Unprofessional advice sought.


Disgruntled NYC Commuter


Dear Disgruntled,

Let me begin by commending you on your courage to ask for help. I am not a commuting expert. In fact, I no longer commute in any capacity, but I can imagine what commuting is like and, therefore, I think I can help you. Here’s a list of options that would help alleviate your morning commute.

  • Quit your job
  • Take a cab
  • Move to the country
  • Move out of the country (apparently you have already considered this)
  • Carpool
  • Telecommute
  • Offer fellow commuters large quantities of cash to take the next train
  • Ask Donald Trump to send you a limo

You might have noticed that easing the commuting condition often requires large sums of money or a close relationship to someone with large sums of money. If you do not have that kind of cash or proximity to cash, I suggest you check out one of the following books:

Don’t believe everything you read. You can’t become a millionaire in one minute. Because, if you could, I would have done it already and I didn’t. So, let’s tackle your problem from a different angle, while you simultaneous amass some wealth. This, I call a two-pronged approach.

I have been ‘flat tired’ many a time in my life and I don’t like it one bit. However, in my case they have always been ‘friendly flats’ from somebody I’ve know. Think about this: It is virtually impossible to ‘flat tire’ someone wearing boots. And there are few fashion statements as powerful as ‘I’m flat tire proof.’ When the barometer drops, you’ll be thanking me.

As for taking the freight elevator to avoid your new nemesis, I’m all for mixing up your routine. But sometimes the freight elevator is for freight and you might have to go back to the regular elevator. My point is, one day you might have to confront the enemy and when you do, you have only three options:

  • Make friends
  • Pretend you are a German tourist
  • Declare war

I only recommend the first two, but it’s your footwear.

As for your opening statement, I’m not clear when your life was ever in danger. Disgruntled, hyperbole never did anybody any good. Take a deep breath, relax. What does it matter in the end if a woman you don’t know and most likely will never know thinks you’re evil personified. You can’t control the actions of others; we’ve learned that from our latest election. Please don’t leave the country for good. Then we’ll just be stuck with lousy commuters and tons of flat tires. Stick around for the fight.

Best wishes and happy commuting,


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