While most people would never think about sitting on the subway floor, at all, at any time, sometimes, every once in a while, someone does this. Maybe they are drunk. Maybe they’re involved in some sort of subway performance art. It happens. Case in point:

The person who took this picture posted it on Reddit, under the heading “Being a workaholic is no excuse for being an asshole. Spotted on the crowded 1 train this morning.”

In the past, this Redditor would have made this comment to his friends at the bar. (Sans picture, of course, because remember when cellphones didn’t have cameras? Me neither.) And that would have been the end of it. But now we have the internet, another Redditor identified himself as the aforementioned asshole and went on to explain:

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Some background: I’m wrapping up my PhD thesis. In parallel, I started a new job, my wife went back to school, and we have a new baby (second kid). My wife and I generally sleep 3-4 hours on a good night. Rest of the time is work, work, work, weekends included, with the exception of one free weeknight a week each of us gets in order to preserve some meager amount of sanity.

This means I could either get some work done on the subway or reduce the aforementioned amount of sleep even further. (BTW, at this specific instant I am reviewing the latest comments my adviser gave to my method section.) Usually I manage to get a sit but I got delayed at daycare this morning, hence this pitiful situation. I apologize for inconveniencing you — personally, I did not feel that the train was so packed (the aisle was quite empty). I switched to a sit at 72nd St.

Anyhow, have a good day and I hope poor sods such as myself will be your greatest sources of consternation in life. And to all of the worried parties, the subway floor is relatively clean (you discover this when your toddler throws a temper tantrum on it…). As far as I can see my pants are fine.

Gothamist, at least, was won over by this toddler-tinged defense:

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[M]aybe this can be a lesson to us all. How many hours a day do we spend ignoring other human beings right in front of us? Shaming them for just trying to get through life the best way they know how? Looking down at our precious Candy Crush game instead of choosing a meaningful interaction with a real person? Wasting life and time by being annoyed at something so trivial?

But not everyone is so convinced. Second Avenue Sagas writes, for instance:

So who’s worse: the people who refuse to ask him to move or the obnoxiously holier-than-thou response to the obnoxiously holier-than-thou actions? It’s a tough call, but I can’t say this guy’s reasoning rings anything more than hollow. Millions of people ride the subway to and from work, and millions of people have busy lives, families and obligations. New Yorkers like to say the world revolves around them, but this guy is putting it into practice. He’s sitting on the subway floor of one of the crowded train lines in the city at rush hour, and as the picture was apparently taken outside, he did this from at least 125th St. down to 72nd St. It’s not considerate, but I’m not the final arbiter of subway manners. What say you?

I imagine this is a subject on which Grist readers have strong opinions. So — is this OK or not OK? And what should you do if you encounter a person like this? Give up your seat? Ask him to stand up? Steal his laptop?

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