Friday, October 20, 2006

Earlier this week I hopped on the subway to travel downtown to put in my volunteer hours at Chloe's school. With each stop more people clamored aboard, and after 2 or 3 stops the train was so full that there wasn't room for one more body. I saw a teenage boy hurl himself through the open doors into the mass of people only to be crudely ricocheted back onto the platform. It was that full.

I found myself in the middle of the jumble, trying to find an appropriate place to rest my eyes....
I'll tilt my head this way...no, I don't really want to look at that woman's rear end for 15 minutes
Maybe if I turn over here...*cough* that's some coffee breath you have, sir
Here, perhaps...no, my face is so close to that woman I could accidentally kiss her cheek if the train jerks

You get the picture. I ended up looking at the ceiling and at my neighbors' hands grasping the bars above their heads, noticing how much a good manicure can do to make a person's hands look decent. I also started thinking about the rules of etiquette in regard to public transportation. They are as follows:

  • Pretend with all your might that you aren't pressed in on all sides by complete strangers.

In other words, being polite means ignoring people.
This idea wouldn't fly too far in the Midwest, where making small talk is a sign of friendly respect. Steve and I, being the Midwestern extroverts that we are, test the boundaries of this rule of etiquette regularly. We're learning, but it wouldn't be so bad if we don't learn it too well.

2 comments:

fig said...

God bless you Dana. I couldn't do that. I need my space and I'm afraid I would have to start chatting with everyone on board. I am sure they would soon kick me off.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of train commutes in Tokyo. Coffee breath is better than an over-indulged alcholic breath. Hopefully, everyone keeps their hands to themselves -- another occasional trial of big city travel!