Thursday, August 02, 2007

Amusing for Me. Awkward for Them.

The 1 train was running late yesterday, and the kids and I waited an unusually long amount of time for it to come. A delay between trains means more people accumulate on the subway platform, and when the train actually does come, it takes longer for all these extra straphangers to pile in. The cars are crowded, various body parts and bags get caught in the doors so they can't close, it takes an extra 60 seconds for everyone to tuck in, and voila! The train gets even farther behind with every station. It's a harsh cycle, and the train will eventually correct the problem by skipping a station.

So yesterday, a woman with a rather large suitcase got in the car with us. At the next station, it seemed we were at full capacity. The train operator was futilely saying over the loudspeaker, "There's a train directly behind us! Please stand clear of the closing doors!" Understandably, the people who had been waiting quite long already weren't anxious to wait for the next train, and they tried to squeeze themselves in. One woman scanned the crowd, saw what looked like an empty space and went for it. Only, it wasn't an empty space. It was the suitcase. There was a bit of a shuffle, some elbows and bags shifted, and (the horrors!) someone's toes got stepped on.

Squished Toes was hopping mad and started yelling at the Last One In. Last One In tried to defend herself, saying that she hadn't seen the suitcase. Squished Toes wasn't about to back down and kept going at her, saying she should have waited for the next train.

Their faces were, out of necessity, 2 inches away from each other. Both of them craned their necks backwards in an attempt to find acceptable fighting distance, but it wasn't going to happen. Last One In finally said that she was done, this was ridiculous, the end.

I would think that it would be instinct to get as far away as quickly as possible after an interaction such as that. But it wasn't going to happen in this subway car. They continued to stand face to very close face for a few minutes, avoiding all eye contact.
Eventually, Squished Toes managed to turn around. For the rest of the 15 minute ride, I watched the two of them stand pressed together, doing everything possible to pretend that they weren't standing back to back with their new best enemy.

6 comments:

chelle said...

classic.

like when Dan and I have a little, shall we say, disagreement on the way to church and then we have to sit--right next to each other-- stuck for an hour. ;)

Lorraine said...

Dana, you are a really good storyteller.

Tina said...

good story--amusing!!

Tina said...

good story--amusing!!

Susan said...

Love it, Dana! What torture for the Last One In and Squished Toes! That gives me an idea for my next strategy of discipline for my arguers...

fig said...

That reminds me of when my brother and I got into fights. My dad would make us sit in chairs looking at each other and we could not say anything. It was torture. It made you think, sitting there, your anger changed from my bother to my dad, and then to myself for getting into this spot in the first place. It would not take long for us to forget what we were fighting about and go on our way.