February 27, 2007
Today’s installment in a never-ending series of NYC subway moments, I ran across a man with the right attitude.
To set the scene, Archie and I squashed our way onto the subway (the #1 local heading downtown from 79th Street for the straphangers out there) during the morning rush hour to go to work.
As is often the case, Archie attracts attention for no other reason than people aren’t used to seeing dogs on the subway and especially ones who are so bored with the whole experience that they can barely stay awake.
A woman notices Archie and begins a conversation with me (or him?) saying something to the effect that Archie had it made and that she wished she could travel that way, i.e., carried.
I responded with one of my general, all-purpose, stock responses, “He’s got to go to work like everyone else and earn his keep.”
(As a side note, this was one of those moments when you find yourself the only one on the whole train car talking. Eerie silence fills the entire car as it roars and 500 or so people are in various stages of early morning stupor. You almost become self-conscious of your voice interrupting the silence.)
The train reaches the next stop, the doors open behind this woman and her husband, people cram out, people start cramming in. In one of those brilliant moves, an express train pulls in across the platform and all those passengers who stayed on the local, but really wanted the express, now tried to force their way off the local train to run across the platform — all while passengers from the express (and the platform) are trying to mash their way onto the local.
(For those people who are not good in crowds or freak out at their personal space being violated, please do not come to NYC and definitely do not ride the subway.)
And this is where the story gets interesting. A woman tries pushing her way onto our train and in an irritated voice asks the couple I was talking with to move further into the train. They responded that a. they were getting off at the next stop and b. there was really no more room further into the train car.
The woman pushing her way onto the train responds with a stream of what my fiancee politely refers to as, “F-bombs” which naturally generates a similar response from the people she’s pushing and asking to move.
Fast forward a few stops and I find myself in a relatively empty car talking with the husband of the woman who had been verbally accosted by the pushy rider.
And this is the heart of the matter we discussed — with so much going on in the world, how could someone think that their minor discomfort should ruin their day. The bigger picture in terms of being grateful for your health and your family should always take presence.
Running late does not constitute a bad day.
The fact that the train was crowded does not constitute a bad day.
(Gee, I’m sorry — it’s the NYC subway at rush hour. Are you really surprised it’s crowded?)
And the fact that everyone on the subway is not catering to your wishes does not constitute a bad day.
Nor does it justify verbally accosting people who are already dealing (quite well) with a cramped and uncomfortable situation.
If you’re really that self-absorbed, please take a taxi and stay away from anywhere people gather.
Next time you think you’re having a bad day, take a deep breath and think again. What actually has occurred and is it really so bad? What actually would ruin your day, your year, your life?