Any country is a blend of at least two different types of people. Blue state vs. red state, country vs. city, cilantro vs. non-cilantro. It’s not always a discrete choice mind you… there are spectra of people as well, and yesterday on the ride into work, I got to experience two distinct points on the subway riding spectrum.
On the Bloor line, it was quite crowded, and I was sharing a pole with a woman, about 25, tall, fit, and wearing stylish clothes. We did a little bit of a “whose hand is going to be higher up on the pole” maneuvering, and then I went back to my book. She on the other hand, put in her headphones, picked a song, and then began to dance.
Not bopping her head to the music, not swaying back and forth to the beat, not even lip synching or air guitaring — she was doing a full-blown getting down on the subway. Kicks, twists, headbobs, shimmying and gyrations aplenty, all while keeping her hand on the pole for safety.
This was quite distracting given that we were RIGHT next to each other and that the car was packed, but I liked it because it was weird and different but in a harmless and non-threatening way. If you’ve ever been on a subway car when Zanta goes through, you know that sometimes weird can be kind of creepy and threatening too.
At Yonge/Bloor, I switched lines to head downtown, and the train was even more packed, that’s when I ran into the subway personality type that annoys me beyond all others … the “Excuse me, I’m getting off here” type.
I don’t mean the standard person who asks to be let past you so they can get off at their stop, that’s normal and fine. I mean the type of person who, even though there are 30 people between him or her and the door, simply has to get past all of them before the train comes to a stop — even if they’re all getting off at the same place.
I am standing there, squished like a sardine, and we’re approaching Dundas, my station, and this woman tries to nudge past me to get to the door. We’re only about halfway there, but she’s trying to get out. I haven’t moved out of her way for two reasons; 1) there’s nowhere to move and 2) I’m getting out at Dundas anyway. That isn’t good enough for her though, and she starts saying, “Excuse me! Excuse me, I need to get out here!” To mollify her somewhat and to give her the idea that all will not be lost when we get to the station because I too am getting out, I turn around, put my book away and make it clear that I’m headed for the door.
Not good enough. She starts tapping me and the person next to me (who also is clearly getting out at Dundas) saying, “Excuse me! I need to get out! I need to get out!!” in a loud voice.
Neither I nor the person beside me say anything, though I dearly want to. Subways are, like urinals, places where conversation should not be had with strangers, in my opinion.
Finally, the woman has had enough with our non-responsive attitudes and as the subway starts slowing down, she forcibly starts squeezing in between us, exclaiming in a loud voice, “I neeeeeed to get OUT!!!!” Her shoves push me into another person, who dominos into the next and everyone starts looking at us in an annoyed way. Finally I turn to her and say, “We’re all getting out here, relax!”, to which I get a dirty, though possibly deserved, look. She did actually relax though and although it may shock you to learn this, we all got off the subway together without incident.
Sometimes, I wish I had a car.