Subway Rage: The New Normal?

Fine LineAs the packed 1 train pulled into the 59th street station, there was some minor jostling for position as passengers anticipated the opening doors. Just as people stepped out onto the platform, a woman’s voice pierced the rush hour hum with a percussive attack of expletives, shrieking into the face of her startled neighbor, “Why do you need to tell me you are getting out here? I am getting out here. Can’t you see that I am getting out here? I am going to drag your ass back into that subway car and murder you…” As the subway doors closed, I made rare eye contact with the remaining riders in our car.  They rolled their eyes, as in, “Wow, what a crazy woman.” People seemed relieved the “trouble-maker” had left the car. But I didn’t feel relieved at all. I reflected privately for a moment, or maybe longer, about the fine line. The edge. We live and move about in a city of over 8 million people. Things are tight. We’re always in a hurry, even if we’re not running late. The cumulative effect of being squeezed into an impossibly small space every day could drive one to snap. What was frightening was the recognition that some days we all feel too close to that edge. I know I do. And if I am really honest, what scared me most about the episode was the thought that the ranting woman could be me.

One thought on “Subway Rage: The New Normal?

  1. Squeezing into a sardine=packed #6 train at 11:30 pm on a Saturday night (If it’s this bad near midnight, what must it be like at rush hour?) I found myself thinking of the pushers in Japan that help squeeze people into the trains. I also imagined how ‘d feel if I had to take that train every day.

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