Its been a really long time since I rode the 7 train, even longer since riding it at rush hour. But when your parents are in town and the only dentist appointment available is at 8:15am, you have no other option. I used to know exactly where to stand, when to start moving and what move to make to shimmy my behind into the last seat or half seat available while others around you sigh in disappointment knowing they will have to try and sleep while standing during their commute to work.
Here I am, finding myself, swiping my card at the turnstyle, and left for the wolves to devour as I stand in 100 people’s way for 30 seconds deciding if I have time to take the extremely empty local train, or fight with the wolves for the next express train.
7:30, no time for local. Guess I’ll have to risk getting bit. I head to the crowded platform, I pick the most empty space. I was always told to never ride in the last car, but I’m ignoring that today. It has the least amount of people waiting for it.
I think I have a good spot. The crowd should push me in the right direction. They seem a little nice this morning.
We hear an announcement that the next express train will leave from track 2 instead of track M. Like a straight rope being pulled to an opposite side, so the crowd moves to the oposite platform.
Another announcement: a second express train coming into the station on track M. Now, we are left with an option….do you go back or stay where you are? I chose to dash back across. If I’m lucky, I’ll get to be the first one on the train. About half the crowd joins me in that decision.
As the train pulls into the station, you can see the wolves, looking right to left and back again. Their eyes are squinting, lips smacking, nose curling….checking out their competition. Who will be their victim….who will they have to really fight for that last seat after we are all pushed and shoved through a narrow door.
The train pulls up, it pauses before the doors are opened. Everyone takes their place, their position in front of the door. If you’re right in front, you have power, everyone is envious. You are telling everyone “I WILL be the first on this train and therefore, I can sit wherever I want.” Those behind him pout a little, they pray there will be something left when they get in….if they get in. Because they know that the people on the side are smiling inside. It’s really the best spot to be while waiting to pounce an open door. The people on the side are sneaks. Like snakes, they can just slip in and grab the first one or two seats next to the door without notice. Leaving the second row of people wondering where they came from. How they possibly got into the train before them because clearly they were NOT in front of the door! The third row are guaranteed to have to stand. Fourth row, you’re just praying on that you get in the train at all. But most likely you will because the fifth row of people will just shove you in, making all this effort to get themselves in while in reality, they are just moving those infront of them in.
You might think that being in the fourth row is nice. You know you’re not getting a seat so you don’t have to try, and people behind you will just move you into the train for you. No work to be involved! But, everyone will hate you the entire trip into the city because you are the one with the backpack hanging out the door causing the conductor to repeatedly announce, “stand clear of the closing doors please.” about 10 times. People look for the culprit in their car, find that its you and those wolves are smacking their lips again, ready to attack because each second longer your coat or bag is in the doorway, is a second longer they have to stay in this cramped space to get to work. You find out its you and you frantically wrestle yourself and your belongings free from the doorway, but its not an easy task considering your stuffed into the car like sardines in a can.
Me, today, I got the side spot. I grinned when the car pulled up. The doors open, and I sneak in completely unnoticed. I got a seat in the middle. My favorite. I pull out my phone to type this post as I’m suddenly inspired to write and brag that I still got it. 🙂