Inhuman Swill : Subways

Strike two

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Was fortunate enough this morning to have some friends driving to Woodside at 6:00 am to catch the Long Island Railroad into Penn Station. Though our train was running 14 minutes late, it was still a pretty quick trip into the city. I walked to the office from Penn Station, and I was here by 7:30 am.

It's good we left early. One of my traveling companions reports: "[So-and-so] just called me from Woodside - said he got there at 7 and is still waiting to be able to get on a train - it's 8:30!"

Not sure yet exactly how I'll be getting home this evening, but I had to come into the office today. I could have worked from home, like I did yesterday, but it's just easier to get work done in the office. And I wanted to be one of those intrepid New Yorkers who doesn't let a little transit strike keep him from getting to work!

Laura biked into the city today and yesterday, but with temperatures in the 20s she's coming down with a cold! Can't do that again tomorrow!

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It's a sad failing of mine, I know, but I'm afraid I can't get out of everyone's way at once.

This is only a problem because you wouldn't let me get to the empty space at the center of the train.

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See, if you would move into the empty space at the center of the train, I wouldn't have to bump you trying to get to the empty space at the center of the train myself.

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The police were inspecting bags at the 30th Avenue subway station in Astoria this morning. Little table set up off to one side of the turnstiles. Maybe this makes some people feel safe (particularly people who don't ride the subways), but it only makes me feel as if there's danger near, and as if I myself am under suspicion. And I resent feeling that way in America when I'm just going about my own business and doing nothing wrong.

As I walked past the makeshift inspection station, heart in my throat, trying to look casual, I rehearsed in my mind what I would say if the police asked to look in my somewhat lumpy shoulder bag (which, by the way, contains nothing more incendiary than books, magazines, and a bunch of mix discs from last night's CDMOM):

"I'm sorry, officer, but I'd rather walk."

I didn't have to, but I don't like the fact that I might have had to. And for what? For the sake of discouraging some theoretical bomb-carrying terrorist from boarding the train at 30th Avenue and forcing him to walk two blocks to Broadway instead? Ooooh, I feel so much safer now, and it only cost a few pennies in civil liberties.

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Sure, everyone's got baggage, but...

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So I'm getting onto an extremely crowded 6 train this morning at 59th St./Lexington, moving smoothly across the train through the narrow corridor left in the wake of the commuters just debarked, when suddenly I trip and am falling, falling toward two stout women and a baby. I catch myself inches from disaster—and believe me, this is a pratfall worthy of Dick Van Dyke in the making—by grabbing the pole directly between the two women, and I mutter a faint "Sorry," abashed.

Then I look down to see what I tripped over. Their shoulder bags, arrayed all around them on the floor.

Now I don't feel so stupid about tripping. What I feel stupid about is apologizing.

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