Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday Spirit And Potentially Bad Choices

My generally happy holiday mood and perhaps an insanity streak may have saved me from bodily harm. The setting of this story is the subway, my final ride of 2015 from my client's office to Penn Station. It was pouring rain, and people who typically take a Citi Bike (like me) or walk sought shelter on the train to get to their destinations.

I boarded the A train at Chambers Street, and it was crowded. I stood near one of the doors and stared at my phone like all the other zombies. At Canal Street, a throng of people got on and a man stood near me.

At West 4th Street, more people got on, and very few exited. Now the man was inches from me. "Just two more stops," I said to myself. At 14th Street, I had to turn around, couldn't take the closeness anymore. The door would open at the next stop anyway. In a small space, I had no choice but to press against him to face the door. "Did you just push me?" said the guy. Oh great. He's aggressive, short-fused, and within stabbing distance.

Eye contact is often perceived as aggressive, but I looked directly at him anyway. "No, friend." When do I ever refer to someone as "friend?" What was that about? I have no idea, it just came out.

"I'm turning around because the next stop is 34th Street and I need to get off at the next station."

"I think you pushed me," said the seemingly unstable man. Crap.

"Why would I push you? It's a crowded train. It's Christmas time. I want to go home and see my kids. No, I did not push you." I did not lose eye contact with him. Maybe I was just as nuts.

He looked at me quizzically, and then he smiled. "I'm sorry, man, it's crowded and sometimes riding the train gets on your nerves."

Indeed it does, indeed it does. Best advice I can give is to take the high road when dealing with unstable, aggressive people. Better chance of survival. Happy Holidays, friend, from #TTIV.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.
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