Sunday, October 26, 2008


I’m constantly amazed and annoyed by the people on the subway.  Not so much the other riders, though often I can’t stand them, but more so the people who take advantage of the captive audience.  The Preachers, the Musicians, the people supposedly raising money for the homeless.  Do they not realize that they are catching us at what is usually the worst part of our day and when we are quite possibly at our least charitable?


There are those that feel the need to just preach and spread the gospel for their entire ride, on the way to work.  Usually older women, you can never spot just which they will be.  But I can only imagine that after they exit the train they go off to their jobs working in Accounts Payable and no one who works with them realizes how they spend their commute. I often have the same preacher at the same time almost every morning who speaks/preaches in a voice that is vastly different from his speaking voice and I’m not sure if he realizes it is quite a comical one at that. 


One day I got on the subway and spotted someone who I just knew to be a Preacher.  Just before he could begin, he was pre-empted by a new entrant into the competition for captive commuters’ money, the Comedian.  While not very funny, the Comedian carried on with his shtick and I watched the Preacher open his mouth and then stop.  He then worked his way to the door near me and I could hear him grumbling the entire trip to the next stop about the Comedian, and I have to say his words were not exactly what you would wish to hear from a supposed man of the cloth.


This summer the Mariachi Bands were plentiful on the rails, all of various skills.  When heading to Yankee Stadium one Saturday this past summer, I took 4 different trains and was subjected to 3 Mariachi Bands.  That is easily 2 Mariachi Bands too many for any day.


The only ones I’m always impressed with are the young kids who will get on, place a boombox down, and in the small amount of available space, put on an acrobatic dance routine without touching another soul.  Their flipping, spinning on poles seems all the more impossible and impressive due to the fact that they are performing on a moving platform that is prone to sudden lurches and stops.


It is because of all these people that I never ride the subway without headphones on.  I never have music on so that I can hear what is going on around me and whether there have been train delays and just to keep track of what is going on in general on the train.  But I never take them off so that I have the excuse that I didn’t hear them.  This started because every now and then you get the crazy person who just wants to be heard and often is aggressive.  It is better to pretend you don’t hear them and are not aware of them then to have them get in your face.


I suppose I should be tolerant, but when it’s early in the morning or I’m exhausted after a long stressful day at work, the last thing I want to deal with is someone else forcing themselves upon me.  It makes me long for the days when I commuted to Connecticut on a real train every day, where I could just sit and read in silence.

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