Today, I managed to do a whole group of strangers a big favour all at once. These strangers were packed tighter than anchovies in the subway car that I could’ve boarded this morning.
When the doors were about to close, instead of forcing my way on as though my very life depended on making that train — in other words, my usual strategy — I stepped back. Then, I calmly watched the doors slide shut and waited for the next train.
It was so simple I wondered why I hadn’t thought of it before. Not only did I spare the people at the door my up-close-and-personal presence, but I also avoided the discomfort of wedging myself between some tall guy’s belt buckle and the gargantuan student backpack that usually thwacks me in the back of the head every time the train stops.
Much more civilized to simply wait a minute or two and not subject the other passengers to one-body-too-many on an already crowded train.
What a great idea, I thought. Until two minutes turned to six and once again the platform was full. This time, though, when the next train arrived, the doors opened right in front of me.
I held firm and let everyone get off first (which isn’t easy, despite the fact that they ask you to do this over the PA system every time a train stops). I heard a guy behind me muttering something that I’m sure was uncomplimentary. And I swear I could feel the pressure on my back of 100 impatient commuters ready to stampede right over me.
Anyway, I did get on the train with minimal pushing involved and although I was late for work, I had the satisfaction of knowing I hadn’t kneed or elbowed anyone on the way in (that I know of, that is)….
P.S. Just in case anyone needs a nice musical interlude today, here’s a great song that rocketed up to #1 on iTunes and #2 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart last week. Enjoy!