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Day 514

Subway Story

A man was sitting on the F train next to me. He was working away at Solitaire on his phone, and guzzling a can of diet Dr Pepper. He seemed uncomfortable. Maybe nervous. I don't know. He was maybe 30 years old.

The train came to a halt; I read my story. The announcement comes over: "We will be waiting due to a signal problem." The man gets upset and shouts aloud, "Oh, sure, signal trouble!"

We wait. I continue reading, but I know his rage, because we had to leave a crowded train due to a broken door the evening before. When I get angry at the subway, I recite Blake's "The Second Coming" aloud. "Things fall apart, the center cannot hold."

The announcer says, "Due to signal trouble, this train will be going on the G line." The man gets very angry; stamps his feet on the floor, storms off the train, starts pounding on a garbage can.

I had some information he could have used: the next stop was another train which could probably take him close to where he wanted to go. "Friend," I should have said, "where are you going? I'll take you there."

I have to act differently.

Show Comments (1)

  • miranda_b miranda_b
    4 months ago

    Amazing... you’re calm and collected and logical and he’s throwing a tantrum like a rotten toddler... and you think you’re the one who has to act differently?

    Advice Rating:

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