Free Style

Inbound Commute

There’s standing in a subway car at the end, or near a door, with something to lean on.

There’s standing in the middle of a subway car, holding a rail.

There’s standing in a subway car that is so packed you don’t really need to worry about holding on. My ride home on Halloween was like this, until the costumed throngs got off at Castro.

Then there’s standing in a subway car that is so packed that you really don’t need to worry about holding on, and the air conditioning is broken.

I got off at Church Street when the subway car started to pack this way.

. . .

I left reluctantly. I left behind the guitar player who was taking up two seats, one for his case, as he quietly practiced a mellow tune, and the woman, sitting across the aisle from him, studying his fingers on the strings, and the lady with the four kids, who were told to hold on because sometimes the subway jerks, and the story was told of one kid who had been playing around and earned a cracked lip for his trouble. A middle-aged lady invited one of the children to sit on her lap.

I waited a few minutes for the next train: air conditioned, not packed, and lacking in human interest.

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