Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Rat Race

Dear Subte Riders,

Trains generally have a maximum capacity. What that means, for those of you who have no clue, is that there is a point that a train car reaches at which it is PHYSICALLY IMPOSSIBLE for any more of you to cram inside without suffocating each other to death, which I sometimes wish you would do. Please just let me out first.

Getting onto the Buenos Aires subte with you people during rush hour is all the proof I need that bad karma exists... and apparently I've had it piling up for years now. What have I done to deserve this? I'm SORRY for that time that I did that thing that made me deserve this! May I please stop being punished now?

You all wait impatiently for the train to pull up, your toes curling dangerously over the edge of the platform, your necks strained sideways into the tunnel, trying to catch a glimpse of the oncoming train. Is it there yet? IS IT THERE YET?!?! You're all looking at each other, deciding who is the weakest link, who is most easily trampled, who is best avoided. You're clutching your MP3 players, your MP4 players, your cell phones (which, of course, are blasting cumbia music), your multiple children, and you're deciding who's heads you'll need to step over to GET ON THAT TRAIN.

The train pulls up. It's full of people who aren't getting off. The platform is full of people who want to get on. The doors clamor open...

Suddenly I feel like Violet Beauregarde, swollen up like a giant blueberry, being squeezed and pressed in Willie Wonka's factory juicing room.

There's nothing for me to hold onto, but the crowds have me propped up. I'm holding my breath and counting to a million, while some sort of midget slips past my legs. The child next to me seems to have the Swine Flu, and his father's eyes are blaming me. I'm gripping my wallet.

We go half a stop, and somewhere in the middle of the tunnel, a few of you decide you need to get off. You cannot wait until we reach the stop, you need to get off NOW! Yes, you've alerted everyone in earshot that you will, in fact, be disembarking shortly, and we are now all expected to somehow maneuver around you in a space too tight to breathe in, because you would like to be closer to the door when it opens, thankyouverymuch. WHAT IS WITH YOU PEOPLE? Why can you not at least wait until the train is slowing down, maybe even until a couple people get out, so that the rest of us don't spend our entire commute stressing about how far ahead YOU are in the exit queue?!

Congratulations. You made it off the train exactly .000567 seconds earlier than you would have otherwise. I hope it was worth it, because as a result, I'm sporting a blue and purple bruise the size of your face on my upper thigh.

Damnit, subte riders, you are worse than Bostonian T riders! And THAT is something I never thought I would hear myself say.



heather said...

BRAVO!!! and it's all true! once, we gave up after FOUR trains came and went and we couldn't get on. you shuffle sideways, back and forth, between subte doors, enmasse, like tired cattle. that time we ended up taking a cab.

Eimi said...

erica that was fuckin hilarious. after being on a bus in ecuador, i also feel your pain. =)

Ali said...

Oh man E, this is so right on. Kudos my loquacious friend!