A guest post from noisiestpassenger.com.
The post-work subway ride uptown on Friday is my favorite of the week. I can always get a seat from the Wall Street stop, as people tend to leave their offices earlier. Because we get to sleep late the next day or have fun weekend plans too large for a cubicle, everyone tends to actually look at each other and even smile.
I don’t consider my workweek over until I’ve tutored my last student, Jing, on Friday night. But I do feel lighter. There’s a zip of camaraderie among passengers, like we’re all in on the same joke or headed to some surprise party someone very high-strung doesn’t know about.
A few Fridays ago, I was sitting on the train, listening to music and feeling good. A couple boarded with their toddler, the human equivalent of a sticker burr, a few stops after mine. He clung to his exhausted mom and howled when put down in his own seat.
I locked eyes with the woman sitting across from me. She was coming from a workplace somewhere near mine and had an easy smile barely hidden by Stranger Face, the public “Just get me where I need to be” face. Neither of us needed to say anything to verify a wavelength. If that kid didn’t shut up, our Friday evening buzz would be seriously harshed, man.
The mom and dad bent over the toddler to shush him. Strangers shot knowing glances as the boy kept screaming. “Just hold him already!” every passenger silently chided. A 2 train hath more judgment than the pearly gates.
Once on his dad’s lap, the squirming child vine fell into a short-lived hush, the calm before the snotty, whining storm. Then he started to scream and thrash like the lead singer of a death metal band.
The woman across from me sent a blinking grimace my way, which I recognized from my days of teaching. In English, it translates to something like, “Do we really need to keep this one alive?”
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