We’ve all seen unsavory actions go down on public transit. Trains and busses have their fair share of unpleasantries, but the subway is a special underworld into which we creatures of the light must descend in order to emerge, blinking and disoriented, in another part of the city. A few stations have fought valiantly and banished it, but a dark beast still rules uncontested over vast territories of the underground. The name of the beast is No Phone Service.

Actually, the ferocious No Phone Service is an annoyance at worst and even a welcome excuse from constant connectivity at best. The real monsters of the subway are… yeah, you guessed it. People. Often fairly normal people who are just having a bad day. People whose tight-strung nerves just needed an extra half-twist of the crank to snap and hit someone. At least, that’s what I’m assuming was the deal with these two dudes on the L the other day. One followed the other onto an already crowded train car shouting about having been shoved aside in the mad rush to board. The first guy kept moving further and further into the car, inadvertently involving more and more bystanders as the altercation covered more ground. A few brave people tried to calm them down, but I was delighted by the bored and irritated reactions from most of the captive audience.


The expression of disdain on this person across from me was impressive. Equal parts “ugh, you’re holding up the entire train system,” “I’m embarrassed for both of you,” and “I’m only watching this because I can’t refresh Twitter,” it was a master class in sophisticated world-weariness. Add to that the flawless elegance of the embroidered black scarf, and you have true subway composure. See everything, and then leave it behind.

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