Tag Archives: train


“As long as we get to where we’re going, it doesn’t matter how we get there,” Lee said as he threw his bag into the luggage compartment. I was in Europe, it was the summer in between my junior and senior year of college. I didn’t really have a plan, but I’d spent the past three years saving up for this two month Euro Rail train ticket, one of these unlimited type passes that was supposed to get me on any train in any country.


Of course there was a lot more to it than that, but I hadn’t done any research at all. I bought the ticket through this online travel agency, it came in the mail, I set all of the paperwork aside, but kept them on the top of all of the other piles of papers and forms that had accumulated at my desk, almost like I was challenging myself to see how long I could keep it alive in my consciousness, this idea of knowing that I had these papers that I should look over, but never really finding the right moment to sit down and figure out the details.

I’ve since lived in like five or six different apartments, so that’s the only reason that I know for sure that those papers aren’t still there on that desk. But no, I never wound up going through them. I just kind of showed up in Europe, wandered over to a train station and hopped on the next train departing to Brussels. When the conductor came over I just handed him my ticket.

“What is this?” he asked.

“It’s my ticket. That’s my Euro Rail pass.”

“Yeah well, you can’t just show up on a train. These things sell out. You still need a ticket.”


And that went on for like five minutes or so before I had to cough up fifty Euros, money that I didn’t really have to be wasting on additional train tickets. And so yeah, I learned fast, the ins-and-outs of riding the trains, how even though the system was mostly similar from country to country, each nation definitely had its own train subtleties.

I was in Italy when I fell in with this group of American backpackers. I mean, I was backpacking too, but these guys all had that experienced backpacker look. And so I wound up following them around to all of these really cool smaller cities and coastal towns that I never would have thought to explore on my own.

There wasn’t any structure to the group, people came and left along the way, but Lee was definitely the de facto leader. He wasn’t the kind of guy who laid out an itinerary or anything like that, but I don’t believe that he was just winging it either. My thought was always that he had some sort of a larger plan, routes and destinations selected three or four sites in advance. But such was his leadership style that he rarely had to do any actual directing. People just kind of talked to him one-on-one about where he thought about heading next, and he’d always give these non-committing responses, like, “I was thinking bout checking out Brindisi,” and word would just spread through the rest of us.

But I started to question his motives as we headed further South into Italy. That was when we were at the train station, when Lee said that whole thing about not mattering how you get to wherever it was that you’re going next. See, the train was overbooked, which happened pretty often. A lot of the time the train companies were either trying to get us to shell out more money for seats, or they wanted to shove us into the crappiest seats possible.

Again, I had no way of knowing that, but Lee was an experienced traveler. He stood there and kind of rubbed his sun-bleached beard with one hand, telling us that most of these overbooked trains had plenty of seats. We agreed that Lee should take all of our money and he went to collectively bargain for us, not at the ticket booth, but right with one of the conductors.

And then a few minutes later, Lee came back around to where we were all waiting, we followed him as he threw his backpack into the cargo area, and then the we started following the conductor toward the back of the train, where he was pointing down at what I thought was the wheels.

“Wait a second,” I said, “What’s he saying?”

It was crazy. On this particular train, all of the seats indeed looked to be fully occupied, and there were bodies crammed even into the aisles, so standing up wasn’t an option. But Lee had done his negotiating, insisted with the conductor that there had to have been some space – apparently he knew enough Italian to, from my perspective at least, engage in an Italian-sounding conversation – until they came to an agreement and led us to the back of the last car.

The conductor bent down, at the very bottom of the car, and he undid a latch. There was a flat cargo area, a very small space in between the floor of the car and the base of the train. It was almost a joke, this little area was only like maybe a foot, a foot and a half tall, and I could only assume that it ran the entire length of the car.

Some words were exchanged in Italian, and then Lee said, “OK everybody, this is us.”

“What do you mean this is us?” one of the other backpackers said.

“This is where we’re riding,” Lee said.

“Are you serious?” people started hurling questions at our leader. “You want us to lie flat down there? Is that even safe? Can we breathe down there? Have you ever done this before?”

Sure, I’d taken long train rides where I had to stand the whole time, and those weren’t very pleasant, but I’d never even heard about anything like this.

“Of course I’ve done this before,” Lee said. And I was staring at him, trying to read his face. It wasn’t the most confident expression I’d ever seen, like, I couldn’t tell if he was serious, if he had done this before and just really didn’t like it, or if he secretly thought this was crazy also, but didn’t want to appear weak in front of everybody.

A few of the travelers got their packs out of the cargo car and decided to wait, but Lee warned the rest of us that tomorrow’s train probably wasn’t going to be any less crowded. And when he said it like that, I got really kind of anxious, like my time in Europe was dwindling away, that there were so many other countries that I hadn’t seen yet. I started thinking that, maybe I was spending a little too much time with this group, dependent on someone else’s idea of what backpacking through Europe was supposed to be. After all, I’d never really planned on staying this long in Italy. I wanted to go to Spain, make a circle up to Scandinavia. I started thinking about maybe parting ways with the group after we got to Rome.

Lee grabbed hold of a bar on the outside of the car, lifted his legs up, and slid his body inside the flat little room under the train.

“Lee!” I called in after him. “How is it?”

“It’s fine!” he said. “It’s padded, so it shouldn’t be too bad.”

And then other people started following him in. The train was signaling that it was about to pull out of the station, so I made up my mind to do it, to just jump in. But I couldn’t go face up. I don’t like enclosed spaces at all, and the idea of being on my back for whatever reason just felt a lot more claustrophobic than lying on my stomach.

In retrospect, I don’t think that either way would have been more comfortable, and I never gave myself the chance to try it out again on my back to give myself a sense of comparison. But lying there on my stomach, my head tilted to the right with my sweatshirt under my chin like a pillow, the whole situation quickly devolved into the nightmare that any of you could imagine it was.

There were maybe seven of us back there, and while we were mostly talkative and upbeat for the first fifteen minutes or so, the crippling confines of our new reality quickly became the only thing that any of us could think about. I had thought that being face-down would allow me to be able to turn my head or pick it up a little bit to see in front of me without feeling like I was trapped in a little box, but there was nothing to see. The vents at the far side of the train were visible, but only as thin white lines in the distance somewhere.

And I don’t know how I didn’t think about it beforehand, but the bumps, they were so much more pronounced down there. The train’s suspension did a decent enough job at preventing us from lifting off the ground, but that was about it. It was like I could actually feel the wheels going over the rails.

As people started to freak out, asking questions like, what if there’s an emergency? Or, is there any way to signal to the conductor if we need help down here? Lee did his best to keep everyone calm. But even our mighty leader soon enough fell unhinged from his strong nature as the confines of our circumstance caused pains and kinks in our necks and back, pains that caused our bodies to every once in a while tense up automatically, as if there were any room to roll to our sides, or, in everyone else’s case, to try and sit up, to the point where, after a couple of hours or so, the only sound that interrupted the sounds of our soft whimpering was the occasional dull thud as someone’s head made contact with the padded roof.

The train would come to a crawl every two or three hours, apparently they were making some local stops along the way to Rome, but nobody ever came to check on us, despite our screams. We were all ready to get out, right there, wherever, because the enclosed nature of the ride was progressively getting worse. I had to go to the bathroom. I was thirsty. I just wanted out.

I lost track of time, but it felt like eight or nine hours later when the little slot at the end opened up, the conductor hurling Italian words at us. I tried to look for something in his voice, like was he happy? Had he ever really put people down here before? Did he find this bunch of stupid tourists to be a joke?

And then when I tried to crawl out, I just couldn’t, there wasn’t anywhere to get leverage, not to turn my body around, not to do a mini-push up, to try and inch my way out. That’s what I wound up doing, pressing all my body’s weight to the roof, and then I inched my toes back what could have only been maybe a half an inch at a time before collapsing. And so that’s what it was like, barely making any progress toward the exit, the people at my head were yelling at me to move faster, their feet pushing against my face.

The whole ride was awful, but I want to say that those last moments were the absolute worst, using all of my strength to try and get out, but getting nowhere, worrying that maybe the conductor would close the door. I pictured him – I can still picture it, actually – shutting the door on my feet right as I’m almost at the door, him laughing at me as I scream in vain for him to let me go.

So the more panicked I got, the more my body tightened up, the more I thought I would never make it out, when finally a thick pair of hands grabbed me by the ankles and pulled me out, hard. I didn’t see that coming, and so my arms just kind of gave way, my face falling to the floor and rubbing against the padding, giving me a nice friction burn on my right cheek until, with half of my body out of the car, I swung my hands down to the ledge until I had enough leverage to lift myself the rest of the way out.

My entire body screamed with a pain I hadn’t known before and have thankfully never felt since. I looked down and, apparently I must have peed my pants while I was stuck in there. For a second, my sheer sense of embarrassment outweighed the physical pain, but only for a second, because I looked around and all of us had peed our pants. Because how long were we in there for anyway?

Lee wasn’t exempt. I looked toward him and I really wanted to be pissed off. Like come on man, why didn’t you just say something? Anything? Like, sorry guys, I’ve never actually done this before, I have no idea what I’m doing, we should probably wait for another train. Why was it OK for you to lead us inside of that crawlspace? I wanted to get in his face and start yelling, I wanted to grab him by his shirt and scream, but I couldn’t get any words out. Lee was crying, and while it didn’t lessen my anger towards him, but I guess it kind of softened it. Because I didn’t have the strength to say anything to him. Nothing at all.

We all stood there for a minute, trying not to make eye contact with each other. The conductor unlocked the baggage car, I grabbed my bag, went to the bathroom to change into a clean pair of pants, and that was it, I turned away and walked a few blocks past the station, until I was sure nobody else from the group had followed me. And then I flagged down a cab and, luckily, the driver knew enough English for me to tell him to take me to a hotel I had circled in one of my traveling guides.

And that was that, you know, in terms of traveling with other people, I’ll never do it again. Not like that, not where I just assume I’m being led around by someone who knows what he’s doing. Because man, even though that was a long time ago, I still have trouble laying down on my stomach, like even if it’s just in my bed, not every time, but once in a while, I’ll fall asleep for only a second or two and it feels like I’m right back there, rolling along on the ground, trying to get myself to move, but I can’t, I’m stuck.

He says he’s not narcoleptic

My friend Hayo gets so tired, he’s always falling asleep everywhere. He swears it’s not narcolepsy or anything that serious, and I’m inclined to believe him. Mostly because I’ve only ever seen narcoleptics on TV, and so I’m guessing that my entire outlook on the narcoleptic community is nothing more than a mash-up of people dozing off face-first into their bowls of soup, just over-the-top depictions of people trying to go about their normal lives, playing horseshoes, carrying a giant tray of eggplant parmesan, hang-gliding, always falling asleep at that perfect moment of comic implausibility.


But he falls asleep on the train, always on the train. I’ve never had that problem. My body has a hard enough time letting its guard down to fall asleep when I’m alone in my bed at night. But on a crowded car? Full of strangers?

“Hayo, where are you? I thought we were supposed to hang out after work?” I used to leave voicemails on his phone after waiting for a half an hour or so by myself at the bar where we were supposed to meet up. “Rob, I’m so sorry,” he’d call me later in the evening. “You’ll never believe what happened.”

Maybe the first time I didn’t believe it. And then the third or the fourth or the fifth time, I totally didn’t believe it. I’d think, really? You’re going to pull the old sorry-I-didn’t-show-I-fell-asleep-on-the-train excuse six times in a row? No, and it got to the point where I wouldn’t bother making plans with Hayo, not unless I was with him the whole time.

“You want to grab a drink?” he’d ask me, and I’d have to follow him around the whole time, making sure to wake him up three or four stops before we got to wherever it was that we were going. I found that out through a little bit of trial and error, that while he’d fall asleep almost instantly, it took quite a bit of rousing not only to wake him up, but to keep him in a sustained state of not being asleep long enough for us to get off the train when we were supposed to.

And I don’t even know why I put up with it for as long as I did, maybe there was some part of me that believed his story. Either way, after watching him nod off right in front of me, after I got off the train those first two or three times, sure that he had to be faking it, unable to believe that a sane human being would willfully miss their stop several times in a row, I came to believe that there was something going on, that maybe he really was constantly falling asleep.

Now that I’m fleshing it out like this, I guess, yeah, I guess it does sound a little like narcolepsy. Again, I hope I’m not offending any narcoleptics. It’s like, I can imagine how annoying it must be to actually have a disease or a condition, and to have it completely misrepresented in popular culture. Like schizophrenia, right, I remember when I was a kid watching TV, schizophrenia was basically multiple personality disorder. Which isn’t the case, right?

Anyway, one time I decided that I wouldn’t wake Hayo up, but I’d stay on the train with him, and just kind of watch how things would normally progress if nobody were riding along with him. And it was just totally crazy. This guy, he was sitting there, his head bobbing up and down as the train rumbled along. There’s no way that that could have been comfortable. The whole whiplash thing should have been a natural wakeup. But stop after stop, the loudspeaker would announce the destination, there’d be that really loud, “ding-dong” as the doors closed, and Hayo was just totally out.

And after a while, after like two or three hours, the train started looping back again in the other direction. I waited for my stop and looked at Hayo before I made a break for it. Should I wake him up? I couldn’t. Nothing really made sense. And when he called me the next day, it was the same, “Hey man, sorry about yesterday, I must have fallen asleep on the train.” And I was just like, “Nah, it’s cool Hayo, you were probably just tired man. Don’t worry about it, all right? Just maybe, just be careful out there, all right man? Just maybe keep your wallet and cell phone in your back pocket from now on, cool?” And I had to stop answering his calls. I just couldn’t count on him, as a friend, for anything really. Because I’m serious, this guy went out, and he was just out.

If I could just talk to you about Cosmos for one second

Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention please. I hate to interrupt your commute, I know, I know, we’re all tired of being interrupted on the train. But I come bearing good news, a message worth the minor convenience of listening to a complete stranger on the subway for an entire stop or two. Please, pay attention, this concerns you, me, it’s much bigger than all of us.


I’m talking about the infinite wonder of the cosmos. I’m talking about Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. You, sir, did you know that there are more stars in the night sky than there are grains of sand on all the world’s beaches? It’s true. You know where I learned that? Watching Cosmos. It’s on every Sunday, but you can watch it on Hulu.

And what about you over there, ma’am, did you know that there are more atoms in an individual grain of sand than there are stars in the universe? Yep. I learned that on Cosmos also. It was from the same episode that I got that first fact. You’re supposed to say both facts back-to-back.

Sir, don’t look away, please, I know this is annoying, but I feel compelled to share this message, with you, with everyone. Put down your iPad, just for a second, come on. Wait, are you watching Cosmos? Really? That’s awesome. OK, you can put your headphones back on. Seriously? You’re really watching Cosmos? Let me see. Wow. I had this other guy a few stops back say the same thing, but he was just playing Candy Crush.

What about you over there, did you watch Cosmos this past Sunday? No? Well have you watched any of the series at all? What about the original Cosmos with Carl Sagan? No? It’s a little dated, yeah, but the message is the same. The message of the cosmos, all about science, about the universe. What if I give you five bucks, will you watch Cosmos if I pay you five dollars? Ten? That’s kind of steep. Fine, but only if you start watching it right now.

Yeah, I know, there’s no WiFi underground. Hey, sir, it’s me again. Listen, can you give one of your ear buds to this guy? So he can start watching Cosmos right here? With you? Yeah? Awesome. All right. Can you break a twenty? Well, I mean if you only have a five … but you have to promise to watch another episode as soon as you get home.

Officer, please, look, I’m not panhandling, OK, I’m just trying to get people excited about Cosmos. Do you guys ever watch it down at the precinct? Do you think the captain would be receptive to maybe playing episodes of Cosmos in the cells for people that get arrested overnight? I mean, they’re not really doing anything down there, they might as well have the opportunity to enrich their minds by immersing themselves in the infinite mysteries of the universe.

All right, I’ll stop. But you can’t stop science. On the scale of the cosmos, you’re nothing but an insignificant speck. Get your hands off of me! You think you’re bigger than the Cosmos? You think you’re bigger than Neil deGrasse Tyson? Unhand me! I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m just trying to enlighten people about science.

Oh yeah? Or what? Say Cosmos one more time and what? You’ll do what? Huh? Say Cosmos one more time and you’re going to, what? Huh? Cosmos. Cosmos, Cosmos, Cosmos. Yeah, that’s what I thought, a whole lot of empty threats and …

All right, I’m sorry. Come on, put down the Taser, look, I said I’m sorry, come on man, I won’t say it again, OK, I promise, don’t you think it’s remarkable that our species evolved from one-celled organisms, and now we’re capable of harnessing the power of a lighting bolt in a handheld device? Come on, I’m sorry, I’m …

Too many people, not enough space on the subway

I was taking the subway the other day, it was a Saturday, the trains weren’t running as frequently as they do during the week, and so even though there were less people using the system, all of the cars were just as crowded. It’s like every single time I take the subway, I always find myself standing awkwardly over someone, just way too close. Tell me whatever you want about subway etiquette, but there’s no right way to go about doing anything.


It’s like, I’m an able-bodied guy, and yes, I’d like to sit down if there are seats available. But chances are, there aren’t any seats available. And if I somehow do manage to sit down, it’ll only be like two or three stops before the whole car is full, I’ll feel guilty just sitting there while that old lady is standing not even three feet away. And what’s the cut off for old if you’re talking about an old lady? Seventy? Sixty? How old is that lady over there? I have no idea. I can’t ask.

And I feel like some people can read my guilt, they inch in a little closer, maybe make a pained expression, like if only I weren’t so old, if only I didn’t have to carry this giant cello, or maybe if I weren’t eight months pregnant, I’d be able to stand here without having this guy feel super guilty about sitting down. Eventually I’ll cave, “Here you go,” I never know quite how to say it, or how to accept the inevitable “Thank you.”

I just want to get from point A to point B without having to navigate through twenty-five random social interactions that I never really know exactly how to handle in real time. It’s not that I’m against giving up my seat for someone else, it’s just that I don’t want to have to go through the whole act of giving up my seat, and so unless the car is like totally empty, I’ll just stand, whatever.

One time I saw some guy go to give up his seat for an old lady, and right as he stood, some young punk wearing a pair of two-hundred dollar looking headphones swooped down and snatched it before the intended recipient of the seat had a chance to take the spot. The guy who gave it up made an angry face like, “Hey!” but the asshole just kind of stared off into the distance, smirking. What was the guy going to do, get physical? The old lady didn’t put up much of a fight either because, well, what are you going to do? It’s not like she lost anything. She just kind of drifted back into the anonymous background of the city, all while everyone standing around kind of wished that there was something to be done about this guy with his headphones blasting music so loud that it was impossible not to ignore the thump-thump of the bass escaping well past his own personal space.

What about the performers, the music acts and dance troupes that make you watch some three minute routine before sticking a hat in your face, looking you directly in the eye and saying, “Thank you, God bless,” when I refuse to acknowledge their existence? I feel like a huge dick, every single time. Maybe I enjoyed the song, probably not, but still, it’s not like I asked to be part of an audience. Why should I feel compelled to be a part of someone else’s theatrics?

On my train ride this weekend, I had to transfer from the N to the 7 at Queensboro Plaza. As we crept into the station, I could tell that a lot of people were going to get off, and another lot of people were right outside to take our places. The standard is that you let the people off before you get on, although it’s never that simple, because fifty percent of subway riders just don’t ascribe to this rule.

So sure enough, the doors opened, and I found myself face to face with another guy who didn’t look like he was in the mood to let anybody get off the train first. I used to get really pissed off about stuff like this, in the past I’d have shouted out something like, “Let the people off first!” or something aggressive like that. But yelling at a crowd of strangers, it’s like telling one pedestrian to get out of the bike lane on the bridge. You’re not changing anybody’s minds. Nobody’s listening to you. And so why should I get myself all bent out of shape? It’s just something totally beyond my control as a subway rider.

This guy wanted on, but I also wanted off, so I dodged a little to the right to hopefully make the simultaneous transition as smooth as possible. But it wasn’t a perfect motion, and my shoulder made contact with his for a second. Not a bid deal, right? Wrong. This guy leaned back, and then pushed me with his shoulder, hard, before disappearing inside the train that I had just left.

My rational thinking was gone, and everything inside boiled over with a primal rage. How dare that guy shove me? My jaw clenched and I fantasized about following him inside, where I’d punch him in the shoulder and start screaming in his face about letting the people off of the train before shoving your way inside. But the doors closed half a second later, and my senses slowly returned as I realized that I was just standing there, steaming at nobody, at somebody I’d in all likelihood never see again in my life.

But it’s just a shitty system, the New York subway. Everybody gets all defensive when you talk shit about the subway, they go on about how it’s the biggest transit system in the world, one of the only twenty-four hour means of mass transportation anywhere on Earth. And yeah, I guess if the city had a lot less people, maybe it could be something I’d consider using more often. But every time I need to take the train, I’m always standing, jammed inside, barely any space to breath. Every time there’s a stop, it’s the same struggle as people fight to get off and on. This system was developed like a hundred years ago, and it’s obvious that there are more people than spaces on the train. Why don’t they make it like four or five times bigger? Don’t you think the city would run a lot smoother if there were like a lot more trains? Why does it have to be such a fight just to get anywhere around here?

Riding the subway is the absolute worst

If you live in New York, this is probably like the most cliché topic of conversation: the subway is very crowded. During certain points during the day, it’s totally inadequate at transporting the number of people trying to get from point A to point B. Everything about riding mass transit here is a challenge. From the moment you even decide to go somewhere, it’s nothing but obstacles every step of the way.


Walking to the subway stop, you’ll be like a block, a block-and-a-half away, and you’ll hear the rumble of the train as it approaches the station. You think, shit, I can make this. As long as I run, as long as there’s an unobstructed path all the way to the platform, I’ll be OK, I’ve got this. But you’ve never got this, because there are always a million people in the way.

Because there are always like a million people taking the train, and all of them are thinking that same thing, I got this. But, you know, different people have different ideas of how long it’s going to take to get to the platform, different people have various opinions on what constitutes a brisk enough pace to make it there on time. That guy over there is walking really fast, but I’m walking even faster, and so is he going to make way for me to pass? Of course he’s not. Nobody’s making way for him to pass.

You make it to the turnstile right as the doors on the train open, there are like three people ahead of you trying to swipe, a bunch of people making their way out of the station via the same turnstiles. You have a few standoffs, the people exiting clearly have the advantage. All they have to do is push, whereas you have to swipe your card.

It says, “Please swipe again,” so you swipe, “Please swipe again at this turnstile.” It’s not hitting, even though you know it’s all about timing, you can’t go too fast, or too slow, you haven’t gotten stuck like this in a while. The guy behind you lets you know how frustrated he’s getting with an audible groan, a whispered, “Ugh … come on …” and you want to turn around and give that guy a look, a stink-eye, something, but you’re trying, one more swipe and, “Insufficient fare.”

The doors to the train close, not that you would have made it anyway, not with the insufficient fare. And there’s another line for the Metrocard machine. You’re waiting, you’re tapping your feet anxiously, checking behind you every ten seconds or so, making sure that you’re not going to miss another train. The lady in front, come on, the instructions are so clear, you want to just take her credit card out of her hand and do it for her, there you go lady, tap, tap, zip code, tap, thanks.

And then when you finally find a spot on the platform, you’re waiting, everyone’s waiting, “The next downtown N train will arrive in. Eight. Minutes.” People keep spilling into the station, crowding the platform. By the time the downtown N finally does pull up to the station, you’re already thinking, no way, no way is this overpacked train going to be able to hold everyone.

The people get off, everyone on the platform is jockeying for position, ready to grab one of the precious square feet or so of space. You make it inside, you slide to the middle of the car. It’s so tight that your body is pressed up against the bodies of three other people. Despite the lack of personal space whatsoever, the guy next to you is determined not to let the less than comfortable conditions deter him from reading his book. Even if it means him angling his elbow outward into your space, holding his paperback like an inch away from your face. Is he even comfortable craning his neck like that? What, does he have a book report due six stops from now? Doesn’t he notice that every time the train bumps or jostles that the spine of the book is tapping you on the side of the head? Tap, tap, tap.

And then when you’re half a stop away from your destination, this lady sitting in front of you, she abruptly stands up, or tries to stand up anyway, there’s no room for another standing body, so she starts yelling out, “Excuse me. Excuse me!” trying to get up, pushing to the crowd, pushing a little harder, “Excuse me! I need to get off! This is my stop!”

And you want to be like, you know what lady? This is my stop too. You just had a nice comfortable sitting down train ride, right? You got to catch up on some cell phone games, I saw you eating a sandwich, and don’t think every single person around you wasn’t grossed out when you started clipping your nails. And now you want us all to somehow contort our bodies so that you can be first one off the train?

“Excuse me!” she somehow made her way to the door, she always does, the train pulls up to the next station, even more crowded than the one before. The doors slide open and the people at this stop aren’t as patient, they start piling in, the sitting down lady is shoving back, “Ex! Cuse! Me!” some other guy behind starts yelling, “Let the people off! Come on! Let the people off!” It’s a shoving match, everybody pushing each way, the conductor gets on the loudspeaker trying to instill some order, “Let the passengers off the train first! I’m serious! Don’t make me come out there!”

There’s got to be a better way, man, they’ve got to figure something else out. Is this is a problem in other cities? I mean, I’ve seen horrifying videos of rush hour commuter traffic in China, and so yeah, it’s definitely worse over there. But what about Toronto? Or Boston? Is it that much of a nightmare getting anywhere in DC? Are people maybe a little better behaved? Can some of you come over here and help us out, maybe throw a few suggestions our way? Because this sucks over here, man, riding the subway here is the absolute worst.