Friday, April 27, 2007

Fairy Tales on the MTA

There are many things that annoy, irritate, and infuriate me about riding the subway:

  • Being able to hear someone‚Äôs music through their headphones
  • When people sitting in the middle seat don't move over once an end seat becomes available
  • Smelling people's disgusting food
  • Crazy people who smell
  • Crazy people who proselytize
  • People who sell things--whether it's batteries, candy, or themselves by begging, breakdancing or singing (the worst!)
  • People who squish themselves into seats they don't fit into
  • When people don't let the departing passengers off first, instead pushing their way onto the train

But my biggest pet peeve about riding the subway? When people don't give up their seats for eldery, disabled or pregnant subway riders. And when they don't give up their seats for eldery, disabled, pregnant women? Indefensible.

When someone enters the train with even a limp or a cane, a swollen belly, or a wrinkled face, I'm up and out of my seat. I stand when teen-agers don't, when men pretend they cannot see, and when other women pretend that standing is not their responsibility.

I don't want you to think that I stand because I'm an especially moral person. I'm not pretending that I'm better than anyone or that I'm a humanist (I think most people know that I'm not). What I am is surperstitious, in a way. I'm steeped in fairy-tale upbringing. What do I mean by that?

I used to love fairy tales--the gory ones about step-sisters cutting off their ankles in order to stuff them into shoes; the romantic ones about sleeping princes being awakened by The Kiss; the magical ones about a giant's golden hairs; but most of all, the ones about reward and retribution. My favorite stories featured witches disguised as hags who would test the virtue of the heroine. When the protagonist would overlook the hag's ugliness or scariness and share her bread or beer or cheese, the hag would reveal herself and reward the heroine with clues for her quest, diamonds or wishes.

What do fairy tales have to do with my commute? I'm always waiting, always on the look-out for my opportunity to prove myself. Who is that old lady, really? The man with the limp--when I get up for him will he know I'm worthy of his powers?


Blogger Matt said...

One day we will win the lottery and then grow old and then when someone stands up to give us their seat we can tip them. Not exactly a magic power, but I bet tips would be appreciated.

6:35 PM, May 10, 2007

Blogger Matt said...

And also, that list of people who annoy you on the subway isn't nearly long enough. Not by a long shot.

6:36 PM, May 10, 2007


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