A few days ago, after a long days work, I got on the train, grabbed a seat, plugged in my headphones and tried not to think about the long ride home. I am not generally afraid of being on the train at any point in the day. Growing up taking the train in Chicago prepared me to deal with the crazies in New York. In fact, I think the sheer density of NYC makes me feel a lot safer than being on an empty train. In Chicago, I caught a man masturbating while he watched me read the paper. We were two of four people on the train. The other two people were incapable of offering any assistance. I was 15, in unfamiliar territory, and face to face with a man and his hard-on. I ran from teh train and rode all the way back home. It was Sunday morning.
Once you grow up riding the train, you learn the basic rules:
- Don’t look strangers in the eyes.
- Don’t fall asleep.
- Don’t board empty cars.
- If the train is passing through Chinatown, you are more likely to get a seat if you stand over a Chinese person.