Monday, 28 February 2011

Peer Pressure

My morning commute was packed this morning. Nothing new there really. It is packed every morning. But rainy days add in umbrellas to te mix and fog up everyone's glasses, and there had been an accident somewhere along the line somewhere.

My regular busy commute got not quite so regular pretty quickly this morning however! Suddenly the guy beside the guy beside me snarled at the guy beside me and shoved him (knocking him right into me). Snarly grabbed the guy by the shoulder and kept snarling at him, making accusations of some sort of behaviour (a shove? an elbow in the stomach? stepped on toes? surely not a fondle?!). The snarlee (as opposed to the snarler) had his cell phone in hand, and looked like ge had maybe just removed it from his pocket. When snarler's verbal attack got no reaction from his victim, he tightened his hold on the guy's shoulder and uttered the ominous "we're getting off at the next station."

Still no response from the petrified snarlee or the dozens of other commuters pressed up in very close proximity. When he tried to push his way off the train at the next station, however, a slight and unassuming young guy on the other side of snarler graves the bully's shoulder. The commuter ocean parted just enough and snarlee made his escape, but Mr Snarler, try as he might, could not get free from the grasp of Mr Good Samaritan.

Suddenly another ominous sound wad heard, however, as Mr Snarler's cheap rain jacket ripped audibly. He seemed almost delighted with this turn of events, content to allow snarlee to escape now that he had a new target for his wrath. Mr Good Samaritan, however, while he freely admitted his wrongdoing in ripping the jacket and agreed to make financial amends, refused to get off at the next station and "settle things."

At this point an elderly gentleman tapped Snarler on the shoulder and gently chided him for causing a fuss and inconveniencing all the other commuters. He waved at the air above our heads and reprimanded Snarler for creating a bad atmosphere, then, resting his hand on the bigger man's (non-ripped jacket) shoulder like a grandfather to a young and unruly grandson, he pleaded with Snarler to drop it. When Snarler continued to snarl and hurl threats at the good Samaritan, Grandpa repeated his refrain, adding "what are you going to do, keep picking fights with all of us one by one until you get your fight? Come on, think of everybody, just let it go, the jacket is your own fault!"

Slowly, like a bike wheel with a slow leak, the belligerence left the Snarler. I didn't wait to see how it ended, however, as I dashed off to make my transfer in danger already of being late for work.


  1. Is there a bus you can take? Horse and cart? Bike? Balloon?

  2. I am hoping my commute will get better once I've moved... Here's to dreaming at least!

    I'm not sure about the horse and cart - my coworkers might complain about the manure in the bike parking. But I dream about commuting like somebody I know who paddles to work by kayak daily...

  3. I miss interactions with fellow human beings!

    what a boring life we lead!!

  4. Achan - I think my morning commute suffers from a little too much human interaction!!!

  5. Such a fascinating story - in such a repressed society, it's interesting that when people 'lose it', there are other (older) people around who try to smooth things out. Apparently violence is correlated with age - an aging population means a decline in violent crime. I do hope you'll enjoy smoother commutes from your new home! love and hugs, Cath