Thursday, June 25, 2009


Someone I know, someone significantly older than me, once told me that when she came back to her home city to visit from college, she discovered that when she rode the subway, she had, all her life, been unconsciously choosing the part of the subway car that had more white people in it*. After that, her consciousness having been raised by her liberal northeastern college, she started choosing the part of the subway car with more women in it.

I responded that I had always chosen the part of the subway car with the fewest people in general. I didn't rub it in to my friend, but I was quietly pleased that whatever sway societal racism and sexism had on my character, the sway of my long-admitted misanthropy was still stronger.

This conversation came to mind this morning as theCSO mentioned, as I drove him to the subway, that in metro's two most recent accidents, the only people killed and most of the injured were in the first or last car so one could be significantly safer by sticking to the middle cars.

At which point I confessed my pleasure two days before at discovering that post-accident nobody was riding in the first or last cars and I could have them nearly to myself.



*At the time, I thought, though I didn't point out, that a majority of one's pre-college life, one's place in the subway car is not chosen by one, but by one's parents and their influence might have been the cause of this.


Bill Baar said...

I used to sit up front next to the motorman's cab for the view.

As I got older I tended to the middle because of accidents.

At night combing home from school, I'd usually pick the car with a conductor...when the CTA still had conductors.

Anonymous said...

As a former regular Chicago L rider, I just got on at he door closest to me on the platform and looked--futilely--for any damned seat during rush hours. In off peak times I preferred the bench seats by the doors with their backs to the windows—more leg room—no matter who was sitting there, except for raving and/or about to puke drunks—unless I was one.

kim said...

I just try to stay away from people wearing a lot of hairspray, which I am allergic to.

hafidha sofia said...

Whenever possible, I choose the car that will be closest to the appropriate exit on the platform. If that's unknown, I go for a car which is less crowded (but not too empty - I'm a city girl at heart so always feel safety in numbers). After that, it's whichever one I'm closest to when the doors start closing.