Subway Thoughts : Uptown F, Brooklyn-bound L

After writing about my experience on the J train a few days ago, I started to think about how many interesting moments take place on the subway. Specifically, I was thinking about the things I’ve seen and how new moments of note occur in front of me on a daily basis. I take two to three different trains every day, and each line is populated with very different varieties of travelers. Today, I begin “Subway Thoughts”, in which I’ll provide accounts of what I see, and maybe even what I hear (although most of the time I’m rocking out internally, scoping out the scene to the soundtrack of my choosing).

ella ella a

L (the guy who kept trying to talk to the girl with the headphones in) : A man squeezed himself next to a young woman on one of the two-seaters you find at the end of a car. She had headphones in, bobbing her head to the music while she picked fries out of the McDonald’s bag on her lap. While the man began to read at first, a few minutes into our Brooklyn-bound journey he attempted to engage his seat-mate in conversation. She slowly removed one ear bud to listen to whatever he wanted to say, curtly answered and attempted to replace her headphone. The man would not stop talking, much to her chagrin. This chick’s blatant annoyance was key. She’d barely turn her head to emit her brusque replies, and I noticed her looking around to see if anyone was aware of what was happening to her. She didn’t notice me, but I noticed her and the man lacking self-awareness next to her.
What the F.

F (the guy who wouldn’t stop shadowboxing) : I sat in the middle of a long bench in the middle of a long F train. Across from me, one t-shirt-clad, long-haired guy and all of his belongings took up enough space for three people. The young man was jiggling a foot and staring at himself in the reflection of the subway window. I didn’t think anything of it until he began to shadowbox. Jab, jab…punch. A short sequence, and his hands returned to his sides. Two minutes passed, then more jabbing and more punching. A few head ducks worked their way in. The train slowly took on more commuters, bodies filling in the spaces left open for seating. A few women sat near him, unawares… until his fists were raised. The looks of confusion on their faces were followed by furtive glances around the car for communal acknowledgment. Some giggled, some frowned. I smiled a small smile. None of which deterred the shadowboxer, who continued to work on his form every few minutes, critical of his reflection in the window until he exited the train.

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