Last week I took the train in to work every day, but Friday. The first day, Monday, started so bad I didn’t think I could make it the rest of the week. It started like this.
The station where I catch the Red Line subway is the first one (or the last one, depending on your point of view) in North Hollywood. It’s common for a train to break down when attempting to come back, which is why they keep an extra train beyond the station just in case. Monday started like this. I got on the train and it was so full I knew right away that this was the second train, the first one had broken down and was waiting on the other side of the platform with it’s doors closed, and the sign reading Not In Service glowing on it’s side. The doors chimed, then closed, and the train attempted to move forward. It jerked forward only a few inches and stopped. Not a good sign. The driver tried a few more times, but the train refused to move. Shortly thereafter, the driver got on the PA and announced that this train was Out Of Service, and that we’d have to catch the next train which was just now pulling into the station. Everyone rushed to got off the train, and cross to the other side (all of 20 feet), where they proceeded to mill around the places where the train’s doors would open. This is somewhat normal, so I didn’t think much of it. What was abnormal was what happened when that new train opened its doors.
Right when the doors opened, the crowd surged into the train. Now normally they wait politely outside the door for the passengers inside to depart. This time they didn’t, and in some cased literally shoved them aside. I made some comment about waiting for the others to get off, but was ignored in the otherwise silent rush to get a seat. It was sad and disgusting to see people who normally act politely to be so hostile and selfish.
But that is not all. When we got off the train at Hollywood and Highland, many of us (it was a larger than normal crowd becuse of the train delays) stood outside waiting for the bus. Amongst the people waiting was a young man in a wheel chair, and a young women attending him. Now normally one waits for the people in their wheelchairs to get on first, but on this occasion the crowd surged forward, and immediately started getting on the bus. The young lady said politely many times to the crows that they needed to get on. The driver either did not see them, or was too pacified to care. Many people held back, but the since crowd kept trickling in, they saw no reason to wait, and got on themselves. Finally the driver noticed the wheel chair, and told the people to get back, but by then it was too late. The bus was so packed that even the people standing could not go back far enough to let the guy in the wheelchair on. The driver shrugged his shoulders, and the bus moved on. By that time I was so disgusted with the passengers that I didn’t wish to ride with them, so I waited with the young couple for the next bus.
And man was that a good decision. You see while I was waiting for the next bus I struck up a conversation with a young couple from England. They were from the Midlands, and on their honeymoon, spending a few days in LA before they flew out to Tahiti for 2 weeks. He is a Bobby, and she is a Chemist (that’s cop and pharmacist, for those of you who speak American), and they were so charming and friendly. It was nice to meet fresh faces, and see some genuine happiness in the world. They got off the bus at Santa Monica and Fairfax, and I went on my way to work, for once forgetting how nasty humanity can be.