Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Last night found me on a packed train going home. There was this lady on the train sitting in a tight handicapped seat-the kind that folds down off the wall. She was loudly complaining to the guy next to him saying "would you stay on YOUR side of the line and don't touch me with your sweaty body and shake your smelly hair all over me!"
I promise you this was a grown woman. I was wondering what kind of day she had at work to bring her attitude to the train. She was so loud that she was not embarrassing the infractor aka smelly sweaty hair guy but rather herself.
Contrast this with my experience in the next car (I moved up to avoid commutophobic lady).
I was standing after the long day and a huge guy who must have been 6 foot 4 offered me his seat. It was squishy so I said "no it's ok." He got up anyway and I felt bad so I told him it's a 3 seater and we can both sit. So now there were 3 of us and I was sandwiched between 2 big guys. I told them about the lady in the car behind us.
We all laughed and joked that we were crossing the line and should not take a seat when we need deodorant.
The 6'4" guy said maybe commuting is not for the faint of heart and that woman should reconsider her method of commuting!
Bottom line--I had a squishy but pleasant--ride.


  1. Great story. I am of two minds regarding commuting via public transportation, as there are benefits and disadvantages.

    * You can sleep. I often used to sleep on the Staten Island ferry, once I even crossed 3 times asleep (i.e. I didn't wake up after arriving on my side)!
    * You can tweet :-)
    * You can read/write emails.
    * You can read the paper/book/work stuff/etc.
    * You avoid wear and tear on your car (though perhaps not your body).
    * When tired, it is just as safe as when not tired.
    * Once in a while a funny story or anecdote will be created. Not boring like driving.

    * Schedule changes can wreak havoc on your routine (with a car, just pick up and go when necessary).
    * Cannot carry large quantities of items with you (like when bringing a large cake to the office).
    * Can't easily run errands or shop on the way to/from work.
    * At the mercy of their service schedule, even when things go wrong.

    Any more?

  2. pros:
    * set schedule ensure you are on time to work
    * You also leave on time to "catch the train."
    * Daven/pray on the train (for women)
    * Space out time is crucial sometimes
    * Have to find parking at the train- not always easy or close to station
    * Can get stuck in NYC if there is a problem
    * I have been known to go all the way to Suffern by mistake. You have to pay attention when commuting!

  3. People who drive also have set schedules (in the morning at least), for example, last year I left at 7:15-7:20 every morning to bring 5 kids to school and then to proceed to work. But it brings up another very important pro (your second one) - the set schedule means that impromptu late evenings at work are often impossible (unless, of course, as many firms do, they spring for dinner and a car service if you stay past 8pm).

    In Israel, on a Bet Shemesh to Tel Aviv morning train, the men have a minyan. They even have a sefer Torah on Mondays and Thursdays!

  4. In NY they have davening buses from Monsey and probably Brooklyn. The Far Rockaway LIRR has a daf yomi car.


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