It started out as a typical weekday morning on the subway coming to work. Me, I’m sitting looking all pretty, yet professional, listening to my iPod as I wait for my station to come up. I have various playlist to match my various music moods. The list for this morning was “Move” as in over 200 songs that make me want to get up and boogie. Since I am on a subway in the middle of rush hour, I manage to restrain the urge to dance down to simple head nods and toe taps as I ride to work.
For those unfamiliar with mass transit subways let me give you a short synopsis of the phenomenon of riding in a subway car during rush hour. Think of nearly 200 people, that you don’t know and thus barely acknowledge, in a crowded space. You mostly ignore the existence all the others around you. Some do it by reading, others by snoozing, others still by listening to music and/or any combination thereof. Other than the collective moans and groans that arise when a train is delayed for whatever reason, unless you are with friends to speak with, there is very little interaction between people on a train. Eye contact on a subway is limited to ensuring you’re not walking into someone, or as a quick form of apology if you accidentally make physical contact with someone. Because even if you take the same train at the same time every day for years, there are maybe only a handful of people you will see on a regular basis enough to recognize them on sight. Even then, the most you may do to acknowledge them is a head nod before closing in on the microcosm of your own personal space again. Now, times that one subway car by the average ten cars that comprises each train. Next, times that by the hundred or so trains, which run during the core span, that is the morning rush hour (roughly 5am to 9am). There are other nuances involved, but welcome to my Monday through Friday. Now you’ll have a better understanding of why the following is of note.
I should note that at this point the train is two-thirds empty, as the majority of passengers have exited at the many stations that come before mine. It’s so empty, I can easily count exactly how many people are in the car. Expert commuters know exactly where to stand on the platform and on the train itself for optimal movement, when entering and exiting a train and I am no exception. As the station where I disembark approaches, I rise. I am not thinking much of it as I half walk, half dance my way to the door that I will need to exit.
I didn’t know I was singing out loud (loud enough to be heard well anyway), until I realized someone has joined in on the song at exactly the right part. Remember, I have on my ear buds. I do not blast my music, so there is no way he can hear the song except by standing next to me and hearing snatches of my singing. I looked to my left and a male, not listening to his own music, is nodding his head in a teasing way to mine as again he comes in right on time with his line of the song telling me to knock a little louder baby (I’m guessing some of you, knowing the song, are smiling right now). So, what’s a girl to do? I comply along with him and the song. He is definitely singing with me, and to make things even more spontaneous and amusing, a woman sitting by the door joins to match my part. In the spirit of the more the merrier, by the time the train reaches the station there are five of us dancing, laughing and belting out the ending parts of the B-52’s Love Shack. Dare I add, much to the horror/amusement of the three other people in the car with us? Hell, they probably thought we were a mini flash mob. It was perfect timing as two of us (the guy who initially joined in and I), left the train just as the song ended, waving our byes to the others and then ourselves as we went our separate ways.
You gotta love the power of a good, upbeat (and wacky), song to break even the most steadfast of nonchalant commuters out of their shells on occasion.