Thursday, September 1, 2011

For a pleasant commute, follow the crowd

"eeny, meeny, miny, moe"

If you've spent any time in a city, you likely know the incessant waiting for the train and the way excitement builds as you hear a faint rumbling in the distance. The next thing you know, your heart is pounding, endorphins flood your body, and an almost empty train car stops directly in front of you.

"It's destiny! My lucky day!" you marvel to your clever self, boarding the train with confidence. You happened to miss all the other crowded cars and found the perfect spot! Look, there are seats all around! But the second you enter, the doors close in and the sinking feeling sets in. It's too late. What is that smell??

Lesson #45: when riding the subway, don't choose the least populated car. Groups of people have a funny way of avoiding undesirable things, like train cars without Air Conditioning in the summer, without heat in winter, trains with loud proselytizers, foul smells, and so on. Take their lead, and join the more populated train cars. If you do choose a bad car, move at the next stop. (I'm not going to recommend the illegal, yet highly exhilarating, moving between subway cars. at least not in writing.)

Almost every time I've boarded the one empty car, there's a very clear reason no one else is on it. Create a little mystery in your life by not boarding that car, and not looking back. Well, if you really want, board the next car over, and peer through the window to see if you can figure out the issue. It's likely more fun than dealing with said issue. But I repeat, stay where you are and revel in your good choices, should you remember this lesson.