It took me three hours to get to work today. I left my place at the usual time I also sat in my usual seat and I closed my eyes and relaxed until I arrived at my first stop before I had to switch trains. The thing is, I never arrived at the station I was supposed to arrive at the usual time. I had to get off the subway several stops before mine and I had to get on a bus. I never realized how horrible traffic was in Toronto until this morning’s ride on the bus. I moved 20 meters in 30 minutes. How does the city function this way? But wait I am going off my topic. Toronto traffic is for another day entirely. Where was I?….
I was 3 stops into my ride for work when I heard a voice make an announcement.
“Today’s service is delayed due to personal injury at track level. All riders must exit the train a Keele Station and there will be shuttle buses available to take you further east. We apologize for the inconvenience this may have caused.”
I immediately thought, I could still make it to work. This could still work out. Keele Station was still 4 stops away and every single stop we made we stopped for about 4 minutes. The delay was getting longer and longer. I just sat there with my eyes closed and relaxed. There was nothing I could do after all. I didn’t realize what hell the train was taking me into.
When we finally arrived at the station where we had to get off to catch a bus, the station platform was full. I have had difficulty getting on a train because it was so full, but never had issues with getting off. It took me 30 minutes just to get to the escalator. I text my boss and advised him of the issue and why I was going to be late.
It was 7:50 a.m and I had to be at work for 8. Maybe I could still make it. Sorry I am an optimist. Nothing is ever impossible. I thought about it, it was possible that I could get to work on time still. Everyone could decide to just go home for the day and then I could get a bus to myself and everything would work out. Nope didn’t happen. But by now I was at street level and waiting for a bus and they seemed to be pulling up quite frequently.
The bus I got on was half full and the bus driver decided to close the doors and drive off. For one second I thought there would be a riot. They would start throwing things at the bus, pry the door open and beat the driver senseless. Great I would be even more late!!
The driver lived. So now the bus was crawling through the streets of Toronto and I decide to play my game that I am so hooked on at the moment. It’s called Burger. You have to assemble the ingredients onto a tray to finish the order and you have time limit and certain points to gather up before the time is up. Seriously download it. I can’t get enough of the game. The biggest reason is because it has no Ads, or pop ups and it doesn’t ask me to buy extra points or credits. At least it doesn’t remind me every single moment of the game. I finally get to the station where we can all get on the subway again. Well will you look at that…more waiting.
This platform is even more full. I am standing there and I begin to people watch. They all have the same look.
“I just want to get to work. Where is the damn train?” look.
There is a woman standing directly behind me and over to the left but in front of me there’s a man and to my right and in front of me another man. It takes about 10 minutes but a train shows up and it’s completely packed. Here’s where it gets interesting. For all of you that know me, I know you just said in your mind…
“Oh no what happened?” Aww…you know me so well.
The doors open on the train and I get this encouraging push to move forward. I take a step. In my mind I realize that people have to get off the train. I stand my ground but I have this constant reminder to move forward. This woman is literally on my back. She is pressed up onto my back. I lean slightly back and I prepare my elbow. I despise people who don’t understand personal space, even in a crowded place. Give me half an inch at least. You think she let up? Nope. She pushes even more and I bump into the man on my left. He’s slightly taller so he actually doesn’t move. HA, she isn’t going anywhere. When I actually bump the man it doesn’t register what has happened and my hand very slightly brushes up on his shirt on his lower back. I realize it then. He’s all wet. His back is soaked. I immediately close my eyes and concentrate. I am about to vomit. I can’t stand touching people, especially strangers. Just don’t touch me!! Is that so wrong? I didn’t vomit. But now I am trying so hard to move back even a centimeter just so I don’t end up vomiting on him. Three more trains show up and they are also full. Now I have my own look on my face.
“I really hope this isn’t something I can catch. I swear I will volunteer at a hospital if you just get me out of this HELL!!” look.
When the 4th train shows up, that’s when we see humanity at it’s best. Everyone is now so impatient. I have never seen so many people aching to get to work. All I hear from people is how they hate the work they do and how much they hate their boss. You would think in situations like this you would welcome any delay in the process to get you to the place you hate and to have to see the person you hate. You would think that right? Nope not this crowd. It’s almost as if the station was on fire and they had to get on the train because their lives depended on it. The doors open and there are about 4 people trying to get out. I am thinking, ok just make a small space for them and they can squeeze by. Nope, wrong again. There is an uniformed push forward and now there are people getting shoved into an already packed train. I instantly say out loud,
“Let the people get off the train first.”
I am followed with agreeing statements and added comments,
“Please don’t push. There will be other trains.” The few who don’t care force themselves onto the train and it looks like it will go horribly wrong and someone will get hurt. I was wrong again. Everyone was fine. The doors close and the train leaves. The man to my right now says quite loud,
“Can everyone please take a step back. We are very close to the edge.”
Everyone moves back one step. There is an overwhelming sigh of relief from most people. I was able to get on the 5th train and being so close to people I started to have small talk. It started because people were accidentally stepping on toes and apologizing. My panick gave way to social relief. It’s not like I’m crazy or something.
This whole situation has left me kind of sad. I was hoping I would be able to write about how Torontonians stepped up and showed that they truly are considerate and polite. Unfortunately I am disappointed again. Humanity has lost empathy for it’s own. Two ladies became panicked when they thought they were going to be trampled. Their pleas for caution went without notice and only when a man’s voice yelled to have consideration did people take notice. Why is it that people have to always be told to be considerate and have empathy for others? In this situation today, there was absolutely nothing that could have been done to make things go faster. It seems to be the theme to humans. We only learn after some great tragedy. We are not proactive thinkers. We show no empathy for the collective. Regret is the single biggest motivator that humans act on to improve their lives. We are losing every redeemable value of our existence. I can imagine right now some of you are saying,
“Well I’m not that way.”
Ask yourself, when was the last time you did a selfless act? That’s what I thought. I rest my case. I did one selfless act today because of the subway incident. I helped a family cope financially through a difficult time and I didn’t get anything out of it. I felt so horrible for everyone that was shoved or pushed and I felt that I should have stood up for them more. I realize that saying this means I only acted out of guilt. Yes, I agree with that, I am also to blame in this coax of humanity. I get caught up in the mess and sometimes miss an opportunity to be better. I will say this though in my defence. I didn’t make the situation worse though. I didn’t push or shove anyone or make stupid comments to make someone feel bad. The situation deserved a civilized attitude and unfortunately that was lacking.
Please think of others. And this is coming from someone who doesn’t like people. In my next life I want to be a Tiger. That way I can be put into slavery by people and be forced to do tricks to amuse their simple little minds. (I’d probably get shot and skinned for my fur)
The truly sad thing about today is that someone took their life and committed suicide. A life was lost and we were obsessed with ourselves. A transit worker actually said,
“Please everyone be patient, unfortunately this is what happens when someone doesn’t like life.”
Augh…I just reminded myself why I can’t stand humans…