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The other morning while riding a crowded Bronx-bound 5 train during rush hour, several realizations crossed my mind. First: I really do hate traveling near Grand Central, especially before 8 a.m. Second: I was pressed against the door, unable to move, my legs stuck between other people’s legs and my butt bumping someone else’s butt as the train rocked back and forth. Third: this was the most action I’d gotten in a while.

The streets of NYC, while filled with people, simply do not offer the same… intimacy… of a subway ride. There may be crowds that sweep past you, bumping your shoulders; the occasional hand that reaches out to give you a piece of paper or CD (which is probably not free). But on the streets you can simply walk away. A subway ride is like an extended, uncomfortable elevator ride, sometimes tower of terror-esque. So if you’re feeling really lonely, $2.50 will solve that right away.

In the subway…

you may get hair in your face. Not necessarily your own, but from the girl who keeps flipping hers without considering that you’re right behind her and you have no room to move out of the way as she “whips her hair back and forth.”

strangers will nod off and start to lean over toward your shoulder, at which point you can gently nudge them awake with your elbow and give them a glare that says “don’t do that again.” If it turns out that your shoulder is like a magnet for their head, you can opt to push them off, yell “stoppit, I don’t know you!” and get up and walk away.

if you are sitting, you may even be “treated” to some form of exotic “dance” by someone who chooses to stand directly in front of you and sway back and forth, holding onto the bar overhead.

if you really want attention, accidentally bump your bag against someone: they may be lonely too and hit you in the back as you walk by, yelling at you.

if you go during rush hour, you’ll be a single sardine, squished among others in one little happy can, all bumping along together. You’ll most likely make contact with at least a dozen people on any one ride. You will probably even brush hands with someone if you reach to hold onto something. Smarvelous isn’t it. Don’t you want to go for a ride right this minute?