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Saturday, June 14, 2008

Beautiful Transit Anarchy

The scene
I’m onboard a Toronto Transit Commission subway car, work-bound. I board at Christie station, and take the Bloor line east to St. George station, at which point I had planned to transfer to a southbound train to the downtown core. Upon arrival at St. George, it’s apparent that this commute will be seriously disrupted.

The problem
As I get off Bloor line subway, I’m on the lower level of the station (see the cross section of Clusterfuck HQ below). I’m shocked to find that there has been so much delay on the North/South line on the floor above, that the backlog of passengers has filled the stairway, stopping me one third of the way up the stairs from the bottom floor (as our regular readers would know, TTC service disruptions make us some of us pretty excited, as do strikes, terrorism, guerilla warfare and the proliferation of nuclear weapons).

The following (cherished) societal abnormalities result from this situation

  • As I turn to get back on the Bloor line, I find the passengers from the trains that came in after mine have now filled the entire bottom floor, and the bottom third of the stairwell on which I’m standing.
  • Anyone with a hint of claustrophobia starts seriously freaking out, mindlessly and stressfully asking people next to them what’s going on. When one of these cool cats shakes the question out of their quivering lips to me, I say “umm, looks like a lot of people are taking the subway today.”
  • The escalator keeps moving up to the second floor and there isn’t space on the second floor. But people keep boarding and then coming off the escalator like lemmings. As they come off at the top, the density of bodies keeps increasing, reaching a point of overcapacity distinguished by the crowd’s angry grunts and shrieks.
  • The passengers on the bottom floor who want to go to street level (again, see cross-section of station above) start realizing they are trapped. Obviously waiting out what is likely to be a short 20 minute ordeal is not an option, and instead they do the sensible thing and try to climb up the backs of the people on the packed stairwell.
  • Two ladies ahead of me are shoved backwards, and I catch them, forced backwards with the hard heel of my dress shoe only half on my stair. I manage to keep it together by grabbing for a rail, which is a good thing as I would’ve absolutely crushed the four-foot grandma behind me, and likely others in the human-avalanche that would’ve ensued.
  • A few stairs up from me, two guys who were a little to close for comfort had a face-to-face 'fuck you' competition, cussing each other out and looking like a rumble was going to ensue. When they realized that this would require fighting in a very tight crowd on a stairway, they gave closing gestures and turned away. The funny part: they had to then stand there steaming at each other for 20 minutes, shoulder to shoulder and faces turned away like some old married couple after a fight. Hilarious.

Of course, when I told JohnnyM about all this, that anarchist asshole was fucking elated and wished he could've been there.


Anonymous said...

The "fuck you competition"...... classic.

JohnnyM said...

"that anarchist asshole".....classicer.

That Anarchist Asshole

Rick said...

Sorry to laugh at your misfortune, but reading your misery helps me through my own desolate life.

It's been a long time since I've been in Toronto, but it looks like the TTC still hasn't learned a thing. Retards.