Though some may think it’s never appropriate, there are only a few places where it’s acceptable to display Kanye West-like behavior. On Twitter as you fire away 140-character diary entries. At Madison Square Garden as you throw the biggest fashion/music spectacle the industry has ever seen. On the set of SNL when someone changes your set design without your permission. But on the 3 train, unforgiving bravado and brash rudeness don’t work so well.
The other day, I was waiting on the platform at the Wall St. stop of the 2/3 line. For those living outside of New York City, the Wall St. platform is typically full of buttoned up finance types who are more than likely headed to Penn Station to catch their train or bus home to the suburbs. And a few spoiled 20-somethings are sprinkled among the mostly homogenous crowd. But on this particular day, there was an antsy black man with a scraggly beard and overstuffed backpack waiting in the same section of the station.
"Crazy people scare me. And this guy looked fucking crazy."
He made me a little nervous. Not because he was black, obviously. I’m black and am not frightened by the presence of other black people. But crazy people scare me. And this guy looked fucking crazy. He kept pacing around the platform. He seemed to have some kind of nervous tick. After the opening episode of House of Cards season 2 (in which, spoiler alert, Frank Underwood pushes one Zoe Barnes to her death by speeding subway train), I tend to stay very alert to my surroundings when I’m waiting for the train. And this guy seemed a little too unpredictable. Like he might lash out and throw an innocent bystander onto the tracks. Needless to say, my defenses were up.
When the train finally arrived, the seemingly crazy man waited in front of the car doors next to an elderly man. As they were waiting for the car doors to open, the two men seemed to be involved in some sort of silent game of chicken with their shoulders. They were both gearing up to sprint inside the train like there was an Olympic gold medal waiting inside. I peered around them to see a coveted empty seat in a relatively full train car just ahead of them. I then realized that they were in competition for that seat, and this crazy man was willing to take down the elderly just to sit down. This confirmed that he really was crazy.
"They were both gearing up to sprint inside the train like there was an Olympic gold medal waiting inside."
The car doors opened, and it was like the firing shot at the start of a track meet. The crazy man all but pushed the elderly man to the ground to get inside the train first. He thrust himself into the open spot, squirming around in victory as if to flip a middle finger at the elderly man. “Ha! I made it here first.” The elderly man then had to search the car for an empty seat, which he was able to find. Then, after only one train stop, the crazy man got up and moved to another seat for what seemed like no reason at all.
I was so perplexed by his behavior. Though I’m referring to him as a crazy man, he actually just seemed like an asshole with a little too much energy. What drove this man to practically knock over an elderly man just to sit down? I know the MTA isn’t exactly doing a great job providing us with more train service, but the situation isn’t so dire that our daily train commute has to turn into The Hunger Games. I won’t go on some rant about how my generation doesn’t have respect for others, including the elderly. Because that’s not a true generalization. But this guy-he doesn’t have respect for the elderly. And though he may not be clinically crazy, a person who doesn’t respect their elders can’t be trusted.
"I know the MTA isn’t exactly doing a great job providing us with more train service, but the situation isn’t so dire that our daily train commute has to turn into The Hunger Games."
His Kanye-like behavior on the train was not funny, appropriate, or welcome. Guys like him are responsible for ruining what should be care-free commutes. On top of shitty service, we have to worry about all the morons out there who think the subway should provide them with the same comforts of Uber. Maybe that behavior gets you ahead at work. Or maybe it makes your friends laugh. But in the instance of showing kindness to the elderly, it’s mortifying. Please, please-don’t be the Kanye of the 3 train.