far too much writing, far too many photos

One evening, a week ago. Riding the Metro into the city center, the train pulling into Sol. A strange aspect of traveling by subway here: much of the time, people crowd around the doors wanting to the be the first ones out. Once out, those first ones slow down and spread out, making it difficult for others to get past. Happens so regularly that I now often try to be the first person at the door so that I’ll be out and free of those whose goal seems to be making life harder for those trapped behind them.

This trip: the train pulled in, slowed down, came to a halt. People outside gathered around the door, in particular one balding, slope-shouldered 70ish gent in an old full-length coat. He planted himself directly outside, right in the middle where he would be sure to make it hard for anyone to leave. I gazed at him, his eyes met mine, expression appearing strangely sullen and defiant. The doors opened, he tried to charge straight in, not waiting for any riders to step out onto the platform.

I stood directly in front of him, extended my arm to obstruct his charge, preventing him from shoving me aside. He couldn’t get through that way, so moved behind me, shouldering people there out of the way. As I stepped out, I looked back and saw him pushing his way toward an empty seat. Then I was off, en route to another train.

At that other train: the doors opened, people exited squeezing around a short, rotund South or Central American woman who stood by one of the most outsized baby carriages I’ve ever seen — perfectly positioned to make getting in or out of the car slow and tricky. As I squeezed past, I asked her to provide a little bit more room, she refused. Luckily, she got out at the following station, leaving everyone room to breathe, enter, exit, stretch and tap dance (if so moved).

We’re not always at our very best, we humans — we don’t always try to factor in those who share the planet with us. On the positive side in this case, though, is the basic fact of Madrid’s Metro — that it exists, that it provides excellent transit above and below ground all around this city, that it’s mostly efficient, mostly comfortable. It’s a major component in making existence here doable. And it provides some excellent photo ops.

EspaƱa, te amo.

One Response to “”

  1. L

    wish I lived in a city with a decent metro. nice photo too.

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