Strangers on a Train

by Susan Getgood on July 6, 2011

in Commuting, Rants

Strangers on a Train (film)

Image via Wikipedia

Strangers on a train. No, not the Alfred Hitchcock classic film with Farley Granger and Robert Walker where two strangers plot to commit each other’s murder.

Last fall, I started working for BlogHer in the NYC office. I commute every day on the Metro North New Haven line to Grand Central.

Every so often I tweet and post to Facebook about things I observe on the train. Often mini-rants about inconsiderate behavior on the part of fellow passengers but sometimes  simple observations or photos, like the first time I rode in one of the new cars.

Last week I posted about a clueless passenger who had placed his coffee on the floor under his seat, which had of course spilled all over the floor, and a college friend asked if I was going to start a blog about things I observe on the train.

Now I barely have time to keep up with the blogs I already have. Poor Snapshot Chronicles Roadtrip hasn’t been updated since last summer, so I think we can officially say it is on hiatus! And I don’t want to write ranty posts about the poor behavior one observes on the train because it is pretty much the same stuff on a regular basis – coffee cups spilling on fellow passengers or their belongings. People putting their dirty briefcases on the seats. Their dirty feet on the seats. Taking off their shoes. Talking loudly on their mobile phones. Leaving their trash on the train. And all the possible combinations thereof.

But folks who could do with a refresher course in etiquette aren’t the only people I see on the train every day. Even though one generally doesn’t chat on the commuter train, I’ve managed to run into some interesting folks from Bridgeport to Midtown and back, and I thought it might be fun to start a semi-regular feature here on Snapshot Chronicles to tell you about them.

Right now, because it is summer, I seem to be meeting vacationers. A few weeks ago, coming home on a late train after a function in the City, I met a mother and daughter from Michigan who were on a five week tour of the East Coast. They were staying in Norwalk, had spent their first full day in New York, and were planning at least one more, before making their way up the coast toward Boston. The daughter herself had a 5 year old daughter who had remained back home in Michigan with her grandfather, and we chatted a while about being away from your child that long, and what was the right age to start bringing children on special vacations.

Then, last Wednesday morning, I met a grandmother and granddaughter from Texas who were exploring the city together for the grandaughter’s high school graduation trip. They were going to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and were wondering which subway to take. They too had spent some of their vacation exploring the East Coast, driving all the way to Maine on one day!

I’ve also run into some really nice folks. Like the man this morning who let me take his seat because he was chatting away on the phone in the vestibule. And the gentlemen who held doors open for me this morning and afternoon.

Sometimes the strangers on the train are creepy dudes who take off their shoes and put their feet up on the seat opposite. And sometimes they are delightful people whose lives you get to touch for a moment.

I’ll share them both with you here from time to time.

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