Ileana at Bored is the New Busy sent over a diary on the J during the Chinese New Year Parade earlier in the year:
Iâ€™m on the outbound J, my second favorite train because it comes second closest to my house. I got on at Powell St. station along with a pile of others leaving the Chinese New Year Parade. The crush of bodies boarding the double-time procession of train cars heading anywhere-but-here is unusually dense and unusually overwhelming. We all feel it. We take shallow breaths, inching closer to the edge of the platform, filling one car after another.
Approaching: Outbound K, followed by 2-carNN, followed by one-car J.
The doors on the K open, no one gets off; no one can get on; the doors close. We wait, hope that the NN has room.
A woman in hospital-issue slipper socks squeezes through with the aid of a walker, mumbling, â€œWhy do I bother? Whatâ€™s the point? Why donâ€™t you all go back to goddamn China? We donâ€™t need your goddamn parade! Itâ€™s like Iâ€™m not even a citizen in my own country! I canâ€™t even get on my own goddamn train because of you people. You go back to China. You go back to China, all of you! Taking away my rights as a citizen.â€
The Jâ€™s doors open; those who can, get on; the doors struggle to close against the prying hands of desperate travelers. Three girls in leggings and jewel-toned tunics start to giggle. â€œI mean, itâ€™s not like she owns the train!â€ The train pauses apologetically at the two remaining tunnel stops, opening its doors to show the standing commuters that it canâ€™t accommodate them. As we zip away from the Van Ness station and swerve at the track split the driver announces, â€œRight side steps going down. Right side steps: going down.â€
I glide down on my 2nd step perch and the three giggling girls stare at me with wide eyes. One gasps, â€œOh my god, what jus happened?â€ The others giggle.
I explain, â€œThe steps go up when youâ€™re in the tunnel and come down when you come out so you can step down to ground level.â€
â€œOh my god! Can you tell weâ€™re new?â€
â€œOh, well if that impresses you, wait â€˜til the first time you see someone vomit on the bus!â€ This is met with a chorus of laughter and nodding that lets me know Iâ€™m finally home.
â€œNo shit! Are you serious?â€
Another chorus of nodding.
â€œEnjoy the city, ladies.â€
Photo by Flickr user brainchildvn.
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