I was going to read until I drifted off to sleep, catch a 10 to 15-minute disco nap, then rouse myself and move along to the next connection.
It started out the way it was supposed to. I plopped myself down in a bucket seat and pulled out my magazine.
Across the aisle, there was some dude, wearing a nondescript baseball cap, t-shirt and jean shorts. On the seats before him lay a huge pile of commuter papers and, from what I can remember, I think an orange.
And for roughly five-ish minutes, it was fine.
Then I heard a loud crumple, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw the guy lob a crushed plastic bottle.
Uh-oh, I thought, directing my gaze elsewhere, as the train travelled over the Don Valley.
And then a couple of passengers got on at the next station – one of them, a Chinese-Canadian fellow.
Why is that even relevant, you ask? Well, because he was the unfortunate recipient of what happened next.
Whatever the guy in the ballcap was internalizing, he picked THAT moment to spew it out, like molten lava.
The Chinese guy was standing just inside the doors, because, well, there was newspaper all over the seats.
Then Ballcap Dude said rather loudly, “COME ON. SIT. SIT DOWN!” and proceeded to knock all the newspapers off the covered seats all over the ground.
He then started to gather them up, while rather loudly grumbling that no one cared about the state of the subway, that it was ’cause of IMMIGRANTS.
And that’s when it began.
He was barely 30 seconds into his rant when a guy sitting about 20 feet away started responding loudly in term – presumably to shut Ballcap Dude up for his anti-immigrant opinion.
That just set him off.
Like a rabid pitbull, he went after the guy 20 feet away, calling him every name in the book, making a point of referring to the fact the guy was fat, yelling at him to shut up, yelling that he’d come all the way from Jane Station and had been picking up EVERYONE’S discarded papers, and what a waste of paper it was.
At one point, Ballcap Dude got up as if making to march over there and punch The Other Guy in the face – assuming the “wanna go?!” stance and literally SPITTING on the floor a couple times.
The Other Guy wouldn’t go down without a (verbal) fight. He got off a stop before Ballcap Guy … but not before the latter had stomped up and got up in the guy’s grill. I seriously was considering pressing the emergency button if The Other Guy hadn’t gotten off.
Ballcap Dude got off a stop later (Woodbine, if you want to know, since he shouted it to THE ENTIRE SUBWAY CAR six stops earlier), papers in hand, seeming to seek sympathy for his ’cause from a fellow commuter just trying to make it to the escalator.
“Look at all this paper! What a waste!” he said in a slightly less deafening tone. “I picked up all this paper. I’m ONLY. ONE. PERSON …”
The thing is, BallCap Dude – despite his multiple issues – had a good point.
A large number of commuters – young, old, large, small, from all walks of life – are pigs. They treat the TTC subway cars like a garbage can, and leave their trash EVERYWHERE.
Despite the commission’s best efforts, a lot of passengers don’t feel as if it’s their job to keep their vehicles clean. (I’m sure there are some out there who think they’re keeping maintenance staff gainfully employed by leaving their crap to be cleaned up.)
Unfortunately, the man’s argument was mothered to death by the big, steaming pile of poop that was his shouty, spittle-flecked, ignorant invective.