Train-ing Myself to Have Some Patience!

crowded train

I’ve always loved riding the New York City subway. It’s just classic New York. I like the grittiness of it, the ample people watching, listening to people playing music on the subway platforms, and the time it gives me to zone out and think. But before I actually moved to the city this August, I only rode the train occasionally, maybe twice a week at most when I went to college in the Bronx. Now I take it twice a day Monday through Friday, and sometimes on the weekends.

And it ain’t so cute anymore.


First off, the 1 train is ALWAYS crowded, no matter what time of day it is. People walk into the car and just stand by the doors. UM HELLO?!–MOVE IN SO OTHER PEOPLE BESIDES YOU, THE QUEEN OF MOTHEREFFING SHEBA, CAN GET ON! Men sit down before offering their seat to a woman. People blast their music loudly. You’re wearing headphones. WHY do I still hear your music through MY headphones?!

People lean against the pole so that NO ONE ELSE can hold onto it. Men take up two seats because they simply MUST have their legs open at AT LEAST a 120 degree angle. Young women wearing flats sit down in the last available seat even though they see another young woman (ahem, me) wearing heels, completely breaking sisterhood code #73. When getting off the NJ Path train in Hoboken, these Hobokenites don’t have the common sense to WAIT for the people currently ON the train to get OFF of it. They just barrel on in.

Oooooh. My blood boils just thinking about this.

“F*$!ing idiots!” I say in my head, rolling my eyes and clearly expressing irritation.

Not very “peace and love” of me, huh? HA. I know. I’m rather Kumbaya in a lot of ways, but when it comes to people doing dumb, inconsiderate things, having no sense of common courtesy whatsoever, I lose it. It’s an area where I could really afford to let go and have a little more patience, and God/the Universe/whatever knows it, because I’m clearly being tested—and necessarily so. Riding the crowded train every morning and afternoon can be a pain at times, but it is forcing me to look inwards and practice just chilling the f*ck out.

The most hilarious part about this is that literally 15 minutes prior to getting on the train for my a.m. commute I’ll have often said my morning prayer, letting God know that I want to be the best person I can be today, to do everything with love, blah blah blah. Then I go and mentally flip off various people on the train. God is probably all like, “Seriously, girlfriend?!” (Laughing at the thought of God saying that.)

I know that letting total strangers who didn’t really do anything so major get the best of me is pointless. It’s not going to make me feel any better about the situation, in fact, it just gets me more riled up. Furthermore, it won’t make them change. I cannot control other peoples’ behavior, only my own.

Needless to say, I’m working on this whole having patience thing. It helps me calm down to keep the following in mind:

  • One of my go-to affirmations: “It is NOT that serious.” Really though, people in the Philippines just got hit with a massive typhoon and I’m bugging out because I got hit with someone’s fake Louis bag without receiving an “excuse me” on the freaking 1 train?? Of course, that doesn’t make it any less annoying in the present moment, but it sure helps put things in perspective.
  • Believe it or not, not everyone was raised to have common decency. I grew up with an old school Italian grandmother and mother who are sticklers for etiquette and taught me the “right” ways to do things from the time I could understand English. They taught me about respect. But not everyone has had the same upbringing.
  • You never know what someone’s going through. Who knows, maybe the lovely lady who stepped on your toes with her stiletto sans apology normally has manners but just got fired, or dumped someone, or lost a loved one, etc. etc. etc. and is just out of it. The world can be harsh. We need to learn to give one another a break.
  • Me serving up some “I will cut a bitch” attitude isn’t going to help the greater good, in fact it makes it worse. (Shocker!) We tend to emulate what we see going on around us. The more we walk around with a chip on our shoulder, the more we make doing so the norm. If more of us were to do the opposite, the more likely it is that THAT would become the norm.

I should also mention that certainly not EVERYONE does the things I mentioned in my rant. In fact, I’d venture to say that most people I ride the train with tend to abide by the unspoken decent commuter “rules”. The ones that don’t just stick out more.

What tests your patience like nothing else? Do you “Keep Calm and Carry On” or totally lose your shit? 🙂

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