If you don’t pay attention these days, you miss big announcements. For example, while I apparently was in a coma, someone organized The Subway Olympics. Unfortunately, the opening ceremonies lacked some of the fanfare of those other Olympics, held earlier this year. It would have been nice to see Daniel Craig and/or the Queen or the Spice Girls again. Instead, all I got was a hobo falling asleep on my shoulder. Majestic.
Now I cannot claim to have seen ALL of the events; as you know, different events take place in different venues. But fortunately, I have witnessed firsthand several heats of The D Train 5-yard Dash. Here’s how it works:
The train pulls into the 71st street station in Brooklyn. Spectators inside the train have an opportunity to watch the Commuter-Athletes jostling for position on the platform outside. A cup of coffee is dropped. Is it a diversion planned by a wily contestant? That is for the sports commentators to decide.
Then the subway car doors open, signaling the start of the event. The participants scurry in and plop their well-trained, yet surprisingly flabby, derrieres on the limited number of empty seats. Extra points seemingly are awarded for forgoing the empty space next to the sleeping hobo (see above) and/or finding 2 unoccupied seats next to one another and somehow occupying both of them simultaneously.
The the subway doors close, signaling the end of the heat. Muffled curses are heard among the losers and the winners promptly fall asleep. The rest of the spectators and I do not cheer. But there is silent admiration for these brave and committed athletes who have given up so much (that is, their dignity) to follow their dreams of a seated ride to work.
And to them we say, “Excuse me buddy, this is my stop.”