Web elusivefugitive.blogspot.com

Monday, December 20, 2004


I have to take a moment to explain very quickly, to those of you not living in Vienna, just what it's like to ride on public transportation with the native Austrians.

They hate you.

And I don't mean that in a personal kind of way. But really. If they don't know you...

They hate you.

That's just how it is. They aren't being cruel or mean, really. They just can't be arsed about you if you aren't already known to them. It's something that's apparent from the second you get into any kind of public transport in this country. It's everywhere. It's just how it is.

This in mind, consider the following story from my morning's commute.

This morning, I was taking an odd route to work. I was quietly, and of course diligently, working on a New York Times crossword in my fantastic new calendar - Geeky, yes. Back off. I like it. - while riding the underground. I'm usually pretty engrossed in my activities of crosswords or staring out the window on public transportation, preferring to avoid any and all eye contact with anyone. If working on a crossword, I occasionally look up and glance out the window, as if searching for inspiration or a bolt of lightning to hit me with the right answer. Sometimes I like to look up from my crossword just to tap my chin with my pen and stare at another transportation-taker, just to freak them out and make them uncomfortable, but only for a second or five.

So this morning, I glanced up and this odd looking older lady was sitting diagonally across the aisle from me, facing me. Her face was contorted in what appeared to be fear, and as she was facing me, I decided to glance over my shoulder to see just what it was that was scaring the living shit out of her. And there he was. A kid (I'm using this term loosely - he was in his 20's) who, just as I turned around, fell to the floor in a seizure in the next seat section up from mine. And then I looked around the traincar and saw people literally bolting for the doors to get out of the train at the next station. They would have climbed out the window if they could have fit through them. They would have pulled the brake on the train just to get the fuck out of there before he could get near them. Because really, folks, he was going somewhere fast. And by somewhere, I mean the floor.

And all of a sudden, two guys, from, I sweartagod, nowhere, calmly took over the situation, securing the guy so that he didn't thrash about too badly and hit his head, clearing his mouth of anything and another little old man, trying to calm the kid's dog, was cooing and saying sweet things towards the dog. Scary lady, after standing up and getting as close to the end of the traincar as possible, yelled at the two helpful guys to call the ambulance, which one of them did, calmly stating that they would get out at the next stop, telling them where that would be, and then coordinating with Nice Guy without cell phone to get the kid out of the train. Old helpful man took the dog's leash in hand, and at the next station, led the dog and owner + nice guy with cell phone carrying the kid + nice guy without cell phone carrying the kid onto the platform.

Not one person sat back down. In the entire traincar.

Site Meter