Thanks, But I’ll Stand

Awkward situation on the 5:46 yesterday. I was cutting it pretty close and had to take part in the ignominious group sprint down the ramp to the platform. I jumped on the train just ahead of the blinking lights and headed to the back, where a few aisle seats usually remain open.

Spying none, I eyed the last resort: A folding seat at the front of the car.

One was open, but a man occupied the one across from it. It’s a tight squeeze if both folding seats are being used; one sitter would probably have to sit with his legs facing forward, and the other with his/her legs to the side, to avoid unwanted intercourse on the ride home.

The man in the folding seat–45, gray beard–was sleeping, and his legs were far enough out that I couldn’t fold down the seat without hitting them. Do I wake him and ask him to straighten up? Do I let him sleep and opt to stand in the vestibule? What’s the protocol here? What would Mileposts say?

Perhaps owing to the good will I encountered with Little G in tow last week, or maybe being simply happy to have made the 5:46, I let the bastard sleep. I also figured there was a chance he’d wake up when the train took off, or when we stopped at 125th, or when the conductor came around for tickets.

But he didn’t. Maybe he was faking. Maybe he’d had a rough day. Maybe he’d had a sleepless night, up with a baby he and the wife hadn’t expected (he was, after all, fully gray), or up all night grieving because the wife up and left for some Italian former soccer star who had been seeding their lawn. Sleeping off a rough night of bourbon and Nyquil, perhaps.

Not sure what Graybeard’s story was. But I let him be.

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