We all know the cars on the New Haven line are gross. To be honest though, as a regular on the “bloodline,” (named for the red motif used on the trains,) the squalor isn’t usually forefront on my mind. I learned pretty quickly to recognize and avoid the dreaded bathroom cars and to keep my carry-on luggage off the floor to avoid contact with the miscellaneous muck that has congealed there.
Now and then though something happens to remind you just how nasty the New Haven line is. A couple of months back I was sitting in an aisle seat on my normal train home, when a certain scurrying on the floor caught my eye. “Ok it’s just a roach” I thought. “No big deal.” He was a row up, well out of footshot, and heading to the seats on the other side of the aisle. To my dismay, a few moments later another one appeared. Despite his resemblance to the first guy, it was apparent based on his trajectory that he was not the same bug. A moment later yet another one appeared.
At this point it was apparent that the car was alive with bugs. Here’s where things get confusing…what does one do in this situation? Should I make a bold move to stomp anything within 10 feet? Should I run up and down the car warning my fellow commuters like some kind of entymological Paul Revere? Or should I just keep focused on defending my own personal space and allow others to fend for themselves?
As options one and two seemed to go against the commuter code of non-interference, I went for number three. I spent the rest of the ride tapping my feet at random intervals and convincing myself that that tickly feeling was just my imagination.
As for the rest of the riders I did hear a scream or two from a few rows back, but strangely the guy across the aisle didn’t to seem to react when one disappeared up his pant leg.
Yeah I saw it happen, but what was I going to do?