I used to commute into downtown everyday by train. Now, I know that some of you may romanticize this idea. I guess I did myself in the beginning. It sounds so nice to say that you take the train to work. But here's a story that will probably repaint that picture for you.
The unspoken rule for this commute, especially the morning part, is not to engage with other commuters. Don't talk out loud, make eye contact, or, goodness forbid, smile. People appreciate quiet. They like to read their newspapers and do the work necessary to switch into work mode.
Day in and day out of this will slowly squelch a positive spirit.
One particular morning, years into this commute, well after I'd adjusted to this atmosphere and accepted the commuter club's rules as law, something happened. I was reading my book, only aware enough of my surroundings to know how far away my stop was. The train was packed full but fortunately I had a seat.
Through the morning quiet a voice, small at first, said in a nice British accent "Madam...Madam?" And then again. And yet again. I stopped reading and considered "Could I be "madam"?" So, I looked up. The man said then, in his pretty and calm British accent mind you, "There is a cockroach on your shoulder."
Well, let me just tell you that I freaked out. I jumped out of my seat and screamed "Help me! Get it off of me! Somebody get it off me!"
After the nasty bug was knocked off my shoulder, I looked around at all of the faces of commuters that I had offended with my unlawful outburst. Some were tickled by what happened. Others were definitely not amused. I knew without a second thought what I had to do. I got off the train on the next stop to get on the next one and slip into comfortable anonymity. No one on this train knew me as the girl who freaked out.