Cold Sweat

Cold Sweat


I’m just sit there

I don’t say anything

I don’t even look in your direction

my eyes on my feet

on my travel mug

on my smart phone

like everyone else

in transit


not looking at anyone

pulling our bodies tight

lest we brush another person

lest we be accused

of staring

of invading another’s privacy


I don’t need restraints

to feel restrained

to feel the fear

of being too close

even when we are shoved

so close

in transit


so close

we break out into a cold sweat

fearful of enjoying the closeness

or that someone might

enjoy being this close to us


get back

don’t look at me

I’m here

but not here

This was written pre-pandemic so there no mention of masks. Even then I took the TTC as little as possible & only for destinations that were too far to walk to. When I did use transit  I was one of those who retreated behind the shield of an e.reader & for decades also my iPod. I stopped the iPod to hear all important announcements & also have one less thing to worry about when I was on the go. I still don’t hear those announcements though & when I can make them I’m not sure what they are telling me.

But that’s not what this piece is about. It’s about personal space & how we react to having it encroached upon & is there a polite way to ignore it. Travellers acting as if it’s your personal fault they can’t sit down, can’t get out fast enough when the doors open, can’t look up to see where they are going, can’t step out of the way when you are getting off while they have to get on. 

If one is indifferent to this snug sardine travel there is a hint that you are some sort of pervert – a subway masher using this context as an opportunity to be crushed into another person – maybe it’s your only real person-to-person contact in a world where we now are required, most of the time, to social distance – where we are often forced off the sidewalk into on-coming traffic, so as not to breathe on pack of mothers pushing baby carriages while walking their dogs. But that’s another blog 🙂

We spend spend so much energy on being focused enough to see where we are going while not seeing who else is around us we’ve become a culture in which we don’t see an assault, a robbery, we can’t be reliable witnesses. The cellphone, security camera has become our eyes. We only look closely in the privacy of our homes.

Hey! Now you can give me $$$ to defray blog fees & buy coffee – sweet,eh? 

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