A brawl or a melee of some sort — my dad used to call them — jams. “Be ready,” he said. “To take cover or get out. And make sure you always know where the exits are.”
This past week coming home from work on the subway train nearly got caught in a jam.
The blue line didn’t have any delays, and we had just stopped at Airport station (unlike the film not the stop before Wonderland). A group of high school aged kids were talking and being kind of loud, they all had large soda drinks from Burger King with them.
No one paid them much attention. School is pretty much out, kids are blowing off steam and either starting summer jobs or perhaps summer school after the July 4th holiday.
Two (2) girls were slight, blondish and haughty, there were four (4) boys pretty homogenous and then there was him. Mr. Ringleader, the head of the clique or this group of thuggish kids, about six (6) feet tall wearing shorts and a tee shirt with a baseball cap of some sort. White Nike sneakers with black or dark gray socks.
Anyway just before the train door’s closed — Mr. Ringleader threw his soda cup now apparently except for ice — right through the doors and onto the edge of the platform. Which means it will melt and become a slippery puddle, etc.
Was sitting a few seats down from where the girls were standing and hanging onto the overhead strap. Sort of shook my head a little thinking how rude and awful when a woman about my age — because entered the “ma’am era” awhile back, was standing next to the door, and she took her earbuds out and said to him, “You didn’t just really do that did you?”
This lady though was no “ma’am” but a tough cookie. Reminded me years ago of girls in groups Papa Gino’s pizza in Revere after the movies — all I had to do was walk in with assorted friends, before they appeared, multiplied and threatened to beat us up simply for stepping in the door.
Oh I thought, been here before, here it comes.
But to my surprise Mr. Ringleader did not curse at her, he frowned and said defiant: “Yeah right.”
She continued, “There are trash cans all over the place and now someone is going to have to pick up your crap.”
And got really quiet. Felt like all the guys in the train car were just watching and waiting for the Ringleader’s next move.
“Yeah right,” he said again, but agreeing more and signaling his friends, “Uh huh — That’s right.”
“You think that is funny?” This woman asked in full Joe Pesci mode but he ignored her. She put back her earbuds and said, “I fear for our future.”
For the rest of the way they talked and snickered — the girls sort of looked at me like: “Just try to say something to us.” Gave them a solitary dismissive frown and then looked away ignoring them until my stop.
Of course they got off at my stop. And was worried they hailed from my town. Was wondering if they were children of folks I went to school with growing up?
Hung back and they got off first. They did not queue to wait for the bus to my town, and they walked up the hill out of the station and into the street — looking over their shoulders — not sure why. Maybe they figured someone may have texted transit police — and actually I have to see if you can do that.
The girls crossed over the traffic bridge going one way with one of the boys the other three and Mr. Ringleader walked over the pedestrian bridge toward the intersection, where I’m presuming they crossed against the lights and played in oncoming traffic.
Entitled, bad behavior which is common, and we see it everyday.
Luckily there was no gun, or knife, and it didn’t get physical.
Still a jam is a jam.