Last night on the uptown IRT, packed train, rush hour. As we approach 181st Street, the conductor says, “I would advise the passenger who is smoking to get off at the next station. The authorities have been notified.”
I’ve seen people smoke on the train before, kids used to love smoking blunts in the last car back when. Mostly, anyone who smokes on the subway is furious or crazy or both. But to do it on a crowded train? That takes chutzpah.
[Photo Credit: John F. Conn]
Years ago, when I was younger and perhaps more reckless, and at a time when a cop regularly walked through the subway cars, I ratted out a smoker to a cop passing by (the guy hid the cigarette when he saw the cop). After the cop dressed him down and walked away, the guy gave me a dagger-eye stare the rest of my trip. Lucky for me, he didn't follow me when I got off.
A nation of snitches. How about litterers? The more serious the crime reported, the less reliable the reporter need be. But, reporting a smoker? How about, "could you put the cigarette out, please."
But who am I to talk? I don't ride the trains anymore.
Here in the hinterlands, a morning jogger complained to the police about a mysogynistic message spoken too loudly, she thought, by a driver who stopped in an intersection to allow her to cross the street (drivers have to yield to pedestrians in VT). She thought the driver was the rappper. Her complaint also noted what the speaker allegedly wanted to do something to her body. The cops chased him down. At first they charged him with dis con based on the use of language, including the "F" word, which is borderline illegal here. To put pressure on the violator to take a plea and pay a fine, they added some charges based on the volume of the radio (we have noise in the nighttime laws, too), in addition to a subjective provision which requires the citizen to state they felt threatened. The driver who was on his way home after working third shift missed some time coming to court, but ultimately the charges were dismissed. How does ya think he feels about the system.