This morning I got yelled at by high school kids on the subway. The train was pretty crowded as we arrived at 59th St., and I was standing up and trying to move around the man positioned between me and the door. "Excuse me," I said evenly. "Excuse me. Excuse me." I didn't raise my voice or anything - this guy was just a bit oblivious. The window of opportunity to disembark the train was shrinking - soon people would be pressing themselves into the car. I made my way around the man, towards the doors, and encountered a wave of high school kids coming into the train.
I have developed a certain (extremely conditional) fondness for the urban Manhattan high school kid: decked out in the latest hip hop gear, blaring rap songs through tinny cellphone speakers, loud and rowdy but not especially crude or threatening. They're just like teenagers anywhere, but maybe more ethnic and style-conscious, as well as more exotically named.
As I pushed my way out, jostling against the surge of kids shoving themselves on the train, I heard them: "Awwww, MAN," "Geez," "Come ON," sucking their teeth at me derisively. They thought I was a moron for not getting off the train quickly enough. And, then, miraculously, in my own "Dangerous Minds" moment, I heard a girl say: "Hey, it's not his fault, he was trying to get out!" I looked at her plaintively and said, in an unintentionally Ross Geller-ish way, "THANK yoouu." I could hear them laugh as I escaped the subway car. I did a quick check to make sure I had my wallet, phone, keys, Ipod - and I was all set. It was a good start for the day.