When the count got up to 8 people physically touching my body in the packed subway car this morning (one guy was actually sleeping standing up because, hey, no need to hang on to the pole when you’re packed in so tight), I thought it couldn’t get worse. And then it did.
At my final stop, a huge crowd surged to get on cutting off my escape. I locked eyes with one sturdy gal, one of the many who was also fighting like Hell to get out of the subway car, and proceeded to grab on to her for use as my battering ram. Did she mind that a crazy Laowai was physically touching her? Probably but I prefer to think that she appreciated the additional brute force needed to move in the mob scene. Teamwork in a time of need! Shouting at the top of my lungs, “GETTING OFF!” and not caring that they couldn’t understand a word I said because the surging masses could by God understand my no nonsense “GET THE F*&@ OUT OF MY WAY” tone and look, together she and I elbowed and pushed our way to safety. Alone, we might still be in that subway car or trampled to death but together we provided enough critical mass to move forward. Policeman were screaming at the crowd as the overcrowded train was barraged by more people trying to get on before others got off. This experience on my first day back from our trip to the U.S. was by far the scariest moment of my commuting life so far in Shanghai and that’s saying a lot. WELCOME HOME!