On the D train

This morning there was a woman on the subway popping bubble wrap. She got on at 145th St, settled into a seat, and started popping, and she was still going when I got off at 59th. It wasn't the wimpy kind, either; the bubbles were huge, so that every time she popped one it sounded like a gun firing. POP! The arhythmic popping was impossible to tune out, like trying to fall asleep next to someone with sleep apnea. Several times it seemed as if she had stopped, and I started to relax, until POP! she snapped me out of it.

I kept my head down, ostensibly still playing iPhone solitaire, but my eyes were scanning the train, trying to figure out who was making the noise, hoping against hope that it was some kind of mechanical issue, because nobody would actually pop bubble wrap in the subway, right? POP! Wrong.

We all like to pretend we're the only person on the train. Headphones in our ears, eyes on our book or our Daily News or our sudoku puzzle, we try to block out everything and everyone around us. No one raises an eyebrow as a woman applies a full face of makeup during her morning commute. Twice in the past couple weeks I have been forced to hold onto a pole that has a napping man leaning his entire body against it, leaving me just the space next to his neck to grab on. And today in the subway, as I peered through hooded eyes at the woman popping bubble wrap, I realized that I was the only one looking. Even the people right next to her seemed blissfully unaware that it was even happening. POP! They waited patiently for their stop. POP! They turned the page of their book. POP! They stared at their phones.

While I was driven slowly crazy, never more thankful to be on an express train, and using every ounce of willpower not to stand up and scream, "Seriously? Bubble wrap?"

Clearly, I am not a real New Yorker.



  1. Put that in your file for future productions; Carmen popping bubble wrap instead of using castagnets...

  2. FYI-
    Bubble Wrap® Appreciation Day
    Monday January 26, 2009



  3. Oh, I'm sure it's already been done … in GERMANY.

  4. Wise Sop: Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me. Is this what it feels like to get Punked?!?!

  5. I think you should download a bubble wrap app, turn up the sound and get her back!

    Just kidding... maybe. :)

    I'm thinking that one could make a collection of short stories just from subway rides alone. The different characters that ride... amazing.


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