It’s the Quiet Car. Quiet. There is no prohibition for dining in a Quiet Car. Or in any car for that matter.
You may be Pro-Life or Pro-Choice. You may be Vegetarian. You may believe in Global Warming. You may be a member of the NRA or for Gun Control. You may be for or anti Keystone Pipeline or fracking. Voucher or Public School. Whatever. As long as you aren’t in my face with your POV, I’m good. With one exception: Dining on public transportation. Don’t like it. Don’t do it. Find it deplorable.
6:35 p.m. Metro North departing from Grand Central Station to parts North.
It’s a six-seater, with four persons. Three people is manageable. Four is crowded. As the fourth piles in, the other three, me included, grumble. The commuter code is broken.
I’m knee to knee with a student, who has cracked open a pre-packaged salad, its perfume, sesame ginger dressing, spills into the cabin. She spreads out her napkins and proceeds to dive in with her plastic fork. Mixed mesclun greens. Julienne sliced red bell pepper. Water chestnuts. Baby Corn. All coated and shimmering in dressing. She catches me sliding my knees into the aisle. One Human feels discomfort in another Human. She wraps the dish in the plastic bag offering additional spillage protection and looks up. I grin. A sort-of thank you cheetah-like grin. Just one drop on me and there will be an explosion in this train car. She gingerly spears her greens and uses the plastic bag as a splash guard. Graying Mustachio Man looks unpredictable, eyes have that crazed look, best not to test him.
Sitting diagonally across, is another Deplorable. Wired up with fire-red Beats ear buds, she tears into a bag of Veggie Chips. Chips, not so bad. She’s wearing all black, black top, black pants, black shoes. Trying hard. Middle aged. Eating Veggie Chips. Black to cut a sleek look. Yoga or Soul Cycle on weekends.
Her hand dips into the bag, grabs a chip and pops it into her mouth. While she chews, she fully extends her right hand into the middle of the aisle and vigorously rubs her index, thumb and forefinger – flicking the Veggie Chip salt between three sets of knees and the seats. That didn’t just happen, no, it did not. Are those Veggie salt-motes dancing in the hissing florescent lamp light?
She dips back into the bag, pops another chip into her mouth and goes through the same routine again.
And again, until she finishes her bag of Veggie Chips.
She folds the bag up neatly in quarters, grabs the armrest, stands, and heads for the restroom.
Do you think she does that at home?
Does a hired hand clean-up?
Categorically defined as Human or Animal behavior?