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On the Metro, We Are All Top Dogs

We all adjust accordingly to the law of this underground land

By Sara Inés Calderón
Published on LatinoLA: July 9, 2012


On the Metro, We Are All Top Dogs


Riding the Metro is a hustle. There are no two ways about it. You gotta get in, get out, get goin' and get gone as fast as you can (the Metro itself doesn't always run on time, you see). And the most interesting part is, it doesn't matter who you are in the real world. When anyone enters the Metro, if you don't start acting like you're a top dog, you're going to get run over (in some cases, literally). 

I've seen grannies and unassuming short dudes shove past me in a hurry, or carelessly toss their bags against me to get out of the door before I do. I've seen middle-schoolers move past big, buff guys trying to get into train cars. And those quiet ladies reading romance novels while they wait for their stop? They'll bust you up with their canvas bags and sensible shoes if you don't move out of the way.

For me, it's enjoyable to watch the juxtaposition happen. 

In the world, we think of ourselves one way, and that's who we are. I love how the Metro allows us to transform, to become an entirely different person for just a few moments every day, but we inhabit that different version of ourselves often.

In a particular situation -- that of riding the Metro -- we all adjust accordingly to the law of this underground land. Grannies become hustlers, shy folks become pushy, top dogs become just part of the crowd, and depending on the length of my skirt, I become the idiot that falls on the stairs.

And then, once we're arriving at our destinations, stepping into the light and back to the real world, it's even more interesting to see us transition back into who we usually are.

Gaits slow, shoulders slump, brows unfurrow, and the tempo of everything slows down. Top dogs go back to being top dogs, unassuming folks go back to getting out of the way, shy people return to hanging back in the crowd. 

That is, of course, until tomorrow.

Related stories on LatinoLA.com

Does the public space of the Metro feel private to them? Do they even care?

The Metro: When LA Freedom Goes Underground





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