Thursday, May 22, 2008

Heightened senses on the subway

I just took the subway back from a customer meeting and had a few nervous moments with some urban hip youngsters. Three kids got on the subway one stop after I got on and quickly got to "joking" around with one another. The white guy was a little nervous about the body language from one of his black friends. I've got my head down reading the paper, but my spidey senses were tuned in to the situation. As the white kid retreats, the black kid reaches into his pocket. I'm a little nervous about the worst-case-scenario, but the kid pulls out a pencil, which he then continues to threaten his buddy with like a small hidden shiv. The banter then changes to talk of inappropriate black comments which raises the tension a little. I get off at my stop without any any further escalation in the situation. I expect it was all a little playacting between lads. In the old days it would be a little friendly wrestle or play slap, but in these times of racial tensions and "random" events, and you're in a busy subway car with a mix of shoppers, biz people, foreigners and children, you can almost see tomorrow's headlines. I think these street wise kids are smart enough to know what they are doing and like the power they have in these situations. Unfortunately, with a few stabbing events in the city this week and a drive through a dodgy neighbourhood a few days ago, I was far from my normal relaxed urban self. It doesn't happen too often, but occasionally I'm a little uncomfortable in my city. I don't like it.

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