Born To Be Mild
Stay Out Of It
By Liz Black
I am not an adventurous person. I was never one for all night parties, sex without regret, and experimentation of anything illegal, mind-altering, or past it’s expiration date. All my life, I thought it was shameful to be so tame, but I’ve finally learned to embrace it. It’s who I am. So here I am. Liz Black, born to be mild.
When I see something like this ridiculous Subway Spaghetti Brawl (sponsored by Ronzoni and Everlast) happen, whether I watch it from the safety of my own cubicle, or witness it firsthand in public, I get anxious. First and foremost, I wonder what I can do to extract myself from the situation. (“How many more stops till we’re at my stop? Five? Shit. Well, I guess I could get out at 14th Street and find something to do just to make it look like I was planning to get off there in the first place.”) Then I wonder whose side I should be on.
I’ve been on the subway so many times where two people start an argument, usually on an extremely crowded train after someone pushes their way on, and I automatically start to wonder who has the better case. Who is the victim here? It has never ever once come to a point where my two cents were necessary (I mean, really, would it ever come to that? “You there with the ponytail, the one re-reading the subway map as if you’re memorizing every line that goes to Jamaica Station, what’s your take on all this?”), and sometimes my loyalty changes if person A, who originally had a really valid point about being pushed by person B all of a sudden becomes horribly racist, entitled, or relentless. There really is a type of New Yorker who doesn’t accept apologies and will continue to berate even after an “Excuse me” is issued and that’s just not necessary.
But even though I’m mentally trying to People’s Court the situation, my mantra is Stay Out Of It. Sure, my mind races with all the ways that I’d intervene if necessary, or what I’d say if Person A really was more like Crazy Person A and was like “Don’t YOU think I’m right?” I don’t know! Maybe? I’m just trying to Stay Out Of It. I realize that most effective people in the world are the ones who actually participate in things, they try to change the status quo, they break up subway fights because they are good people who hate conflict and a-holes. I appreciate those people. But I have Angry Birds to play and an Approval Matrix to read and all I want to do on my commute is get to work while Staying Out Of It. Life would be so much easier if I had a car. But then of course, life would imitate Seinfeld and parking would be a whole ‘notha headache.