I don’t own a car and enjoy not having to drive in the city. In New York, the subway is efficient and easy and we use it daily. Although I could complain about etiquette, filthy conditions, the odor in the elevators, I won’t. Actually, I have gotten use to passengers picking their noses, then grabbing the poles with the same booger laden fingers, inhaling McDonalds and urine all in the same breath, and also grown men who aloofly refuse to step aside for our stroller to exit the car (and on a busy commute, I have missed my stop because the doors close). All of this is grubby, nasty animalistic behavior has become part of taking the subway; however, I will never become comfortable with my growing anxiety about my child’s and my physical safety in the subway and riding on the train. The guy who rides the C train on the UWS and rattles his can yelling “spare an apple spare an orange” appears absolutely harmless and yet he stumbled and fell into my baby carriage when Elijah was only a few months old. Okay, I was mostly horrified that whatever bodily fluids secreting from this man were now on my small infant whose immune system was compromised at this point, but also, he could have injured my baby. I was and always am mentally and physically on guard on the subway. I won’t take the train if I am tired as I have to play defense for my life and for my child’s life. In that instance over 2 years ago, I pushed the man and pulled the stroller back. Close call, phew…. So this is my life on the subway system. Aside from people begging for money, whom once and a while I feel compelled to donate to, mentally ill human beings roam the bowels of the subways. When walking to the platform a week ago, I had a crazed lunatic with bright bulging red eyes and sweat dripping from his brow waving his hands wildly at me and screaming “Fuck you bitch, you ain’t nothing, look away stupid whore bitch” and spitting while he screamed vulgarities at me, all while pushing my 2 year old to the platform. Absolutely horrifying! As I am making my way to the train platform where trains travel at fastest 55 mph, I am contemplating “do I head back in his direction away from the platform or continue on”? We could be pushed. So I started a slow jog towards a large group of young men who may be able to physically fend the man off if he continued after us. A woman who had been next to me encouraged me to “not look back honey, don’t make eye contact and continue quickly”. We were fine. The man went somewhere else with his mad rant and I could hear the curses still echoing through the subway. This sort of situation isn’t the norm, but it happens and I have experienced more than my fair share of encounters with mentally unstable human beings on the subway. My point is, I never feel safe on the subway. I feel trapped and I am. I am trapped beneath the earth with masses of human beings and no way to escape if one of them is in a psychotic rage. I can only hope and pray upon the kindness of other healthy human beings, and for that thought alone, I have extreme anxiety.