Tube Idiots

I haven't been going out much the past week, preferring instead to relax after my trip to Copenhagen. However, last night I made an exception for a friend visiting from San Francisco.

Coming home on the Central Line Tube, I sat down in the last place available next to two very drunk girls. Both were falling asleep and one had huge breasts spilling out of her top -- exposing all but nipples -- and guys were gradually making their way down to our end of the train and casually standing near her. It was looking ugly and I was a bit worried for them. I was right to be worried, but for a different reason.

As we got to the East Acton station, one of them (not Breast Girl), stood up and started lurching to the door. Her friend was yelling at her "Debbie, Debbie! No!". Debbie go to the door and it closed on her. Fortunately the doors won't close completely when blocked, but drunken Debbie looked confused and as the door opened, she collapsed to the ground and didn't move. The doors immediately closed and the train pulled away. Some people pulled out their phones, but Breast Girl stood up and said "don't call the police. I'll get her." She stumbled out at North Acton, apparently to catch the Tube back.

That's when the idiocy started. One girl wanted to dial 999 and the guys were arguing against it. "Her friend said not to call the police." "She's OK, she's only drunk!" Right. If she hit her head, she could be in serious trouble. Disgusted, I pulled out my phone and made the call, explaining the situation to emergency services.

Jerks. If I'm lying unconscious in a Tube station, it's horrifying to know that people will pretend nothing's wrong.
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This is why the past few months have been horrifying. Most people do not want to get involved, and you have to cross your fingers that people that do care will be in the right place and the right time to pick up the slack.

1: My paternal great-grandmother's second husband had a heart attack on a New York subway system one morning, and his body rode the trains all day.

2: About (I can't believe it's already) 18 years ago, a man fell unconscious on one of our main streets, and since he seemed homeless/poor, people merely stood around him saying nothing, and doing nothing. I went across the street and called 911. I got back and still no one had moved.

3: On Friday, a man had passed out, half on the sidewalk, half on the grass. Everybody walked by, many with cell phones. I wasn't too sure what was going on, but since he was in front of a parking lot, I asked the parking attendant to call someone. He said he already had, the police came round already, concluded he had a bit too much too drink and was sleeping it off. Since his body was mostly only on the grass and he seemed ok, they decided to continue to let him sleep. I thanked him for taking time to see if the guy was ok and get him some help. He thanked me for being the only person who seemed to not ignore the sleeping guy in the past 30 minutes. It is a very busy street.

People are idiots.

If someone is that drunk they're in serious danger of alcohol poisoning!
And that doesn't even take into account any 'medicines' she might have taken, or have been fed withut her knowledge.
She might also have a medical condition that increases the danger of injury or death...

You definitely did the right thing when you called.

If I'm lying unconscious in a Tube station, it's horrifying to know that people will pretend nothing's wrong.

Um, welcome to Britain?


Much of America's finger-in-ears-lalala pretending-that-nothing's-wrong comes from our British heritage. Britain has been pretending that all of its social ills aren't a problem for centuries.

Even I know that, and I am totally in love with the place...

Unfortunately, the lying-to-one's-self crowd is much larger than you think. All over the world, people pretend nothing is wrong. It is how people deal with being religious, with living under oppressive regimes, with war, with [insert bad thing here]. It is a psychological protection mechanism, and until people don't need that protection, it won't go away.

M and I are making plans to go to Europe. It will probably be 2010. I hope to enjoy awareness with you on the Tube.

Edited at 2008-08-25 04:04 pm (UTC)