It should be a legal requirement of citizenship that you have ridden the subway during rush hour at least once.
I understand that this is a radical view that promises to disenfranchise about 2/3rds of the country. That is only one of the plan’s upsides. The way I see it there is no greater way to integrate someone into American society than to expose them to the raw, soul-flaying experience of trying to get home amid a sea of angry office workers.
The other day when the trains were backed up, and I was waiting on the fifth completely full train to pass, a man shouted down the tunnel, “Come on baby, don’t be afraid.” He said that to a train. We didn’t feel weird about it. We agreed. That train was our baby too, and we needed it to come and open itself up to us. In that moment we were all united in our desire to sweet talk an inanimate object—and that unity of purpose to accomplish the impossible is what this country is all about.
Of course this country is also all about extreme competition. This essence is captured when the train doors open and you have the opportunity to lunge into the doors like it is the last helicopter out of Saigon. It is likely you will cut off between 1–10 elderly people or children. True patriots don’t feel guilt. The ability to move around the city belongs to taxpayers.
Now that we’ve practiced the great American values of ambition and competition we come to our final virtue—tolerance. When you are in a metal tube that contains roughly 10 pounds of human flesh per square inch, you will ask yourself questions that no one else is asking. Questions like “hey, if I took my backpack off we could probably fit a whole other person in here.” They will be asking themselves their own questions, like “I wonder if everyone here has heard Old Town Road. I better make sure.” At first you will want to scream, but there is no room on the train for that kind of outburst. You will need to accept that every commuter is a monument to solipsism.
In time, you will be too.