Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Socializing subway car

One car in every subway train marked "socializing car"
  (+22, -4)(+22, -4)
(+22, -4)
  [vote for,

We usually avoid eye contact and try to appear sullen on the subway, though there's a potential small party in every car. It's natural, with complete strangers in close quarters. I'm often knocked out realizing all the vastly different lives jammed together there.

Late nights, however, you might enter a car where the social atmosphere from the bars spills out into the subway, and you find yourself in a car with lots of friendly chattering.

Why not make this explicit? Mark one car in every train "Social car" where talking to others is not taboo.

syost, Jul 18 2000

In and Out of Elevators in Japan http://www.mundaneb...ues/v1n1/caesar.htm
Article on behavior of Japanese people in elevators [boris, Jul 18 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Definition of "mizu shobai" (water trade) http://www.oldmenswar.com/glossary.htm#M
From the glossary to the novel "Old Men's War", present on the website in serial installments. [mwburden, Jul 18 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

“You Know You Have Been In Finland Too Long, When... “ http://www.ruthvilm...messages/10008.php3
4) You hear loud-talking passengers on the train. You immediately assume: [LoriZ, Jul 18 2000, last modified Oct 21 2004]

You know when you've been in the HB too long when.. http://www.nysun.co...ticle.asp?artID=151
You start posting people's links for them.. [yamahito, Sep 03 2002, last modified Oct 04 2004]


       Maybe it would be better to look at it from the other point of view, and designate one car as a "sustained silence" car...
kimby2, Jul 18 2000

       Or how about a rear dining car? I often sneak a burger and fries onto the subway late at night and ignore the darts from fellow hungry travellers as I multi-task and arrive home already fed. How much better it would be to sit on a stool and share the day's events while dining truly a la carte. (hee hee)
dmclachlan, Jul 19 2000

       The problem with special carriages on trains is that when the system is overcrowded (i.e. all the time in London) you're forced to get on the 'special' carriage because that may be the only place with any space. You'd then be either forced to socialise or (worse!) suffer the greasy odour of a whole carriage-full of McDonald's burgers. This always happened when trains had smoking carriages - it was a choice between being crushed in normal carriages or suffocated in the smoking carriage.
hippo, Jul 19 2000

       Socializing wouldn't be forced (a cop taps you: "you haven't said anything for ten minutes -- outta here!"), it's just OK. At rush hour when you're jammed nose to nose, most folks are disinclined to hobnob anyway, even with friends.   

       You could even read a book in this car. It's just more likely that someone would ask you if it's interesting.
syost, Jul 19 2000

       It's kinda like Starbucks. In most restaurants or coffee shops talking to others is taboo. But all that seems to be left at the door at Starbucks. I think that's one of the secrets behind Starbucks -- they create, through line ups, newspapers, comfy chairs, "game nights", and chair placement, an atmosphere that encourages extraordinary interaction with other people.
eagle, Jul 19 2000

       I'm on the subway every morning, and everybody is reading the free local news, some friends are talking and everybody listens quietly to what they have to say.. most of the time its crap.. anyhow.. I don't think your idea is going to work (i like it.. but?).   

       Most poeple are to shy these days, you aslo see it in bars/cafe's/nightclubs.. there are few people that are really being thereselves.. its true ;)
enveekaa, Jul 19 2000

       You get the same problem on buses. I know an awful lot of people by sight but nothing at all about them, not even names. I've managed to get one or two chatting but it's a slow process - a nod of recognition every now & again building up to an eventual "Hi!" and then a flood of complaints about how late the bloody bus is. Hardly worth the effort really. Stick to a good book is my advice.
DrBob, Jul 20 2000

       I had the idea to have an 'Americans' compartment in the train between Amsterdam and Paris besides designated smoking and non-smoking coaches. It's a bit the opposite of your idea. We all love Americans for being so... uhm... communicative... expressive... and open and friendly with complete strangers. Don't we? But I really feel ripped if I find out that my expensive seat on the international train is one with Americans nearby. The whole trip is wasted, you can't read, think or sleep and only listen to... well, let's not get rude. I know that I have to blame myself and should put on a discman, pretent not to understand English etcetera. Instead of trying to educate and to give them mini-history lessons, point out details, cultural and regional differences or traditions and to make them look out of the window silently instead of endlessly chattering without any a priori thinking, endlessly rephrasing who, where, when and what. Meanwhile demonstrating painfully my inability to keep small talk small by ignoring my 'why' questions. I would definitely visit the Americans/socialising car incidentally for some brief trivial diversion, but give me my seat in the quiet car I pay for. I don't want to be exhausted upon arrival.   

rrr, Aug 02 2000

       They should also have a "self-socializing" car....for all the freaks on the subway that talk to themselves! You gotta love the LA subway...
caspuh, Aug 03 2000

       When I lived in dorms and ate in a cafeteria, I occasionally looked at those booths with one person in them and thought there should be a 'yes, sit down, it's OK' placard one could put up. I've had some pretty good conversations with randoms. So I like the subway idea. ('Course, I also like syost's 'sociality cop' idea, in a half-baked sort of way, so . . . )
eritain, Aug 12 2000

       First of all, given the sketchy view that many of you seem to have towards Americans, I propose United States Pride trains riding all over the world spewing tasty McDonald's hamburgers everywhere, billowing conversation from amplifiers and being generally obnoxious and stereotypically American. Now that that's out of my system, I have noticed that the trend, at least my last few mornings in the New York Subway, is distinctly away from social and more towards violent, aggressive, and hostile. Yesterday, a woman pushed another womans hand out of her way without so much as a word. Today, a man chastized a woman for asking for more space, told her to shut up, and then a woman getting off against the tide called everyone "fucking idiots." So, I think instead of the social car, it should be the reasonable or humane car, and it would be disconcertingly empty.
f_kedge, Aug 24 2000

       They actually have the silence cars on the Heathrow Express trains. But the NYC subway really needs a car for "social smells" -- those odors that get around. Like Ronnie sez: "New York is a land of many smells."
phunklerot, Aug 24 2000

       I've attached a link to a story on Japanese behavior in elevator cars. This is a marked diference from the "chikan" phenomenon on Japanese subway cars...in which unscrupulous and dirty-minded men take advantage of the crush of bodies to fondle women in the crowd...   

       Personally, I like my trips sullen.
boris, Sep 15 2000

       That elevator story was interesting...What means 'water trade', though? I couldn't find an explanation...<Disclaimer: I'm at work and brane ded after 10 hours...>
StarChaser, Sep 15 2000

       I like it -- but then again, I am one of those annoying gregarious Americans. Sometimes I feel like talking, other times not.
nreilly, Oct 15 2000, last modified Oct 16 2000

       It's often the amazing diversity of people on the subway -- diversity on the scale that you don't find in a village -- that'd make social-subway-surfing interesting.
syost, Oct 16 2000

       ...or the village idiot?
syost, Oct 26 2000

       It's interesting that this is the most controversial topic on the Best list, with 1/3 of the croissants balanced by fish at the moment.
syost, Nov 12 2000

       [Starchaser] "Water trade" is the social scene involving bars, brothels, and the like. See the definition of "mizu shobai" in the glossary under links.
mwburden, Dec 29 2000

       Ah, so desu...thanks. I kind of figured it was something like that, but it wasn't really clear...
StarChaser, Dec 30 2000

       I was on the A train the other week when these dudes got on with a big boom-box. Some girls on the train started dancing and I (and most of the people on the train) joined in. We all knew the lyrics and sang them. It was great. Sometimes if you ride the S there's this busker who tells you to "stay on the train and keep groovin'" I've never stayed on with him, but a few people do.
futurebird, Jul 10 2001

       Baked in a commercial for Smirnoff Ice (or maybe MGD). They turn a subway car into a party.
MuddDog, Jul 10 2001

       Would such cars work on commuter trains in areas such as the Northeast Corridor of the United States, the Houston area, the Dallas/Fort Worth area or the San Francisco Bay area? Granted some of these don't have commuter transit systems which are sophisticated enough for such cars, but perhaps some day they will. From what I've heard about the traffic in those areas, they probably need commuter rail systems anyway nowadays.
JoeBader1, Aug 23 2001

       How about instead of a socialising car, having a socialist car? It can be stocked full of late thirtysomething men with beards sipping spirits deciding wether the people in the other cars are bourgeois or not. [OK, bad pun acknowledged, please don't throw things at me]
sdm, Aug 23 2001

       yeah random people on the underground are good. people on the tube tend to avoid even looking at each other so it'd be nice to have a carriage where it's ok to get chatting... i don't know why i'm saying this as i loathe talking to strangers on the train/bus. but then if they're all in one carriage it keeps them out of the way, i suppose. the good and the bad: once when i was on the paris metro an old man got on and asked for a few minutes of our time, and then recited some poetry. when he finished (and everyone was transfixed) he thanked us and got off. i wonder if he was going anywhere or just spent his time getting on & off trains. but then a few days later i was 'got' by a horrible man in a green shirt, feeling me up in the crush. i pushed him and everyone glared at me for pushing the poor middle aged man...
ciccia, Aug 23 2001

       Baked! http://www.nysun.com/sunarticle.asp?artID=151
syost, Sep 03 2002

       syost, please use the link button under the idea, as generously provided by Jutta for (guess what?) posting links.
yamahito, Sep 03 2002


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