Sadly, I didn't have a camera with me when this happened, but I was first inspired to do a blog like this a few years ago, when I encountered my first Commutant.
I live in the Greater Boston area, and I am blessed with the need to use the services of the MBTA to get to and from work. I normally ride the Fitchburg line, but I do find myself on other lines at times in my life. These other sorties have proven to me that commutantus americanus is alive and well in these other ecosystems as well. You will be hearing from me and others about our experiences.
My first Commutant encounter was during my morning commute. We were somewhere in the vicinity of Concord when the Commutant approached me.
Now, I was sitting on a three person bench at the front of a red/blue seat car where there is a little more foot room where they make accomodations for a wheelchair. I was seated in the middle seat with my backpack on my left on the aisle seat, as I was saving the seat for my boss who was getting on in Lincoln. All around me were dozens of open seats. While waiting for the Lincoln stop, I had my headphones on and was grooving to a little Collective Soul.
The Commutant stops in front of my chair and says something while gesturing at my backpack. I hold up my hand in a "wait-a-second" gesture and then remove my headphones.
"I want to sit there." He points at my backpack.
"If you don't mind, I'm saving this spot..."
"WHAT! You can't save seats on the train. I want to sit there!" He actually stamped his foot in frustration.
"Look, my boss is getting on in Lincoln..."
"I don't care. You can't save seats on the train. I want to sit there and you have to move your bag." He half-heartedly reached out to move my bag, but I put my hand on it and straightened up in my chair and his hand retreated.
"My boss is getting on in two stops and besides, there are plenty of open seats there and there and..."
"I don't want to sit in those seats; I want to sit there."
I had had enough.
"Well you're not going to." I looked him straight in the eye as I said this and refused to look away.
He hesitated for a brief second, and I saw him decide not to push the issue. He "humphed" and sat down in the aisle seat across from me and continued to mumble under his breath. I replaced my headphones and returned to Collective Soul.
Two minutes later I get a text message from my boss, saying he'd gotten a late start, and was driving in instead.
I got nothing but black looks from the Commutant all the way to North Station when no one sat next to me at Lincoln.