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December 5, 2005

Saying Something

This morning I took a seat on a crowded 79th Street cross town bus and closed my eyes. When they fluttered open at Madison Avenue, I found several sets of eyes jumping from my feet to my face and back again. I was peering back quizzically wondering if I had stepped in something when the woman across from me mouthed there�s a bag beneath your seat. I bent over and looked. Sure enough, there was a rather large, full backpack attached to some sort of metal sitting by itself beneath the seat bank. By that time, no one else was sitting next to me.

At first, I rolled my eyes. Someone, I was sure, forgot to take their things with them when they got off the bus. Then I became annoyed. If all of these people were staring nervously at the lone baggage, why didn�t they say something to the driver? Was it my responsibility because I was sitting on top of it? Then I became frightened. I was sitting on top of a mystery bag. Should I move? Should I say something? Would I be that person who caused the evacuation of an entire bus because of someone�s lost belongings?

I thought about this for another stop. I grew more uneasy with each second, hating myself for worrying but given the state of this world, feeling just in my concern. I had made up my mind to tell the bus driver at Central Park West when a man seated toward the middle of the bus strode by, child in tow, and fished beneath my seat. He dragged out the backpack attached to a metal stroller and stepped off the bus.

The people across from me now looked out the window. I breathed deeply, feeling rather silly. Still, I could not help thinking What if?

Posted by callalillie at December 5, 2005 9:39 AM | City Life , My Country


People are freaking out all over the city about this stuff, and I say better safe than sorry...I was in Penn Station the other day when someone reported that a bag was sitting by itself on a seat in the waiting area. The Amtrak guy rolled his eyes and radioed a cop, who came with two National Guard guys in tow. They fished through the bag and were carrying it off when the bag's owner came back into the waiting area and saw his bag about to be carried off. He was given a stern warning and the bag was returned. Whether the threat is real or imagined, people should know better than to leave their stuff unattended, thereby freaking every one out for no reason. Imagine living in a place like Israel (which I have)...a bag unattended is indeed a scary thing.

Posted by: Nancy at December 5, 2005 6:16 PM

I was questioned by a cop this morning at 72nd Street as to whether I had any knowledge about the owner of an abandoned walker sitting on the platform. I thought that was truly strange.

Posted by: corie at December 6, 2005 10:50 AM

I saw an (apparently) abandoned suitcase in Union Square this morning - at the top of the stairs leading to the platform. I had much the same thoughts. I decided it was way too big and obvious to be a bomb... and then my train came, before I could look around for the owner.

Posted by: ms. frizzle at December 7, 2005 6:19 PM

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