I saw an interesting exchange on the subway during my trip home the other day. There was a guy between cars jumping and swinging around while yelling. Of course, you aren't really supposed to move between cars or ride where this guy was, but people do it all the time.
Well, whatever he was doing, was really moving around and screaming. I thought I was witnessing my second near-suicide since moving to New York. Apparently, another lady had similar thoughts and she jumped up to pull the emergency stop.
When dude saw what she was doing, he went crazy. He started screaming at her and then chased her back to her seat. At least he was back in the car at this point. This is where the social aspect of the exchange got interesting because everyone started intently not paying attention to what was going on.
For the next couple of stops, the guy stayed in the back of the car. He was telling other people, very loudly, about how stupid this lady was. Of course, he used other words for her. During this time, everyone was trying hard to avert their eyes.
After a stop or two, he returned to where the lady was now seated and yelled at her nonstop for another stop or two. She was trying hard not to acknowledge him and everyone else was busily finding a way to pay attention to something else - or at least look like they were.
Finally, mr psycho guy left the train again. He went between the cars and was bouncing around again. He then entered the next car and there was a visible sigh of relief from everyone in our car. Shortly thereafter, people were talking to the lady - congratulating and reassuring her and so on. She left at the next stop.
During the exchange, I was curious what people would think if the guy did fall off the train and die. The lady was the only one that tried to do something (at first). Were we all secretly hoping he would fall off? If he did die, would we all say "oh well" or would we feel bad for not interfering?