I'm convinced that New Yorkers are so pissed off most of the time
because of the stress added to the mix by the rush hour subway
Even if you're not part of this sardine-esque (not a valid Scrabble
word) experience, you're probably dealing with 30 or so people a day
who are and who are pissed at you because you're just like the other
faceless strangers on the subway who take an active part in destroying
their lives bit by bit every morning.
If you ride the subway in NYC during rush hour, here are some tips:
You are NOT the center of the universe!
If there are people standing and no apparent seats,
CLOSE YOUR LEGS AND SLIDE OVER, ASSHOLE.
If you're not touching the person next to you on the seat,
THERE'S ROOM FOR SOMEONE ELSE TO SIT.
If the car is crowded, and you've just walked through the door,
THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE WAITING TO ALSO GET IN. DON'T JUST STAND
IN THE DOORWAY LIKE AN IDIOT.
When someone makes an attempt to be polite and say "excuse me" instead
of simply shoving you aside,
GET OUT OF YOUR OWN PETTY LITTLE WORLD AND PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR
Thus begins the daily chronicle of my subway hateful polemic:
- 1/4/1999: The number 9 train I'm on, shortly after leaving
96th street, suddenly decides to go straight to 157th street without
any stops. Particularly fun, since most people on the train don't know
that a) 157th street is a station where you have to leave the station
and pay again to switch directions and b) 168th street is the next
stop, where you don't have to do that. I consider sending the MTA a
bill for my wasted 25 minutes.
- 1/8/1999: This morning, after watching one local train pull out
without me because it was literally too full to get on, the express train I
finally make it onto stops just short of the station I need to get off
at because of "door malfunction" in the preceding train. While this is
going on, two local trains (including the one I got off of to get on
the express) pass by.
- 1/11/1999: Not one, not two, but three trains local trains
stop in the station, open their doors, close their doors, and leave
without a single passenger getting on. People next to me are pushing
apart the barriers between the trains and riding between cars. I stand
on the platform for no less than 25 minutes before a suitably unpacked
train arrives. There is no opportunity to transfer to the
express. Today, I start logging total times: 57 minutes door-to-door.
- 1/12/1999: Today, I walked to the express stop instead of
my normal practice of waiting for the local and transferring. Although
it seemed to take longer, I'm convinced I saved time waiting on the
platform, and managed to catch the first express train that arrived. I
had to yell at some people who were sitting and taking up too much
room, but having offered the resulting free seat to anyone who wanted
it, to no effect, I felt justified in sitting down. The day is oddly
calm so far.
- 1/13/1999: Walking to the express stop seems to help. Local
train people suck. I am continually amazed that if I yell at people
who are sitting to slide closer to one another to make room for one
more person to sit, not one of the people standing next to me will
accept the new seat. Weird.
- 1/14/1999: Strangely, the snow seems to have decreased
congestion on the trains. I've also realized that sleeping in an
extra half-hour has little bearing on the time I walk into work in the
morning, and makes my commute more pleasant. For example, if I get up
at 8:00, I can get to work by 9:00, maybe 9:05. However, if I get up
at 8:30, I can still get to work by 9:05, spending time sleeping in my
bed instead of standing on the train platform watching full trains
- 1/15/1999: As the snow decreased congestion, the ice-rain
increased it as people became increasingly more afraid to take
cabs. The train was very crowded, but walking to the express stop
still seemed help.
- 1/19/1999: Fair weather today, no precipitation. Day after
a long weekend. People seem less stressed, seats available on the
express train before 9. Odd.
- 1/26/1999: Today was a first. I actually had to physically
return force against the mass of people trying to squeeze their way
onto a full train, to prevent m being crushed against the three people
next to me. We're not talking about a "full" train where there's
actually lots of room because people haven't moved in, we're talking
about a full train where people have already moved in and the crowd on
the platform is trying to force their way in regardless. I said
"excuse me", >loudly<, while firmly shoving back towards the door, and
several people apologized, which seemed to be a knee-jerk reaction, as
they were still clearly stunned from suddenly being forced back onto
the platform. People make me sick sometimes.
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