Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Subway Oddities

I've written about the New York City underground rail system here before, most notably in my Subway Survival Guide series. Growing up in this city, you can't help but bear witness to a lot of strange and crazy things going on down in the deep depths below under this great city. Still, even after 38 years of it, I am still amazed by the dumbest things New Yorkers do when riding the trains. Stuff that can, and often does, drive their fellow straphangers batty!

The following are all cases I've experienced first hand recently, presented below in no particular order:

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Someone on the platform calls out a friend's name who is standing farther down on the same platform. Several people turn at the same time to see the originator of that call, even though they can't all be named "Janet." Why do people do this? If I hear a name called out that is obviously not my own, I ignore it and keep doing what I'm doing. Hell, even when my name is called I don't immediately turn. Not if I don't recognize the voice calling my name. There *are* other Davids in this great big city of 8 million people, after all. And I'm not wasting energy on something that obviously doesn't concern me.

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I was on the D train this morning and we pulled into this one station. As the passengers were let out and the doors started to close once more, an F train pulled in right across from us. Several passengers leaped out of their seats and rushed headlong into the closing doors, almost causing severe bodily harm to themselves. Just to catch that F train. Here's the thing: if they needed that F train so badly, why didn't they get off at the station when the doors first opened like everyone else? Here's the other thing: The D and F trains meet up at the very next station, and the station after that as well. Seeing as how the D train was just about to pull out of the present station when the F train arrived, why not just wait until the very next stop to get off and catch the F train there? Did you really need to half break your neck tackling the closing doors for a train you could catch again merely 2 minutes later? Think, people. THINK!!!!

You waste all that energy, just for this to happen.

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Why do very large people (read: fat!) always try to squeeze in between two seated passengers when the space is obviously not wide enough for them? Do you need a seat soooo badly that you are willing to inconvenience and bodily assault other passengers just so that you can be seated? Or are you really that unaware of your bulk? Don't be delusional: you are FAT!!! You know it, your kids know it, your co-workers know it, your dog knows it -- we ALL know it! How about we try and not impose our fatness on others, m'kay? Also: exercise some restraint and STOP OVEREATING!!! And we wonder why so many fights break out on the subway.

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Look. I'm sorry I knocked you down, little kid in high school. I was riding the 4 train and we had just pulled into my home station. Yes, I saw you standing out there in the cold on the platform as my train pulled in. You who were so eager to get onboard; I didn't miss that point. So eager, that even before the doors opened to let passengers off (like yours truly), you positioned yourself right at the front of the doors, ready to dash on in as soon as they opened. Thing is, you can't simultaneously have people exiting and entering a doorway at the same time. And what your brilliant little plan did not provide for, however, was the factor of the solidly built grown man--who outweighed you by about 50 pounds--blocking your way. So when the doors opened and you immediately tried rushing onboard, I could see why you were so perturbed when that one guy (moi) leading the exodus out shoulder checked your dumb ass and sent you literally sprawling back out onto the platform. Consider this a real world refresher on bodies in motion. Your physics teacher can thank me later.

I don't think we're ever getting off this Death Star!

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When you ride the New York City subways for even a short amount of time, one thing becomes quickly obvious: there are constant service changes being announced, like, ALL THE TIME! Not rarely, those announcements can mean the difference between you arriving safely at your desired destination, or you ending up at the ass end of Brooklyn on the bad side of a Russian mob turf war (as opposed to the good side of a Russian mob turf war). So do yourself a favor: take off the fucking headphones!!! At least once in a while, yeah? Here's a hint: when you start noticing the people around you looking suddenly pissed off for no apparent reason, or when there is an abrupt and spontaneous mass migration of passengers off of the heretofore express train you're riding ... yeah, you might want to know what that's all about. Just a hunch.

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Why do people look for trains that they are waiting for? Does this somehow make them arrive any faster? Does a watched kettle boil slower? I guess no one can answer the latter, but as for the former: NO! Plain and simple. So what are you doing? Seems to me that worrying about something you have absolutely no control over is a recipe for a stress attack. Chill out. The train will arrive when it arrives. If it is late, and you are late as a result ... that's just the way it will be. You constantly walking to the edge of the platform and sticking your head out to peer down the tunnel will not change that. Really, it won't have any effect whatsoever! You should all be like me: I simply lean back and lose myself in my own thoughts for a while. As far as I'm concerned, my train will arrive suddenly out of the blue like a dewey-eyed unicorn ridden by a mermaid wearing a necklace of four-leaf clovers. Yes, like a pre-ordained miracle! You should try it sometime, it's amazing!

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However, despite all of the above, I still love this city. You have to take the good with the bad, you know? Most transplants can't hack it here for long like natives can. Hell, even natives end up leaving for greener pastures eventually. But while we're all here, together we do make for a helluva interesting place to live which is unlike any other on this planet of ours. You may all be crazy, but you're my kind of crazy!

Mwah! (that's the sound of a big, ol sloppy kiss, btw)

Love or hate it, sometimes you join in the crazy.

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