I was already having a bad day on Monday. Then there was a flash flood alert, and I, umbrella-less, braved the ten-minute walk to the train station. Quick shoutout to all those people who stared at me like I was a disgusting mess when I entered the station, because apparently the cause of my being drenched was perplexing.
On the way home the train stalled for a very long time. As every New Yorker knows, this is the worst thing that can possibly happen ever.
You know what definitely helped? That guy next to me who “muttered” louder than a yell, “Jesus fucking Christ. Goddamn worst train system EVER.”
It was really important that he said that, because otherwise I would have assumed that he, like the rest of us, was totally excited by the delay. I was really glad to know his feelings. And I’m sure the many children around were happy to learn some new words. The best part? His expression of feelings made the train start again!
(Well, not really, but I’m sure when the train eventually did start moving, it was because of him.)
The other day, I entered the subway station and a man was playing an erhu. No, I didn’t know what it was called before, and I’m not about to confess which search terms I entered to find out because they won’t make me sound very smart, but congratulations, now you know what it’s called, and I know you were wondering. Anyway, an erhu, a thing you now know about because you just Googled it, sounds deeply annoying. I walked a little further and discovered a trumpeter. You all know what a trumpet is, and how annoying it sounds. Can you imagine these two competing musicians occupying just one small station? Get your shit together, guys. Also the train was late, so I had to listen to an erhuist (yup, I made that word up)/trumpeter mashup and it was not okay.
You know that moment of doom when the train stalls and the conductor announces “afhjkadfbkafbkasf” and you have no idea what s/he said because it was incoherent? And then you ask someone what s/he said and they have no idea either? And eventually s/he repeats it, and you realize there’s a sick passenger, and you proceed to bang your head against a wall because you’re definitely going to be late to work? Well, a couple weeks ago, I was that person who made you bang your head against a wall, because I totally fainted on the subway.
Here are some things that happen when you faint on the subway: you automatically get a seat, the conductor comes over and encourages you to get off the train (but what do you do then?), people offer you a lot of medical advice, and actually, strangers are very nice. After I insisted that I was fine and wanted to stay on the train, people offered me water and spoke to me in soothing tones. A special shout out to that one woman who offered to get off at my stop with me and walk me to work.
In summary, thanks to those strangers, and also, the next time your train is stalled for a sick passenger, know that s/he is probably really embarrassed and never wanted to be that person and is really, really sorry.
Guess what, kids? Annoying people exist everywhere! I learned this when I visited San Francisco recently. As I waited for the Muni, a very loquacious lady struck up a conversation with me. Apparently this is something people do on the West Coast.
“I’m visiting from Berkeley,” she told me (what an adventure! That’s like me visiting Queens.). “And I never drive here. The drivers are just terrible. When I first moved here I got into an accident, which was my fault, but it was with a kid my son’s age.”
So much to unpack here. So the terrible drivers to whom she was referring would be herself, who lived in the Bible Belt before (we covered a lot of ground in these four minutes), so it’s not really San Francisco’s fault, now, is it? I don’t think the city requested her presence. Also, the accident was San Francisco’s fault because it was with a kid her son’s age (which I presume is young)…so somehow that’s worse even though she caused the accident, so it could have been with anyone? Like it should have been his fault even though it was hers?
Anyway, I commented that the driving was worse in New York.
“You’re from New York?” she asked.
I told her that I lived there, but originally came from New England.
“Oh, that must be why you’re friendly then.”
However, the people on the West Coast still aren’t friendly enough for Chatty Kathy. Apparently everyone in big cities is cold.
“They have Muni in New York, too, don’t they? Or what do they call it?”
I frequently see people sleeping on the subway. It’s not as often that I see someone spread out across almost an entire bench having the nap of her life at 9 a.m. on a Monday. I got in this car because I thought I spotted empty seats this morning and was excited. I was wrong.
In case you can’t read what her tattoo says, it reads “Fuck me hard.” I’m really glad she has that tattoo because otherwise someone might be tempted to fuck her gently.
Ranked from least to most offensive.
5. People selling overpriced candy bars. If it were just kids I’d semi-understand, but when grown ass dude are trying to get me to pay $5 for Welch’s fruit snacks I’m entitled to a little fury. The vending machine at work already rips me off.
4. People eating Cheetos/other gross foods. IMO if you absolutely must eat food during your 45-minute commute, it should be a clean, neat, odorless food. Carrot sticks. Celery. A banana. If I can smell your food it’s the wrong kind. If it’s staining your fingers a color that does not occur in nature, nope.
3. Mariachi bands. The Bachelor franchise treats them like they’re the mother of all romance. I hear them coming and want to switch subway cars.
2. People selling Jesus. Sample speech: “I was in a bad place, and then I found Jesus. You can do. Give me money.”
1. Showtimers. Nothing sends chills down my spine like the announcement “It’s showtime!” as two teenagers demand that everyone clears the aisle to show us their latest routine, which inevitably involves glorified pushups from the handlebars, hat-throwing, somersaults to the sound of pulsating music for which I am way too old. A third teenager stands to the side politely catcalling his friend: “That’s right. Way to go. All right.”
Honorable mentions go to:
-That guy who was sitting on the subway car floor with an entire amp/bass setup who played heavy metal from one stop to the next. Then he went around asking for money. When he got to me, he asked me to be his girlfriend. When I declined, he asked for my phone number. When I declined, he asked if he could walk me home. As much as I wanted him to know where I live, our romance was not to be. That could have been my future husband and I totally missed my chance.
-That guy selling copies of his self-published memoir. Point for creativity, Dude.