"If I ever have to stop taking the subway,
I'm gonna have a heart attack."
-- Edward Norton
I get it, Ed. Me too. I actually adore the subway. Let me explain....
I lived in LA for 15 years and I spent about 14 1/2 years of that trapped on the 405. (I am pretty sure I spent the entirety of my early 30s year trying to get onto the 10 and failing to be let in even though I used my blinker and a bevy of hand signals. If memory serves, I was finally able to make a u-turn on La Tijera Blvd somewhere around my 36th birthday.) Needless to say, listening to a Mariachi band while riding in a subway car that smells like fresh poo is actually not too bad in comparison.
I have to admit that my favorite part of the subway ride isn't that I can get to midtown in 20 minutes or that I can buy a monthly pass for less than a car payment. My favorite part of my commute is the temperament of the MTA employee who is in charge of the announcements. Often, the announcements are fairly benign, mumbled and usually without enthusiasm. However, this morning was chock full of excitement and I was pumped.
To set the stage you need to know that the train was delayed. So at 8am, the platform was filled to the rim with more assholes than usual. The train arrives and it's already full. FACT: This capacity issue doesn't mean that one should wait for the next train. It actually means, "Shove and push and mutter 'Jesus Christ!' under your breath in the most irritated stage whisper you can muster then glower at anybody who makes eye contact." (I've heard that many New Yorkers actually list this talent as a marketable skill on Linked In.)
I was able to squeeze into a small space while the MTA employee reminded us, "Make sure to let the customers OFF the train before you enter the train. Stand clear of the closing doors." The train doors banged shut (BING BONG), then sputtered open (BING BONG). The shut (BING BONG), then open (BING BONG). Then we heard: "STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS! PULL YOUR BAG IN! IN THE FRONT!" (BING BONG, BING BONG, BING BONG, BING BONG)
With each stop, the train became more and more full of indignant assholes. The MTA worker was going mental: "PEOPLE OF NEW YORK! LET. THE CUSTOMERS. OFF. THE. TRAIN. BEFORE. YOU. GET ON. There is another train right behind this one! WAIT FOR IT. It will show up! I promise! Stand clear of the closing doors!" BING BONG - BING BONG. "PULL YOUR BAG IN! DOWN IN FRONT! STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS!!!! THERE IS A TRAIN RIGHT BEHIND THIS ONE YOU STUPID FUCKERS!" (He didn't say 'you stupid fuckers' but it sure was implied....)
I'd like to say that this is the first time I've heard a MTA suffer from a complete mental break. But it's not.
And while I feel badly for the MTA worker, I secretly enjoy the drama as it unfolds. Plus the yelling scares away the Mariachi band......