Yesterday morning while on the way to work, I stopped to take a couple of photos. One was a lovely shot of lower Manhattan. The other was of a handful of helicopters hovering over the city like buzzards over a carcass. There’d been a bombing in the subway, so every news outlet in the tristate area had eyes in the sky to provide viewers with one-of-a-kind shots of NYC rooftops.
New York, New York. Big city. Lots of people. Many of these people are inconsiderate jerks. And I’m not just talking about the tourists gumming up Times Square. Those people are, for the most part, easy to avoid.
My biggest issue are the people who live here, the ones who should know better. But they don’t. So I’m proposing the following regulations and fines. Feel free to play along!
Use of golf umbrella: $100 fine. Beaten with said umbrella until it breaks.
Use of cellphone on subway stairs: $100. Phone tossed onto track. Guilty party must watch train run over phone.
Holding a conversation in front of revolving doors: $250. Forced to stand inside sealed-off section of revolving door until the glass fogs up.
Stopping short to text: $150. Revocation of sidewalk privileges. Forced to walk in bus lane for six months.
Bicycle on the sidewalk: Wait. There’s already a fine for this, jackass, because it’s already illegal!
Raising a stink about gluten at a non-specialty bagel shop: $100. Forced to produce doctor’s note proving gluten intolerance and/or forced to eat contents of toaster’s crumb tray.
Asking for vegan options at a barbecue restaurant: $150. Forced to sit at a table piled with sizzling bacon for two hours.
Asking for meat at a vegan restaurant: $200. Forced to admit you came in here and did that just to be a dick.
Going on and on and on about dim sum: $150. Forced to subsist on diet of chicken feet for one month.
Defending Chicago pizza: $200. Forced to admit you were just being THAT GUY. You know THAT GUY. There’s always one.
Being a food snob, yet being the first in line anytime some fast-food or grocery chain from your home town opens: $300. Forced, for six months, to do all your grocery shopping at that bodega with all the dusty canned goods and the almost-expired milk.
Sitting on subway stairs: $200. Boot to the head. Guilty party must lick article of clothing that was resting on said stairs.
Stopping in front of a turnstile to dig through your purse to find your Metrocard: $500. Purse privileges revoked. Forced to wear hot pink fanny pack with important items easily at hand.
Not knowing what you want even after standing in a food/coffee line for five minutes: $100. Hot dogs shoved down your shirt. Coffee poured on your lap.
Using an elevator to travel one floor: $100 and one hour on a Stairmaster.
Vaping on a subway train: $100 and having to live with the fact that you vape.
Smoking a cigarette on subway: Death. Forfeiture of all property to the American Cancer Society.
Telling people what to do, how to live their lives: $50. Forced to write blog listicles for the rest of your days.
Suggesting people who read your blog post go and buy one of your books: Hours of pleasure. FOR YOU, DEAR READER!
They were loud talkers, so this story ends in the perfect way.
But you know who I’m talking about, that couple who always has one, two or three issues that they feel need to be aired out in public. This morning, they chose to do it on the R Train out of Bay Ridge. For the one stop the three of us shared, they were speaking Spanish so I was able to ignore it.
Two other women, speaking Spanish, were apparently unable to ignore it because they gave up seats to move away from the couple.
When the train pulled into 59th the street, the man exited and walked across the platform to the arriving N Train. And then the woman freaked out. She walked to the door of our R Train and started yelling, first in Spanish and then in English.
“My keys. I need my keys.” In Spanish again. “I need my fucking keys. Now. Give them to me.”
She was holding the train door. Both trains were just sitting there. I don’t know where we were in relation to the conductors of each, but maybe they heard the commotion and were giving these two a chance to get it done. The passengers on the R Train were mildly annoyed at the yelling. We were all waiting to get extremely annoyed if the conductor tried to close the door and Drama Queen had her ass wedged there and wouldn’t let us leave.
She shouted again, waving frantically. “MY KEYS!”
And for some reason, one thought flitted across my mind: Don’t do it.
But of course he did it. HE THREW THE KEYS. About two pounds of keys and key chain were launched toward the R Train.
Where do you think they landed?
On the platform? No. On the floor of the train? Of course not.
In her hands?
Well, they hit her hands, barely, and then fell, right into the gap between the train and the platform onto the tracks.
“Oh my god! How the fuck you gonna do that to me?” she yelled, then said some other things in Spanish that made me wish I knew all the dirtiest curse words in Spanish because I bet that’s what she was using. The man remained silent.
She stepped out of the train. The doors closed. The women speaking Spanish said something and laughed. Then someone else said, “Boy and you thought your day was bad,” and everyone else laughed. And off we went.
Know what will take the edge off of any morning commute? Valium. Who knew?
No, I haven’t turned into a pill-popping crazy lady who wanders the streets of Manhattan in a silk robe and sunglasses, a flask in one hand and a cigarette in the other. I had an MRI this morning because the neurologist I went to about the cluster headaches just wanted to play it really safe. She said there’s no reason to think anything is wrong, but might as well check. Cluster headaches, by the way, are like man-migraines. Unlike more traditional lady migraines, they don’t build up over time and intensify. No, they come over full-powered, strong and are over (in migraine terms) fairly quickly. Typical male behavior!
Continue reading “In Which I Discover the Joys of Valium”
A little joy in your morning. The Huxtables lip-synching Ray Charles’ “The Night Time (Is The Right Time).” This is like getting your chocolate in my peanut butter in someone else’s cocaine. It’s that awesome.
I was listening to Ray Charles on the way into work this morning and as I thought about what this bit of entertainment — one snippet from The Cosby Show — meant to me, I became certain I’d written about it before. And I had. After a similar commute on Jan. 7, 2005, I wrote something for The Subway Chronicles, created by my friend Jacquelin Cangro, who now blogs here. (You’ll have to scroll down as there were no permalinks on the site.)
What I wrote then — I don’t know if I’d be capable of writing it the same way today.
Continue reading “Cuz The Night Time Is The Right Time”
I’m on the 4 Train commuting to work this morning. Somewhere along the line, a couple blunders into the train. The woman takes a seat and the guy almost gets his jacket caught in the closing door.
“The fuck off of me. Give me my jacket,” he curses, but laughs at the same time.
Seems like someone’s had his liquid breakfast this morning, is in good spirits and, obviously, want to chat. I’m a magnet for such people, so I bury my head in my book. As we crawl by 33rd Street, he sets his eyes on me.
Continue reading “Ironical”
9:45 a.m. Board 4 Train at Borough Hall. Head toward Manhattan.
9:50 to 10:00. Subway sits, unmoving, due to “sick passenger” at Bowling Green.
10:00 to 10:15. Subway sits, unmoving, due to “smoke conditions” at Wall Street.
10:15. Subway turned back to Brooklyn
10:20. Arrive at Borough Hall via 4 Train.
10:25. Find R Train. Take R Train to Union Square. Transfer to 6.
11:10 a.m. Arrive at work.