Friday, May 30, 2008

Travels Via the MetroCard

Much time has been spent on the trains this past week.

It has given me quite a bit to look at, think about, listen to...

  • There was the woman on the N train, sitting across from me, who reached into her large purse, pulled out a bottle of lotion, and, after removing her shoes one at a time, carefully put the lotion all over her feet, rubbing it in over the soles, in between the toes, working it into the skin with long solid strokes. I was fascinated, doing my best to look while not looking. She was grunting with exertion, leaning over, one leg bent at a 45 degree angle, the foot resting on the opposite knee, working, rubbing, massaging her pasty white feet. When she finished, she put both feet on top of her shoes, to let the lotion dry, I suppose. During the process, a man had entered the train, and sat at an angle from her, opened up his brown sack lunch, and started shoveling in his odd smelling lunch. She looked up as she put away the bottle of lotion, caught me looking at her, and leaned forward. I was waiting to be chewed out, knowing I'd been caught staring. Nodding towards him, she said in a whisper to me, "Hmm, some people got no class, do they?", she said. I smiled weakly, and left at the next station, deciding it was best to wait for another train.
  • The station at 9th and 4th in Brooklyn is hell. Going from the R to the F train is miserable, you have to climb 47 flights of stairs. It's almost as bad when you go from one side of 42nd to Times Square... long, long hikes through airless tunnels, with some odd man who is making paper roses yelling how he used to be in data processing... one station in Brooklyn is the highest point in the MTA system... only a few of these places have escalators. Why doesn't the MTA have little sherpas to carry us up the stairs or down those long miserable tunnels? I'd tip a nice amount, trust me.
  • When it is late at night, please do not hold up the R train, and then have it suddenly go express, thus bypassing my stop, ok?
  • On weekends, why do all of the trains going anywhere near the Ferry stop running? Do you like seeing women in heels have to walk for blocks?
  • I rode so many trains and sat for so long on hard plastic seats on Thursday, my female parts went numb. I will say no more.
  • You know the temperature is too hot on the train, when you see the buskers get on, start singing, and say, "This is too miserable, I'm getting off."
  • I do love coming out of the tunnels when you leave Manhattan, and seeing sunlight or the lights of the city around you... it makes the whole ride more enjoyable.
  • Great fun can be had watching the cars ahead of you as you race through tunnels at high speeds on express trains. Watching the cars swerve opposite of the direction you are going is a cheap theme park ride for those of us who have yet to go to Coney Island. Throw in the buskers and the ferry and hey! a fun time for $2!!
  • How hard would it be to paint a white line, showing where the first five cars are on the 1 train, those magic five cars that stop for the ferry? That way, you don't have drunks (and me) trying to count as the train races into the stations.... you know if you are in front of the magic white line, you will get off and make said ferry. Think about it MTA....
  • Lastly, while you are thinking about it... hire me to announce over all the turnstiles, "Welcome to New York City! Remember, SWIPE AND GO! SWIPE AND GO!! The train is in the station, SWIPE AND GO!" Maybe people will do just that... swipe that card, and go...

If you believe that, I've a bridge you can buy in Brooklyn.... cheap.


Anonymous said...

GOOD GRIEF! Riding on the NYC trains sounds like a real obstacle course challenge! Is this the place the song describes: ...when the train comes rumbling through." I think it's the MTA...? I'll bet you are going to miss all of this, huh?

golfwidow said...

I used to work for a company with a woman who would take off her shoes and clip her toenails AT HER DESK.

I had occasion to call them recently, and she answered the phone.

She still has a job. I don't.

It's like Sydney Pollack dying and Abe Vigoda still being alive.

Quin Browne said...

cr~best cheap fun to be had in nyc, aside from watching wall street bankers cry.

gw~truer words never spoken.

Michael Manning said...

Watching the approaching cars must be cool! The rest, Eww!

the Constantly Dramatic One said...

Holy crap, I thought Malaysian trains are bad.

Lori said...

The people make for better sightsseing than the sights!

Bill From Gainesville said...

I love riding around on those trains the people watching is the best!

austere said...

Now that's one thing I must add to my to-do list. Should be interesting comparing the Western Railway local trains in my town with your NYC trains.

have you seen a train with ppl riding on the roof at MIDNIGHT? Virar slow, Borivali station. I was shocked too.

Peter Varvel said...

I am both mortified and LMAO (buy not at "numb female parts").

Seraphine said...

I suppose I'd buy a bridge, if they'd let me bring it on the train.
The woman with the feet, that was an interesting story. The sack lunch guy was probably a foot fetishist. Too bad the woman with the feet wasn't a meatloaf-smell fetishist. You never know to whom people are attracted. You could have witnessed a great love story. Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Anonymous said...

I think people feel the subway is an extension of their apartment. I have seen folks eat, dress, shave, break up, have sex, go to the bathroom, use the windows as mirrors to put on makeup and pop zits...The same kind of stuff people do all over the country except in their cars. While driving.

On the subway it's weird. In your car it could be deadly.

Thank GOD there is no wi-fi on the trains. Then they'd turn into rolling starbucks and everyone's bits would be numb!

Quin Browne said...

greg says it best... people do treat it like a moving home (sex, i've never seen... and not sure i want to)

i'm not too sure lunch guy and foot woman would have hit it off... although, i don't know.. i got off before their eyes met and 'some enchanted evening' started to play.

Writeprocrastinator said...

"deciding it was best to wait for another train."

Because at that progression, you really didn't want to what the next person was going to do.

The begging widow? She's going about it all wrong. You have to come up with an impending operation, that's how it is done on BART. Check it out on YouTube, they have videos.

"Remember, SWIPE AND GO!"

No, no Quin, not the card...purses. Swipe the purses and be done with it, the transit cops are on a lunch break and they don't want to be bothered.

inflammatory writ said...

I love this entry. It really captures the NYC subway as it is - inefficient, exhausting, colorful, yet essential.

And you are right about that bklyn many stairs!

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