Subways: How Do I Loathe Thee?

Let’s talk about the New York City subways. And the NJ PATH trains. Let me count the ways I hate them.

One, yesterday morning I got an email alert saying that my train just wasn’t running at all. “Train service is suspended due to a track condition.” What the H is a track condition? Did the rats create a barricade? I had to take a train to World Trade Center, transfer to NYC Transit to get to midtown, and it took me twice as long. The trains didn’t run from approximately 8am through 9:30am. They were fixed just as the morning rush ended. Cool.

Reason two, rats. If you’ve never seen a Manhattan rat, you don’t know what horror is. These suckers are as big as house cats. I’m not exaggerating. I’ve seen them run across platforms, people jumping onto benches screaming. If I see a rat in the track, I jump a foot into the air. It’s just so disturbing. Recently, someone posted a video of a rat climbing on a sleeping man on the subway. Meaning the demon came onto a car and attacked a human. That’s a bold freaking strategy. (Don’t click that link if you don’t want to cry yourself to sleep tonight.)

Reason three, the inhumane cattle call in which I participate every morning and evening. I think of myself as a respectable young lady for the most part, but there is nothing remotely nice about my thirty minute journey to and from my job. It’s really not okay for them to pack the trains so full that no one can move. I mean if I try to scratch my nose, I would bump someone. Sometimes creepy men have to stand so close to me that I feel I should file a report until I realize they really have no choice. I could be a scary biker dude, and we’d still be standing ass to ass.

Four- I, a small-town Methodist, have become a city bitch. I’m ruthless because that’s how everyone is. Once a girl kicked me, because I accidentally stepped on her bag, which was on the floor of the train. Then again, I’ve shouted profanities at train car doors when they closed on my suitcase. I’ve shoved little old ladies with my giant purse. I’ve taken seats from pregnant women. Kidding, but I do practically jump into seats if they are available and there are no injured, senior, or pregnant people nearby.

Five- Whoever is in charge of closing the doors just doesn’t give a crap. I saw a guy ride all the way to Hoboken, NJ with his flip flop caught halfway in, halfway out. Super embarrassing for him, but what if it was his arm? Sometimes the doors open when the train isn’t fully stopped. And we’re not supposed to lean against the doors, but if you can’t get a seat, it’s not a bad spot, because you have both hands free to read or play BrickBreaker or Angry Birds. Yet you risk falling out into the abyss of underground New York.

F My Life For Real


Six, the Law of Attraction or Murphy’s Law: if I’m running late, the trains are running late. If I feel nauseous, there won’t be a seat. If I have anxiety, the train will totally stop, the lights will go off, and no announcement will be made for at least two minutes.

Reason seven is police activity. Although I appreciate security, it’s not a warm and fuzzy feeling to have German Shepherds and cops in bullet proof vests walking around our stations. Of course, the only time I did feel scared on a subway, I was completely alone, no cop in sight. There were two homeless drunks fighting with each other in a train car with no air conditioning. Just me and them. I was afraid if I moved and went to another car, they’d notice me.

Eight, drunk people in general. Bad idea to put them in any moving vehicle, especially ones without windows to open.

Nine, the drivers think it’s NASCAR instead of MTA. They go so fast that people fall. I’ve pulled arm muscles trying to hold on to a handle that is above my head… and moves. It’s like the monkey bars of some crazy obstacle course. Why not a plain, solid bar? Why do we need to swing around?

And ten, I just imagine hell is one long crowded hot subway ride that goes back and forth between Port Authority and Walmart. I resent the fact that I go through that every day.

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5 Responses to Subways: How Do I Loathe Thee?

  1. Sarah says:

    This reminds me of the loops at state college… at least i only have to ride them for like 20 mins tho 🙂

  2. Shaun says:

    Hahahaha. This is my favorite blog post so far.

  3. Paula says:

    This is not whining, Ellyn. You definitely speak the truth. On top of every else you mentioned about the subway conditions, we as subway riders, have to deal with the people who behave badly on the train. People that act like they’re in their own living room (legs wide open, reading the newspaper without folding it up and invading my personal space if one exists or clipping their nails–you have to watch out for the shrapnel) or the ones who think they’re in their dining room (eating food with an unidentifiable smell). All for $4.50 round trip, unless of course you bought the Unlimited card with the limited amount of times you can ride the subway. But don’t get me started on that–that’s another rant for another day.

  4. Pingback: The Worst Thing About Los Angeles? Driving | JFKLAX

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