Tag: MTA

My Baby Takes The Morning Train, When Uber Pool Is Too Expensive (aka I’d Quit Tomorrow If Sheena Asked Me To Stay)

It was early morning, around six thirty AM I think. That un-Godly hour when men in construction work boots march soul-less towards the MTA, and a handful of office workers with long commutes start their day before the sun will. When transit is slow and sluggish, quiet besides the scuffle of winter coats and urban foliage stirring awake. Early birds and no worms.

I slouched off of the 39 Bus hungover as the moon on the horizon, dragging my feet towards Nine To Five with my body in tow. Hungry, because I’d ate too late last night. Angry at another schedule I couldn’t skip, because rent’s a bitch and cheesesteaks don’t grow on trees. Calling out was out of the question, and I didn’t have any sick days left anyway. Between the bus fares, nephews, and bottles of rum lining my recycling bin, I needed the money. But not desperately. Enough to get me out of bed when I’d rather be somewhere else.

Not a unique feeling, I noticed, as I watched a couple stop on the corner. He was about my height, not much more handsome with a handful of grays around his cobble-colored hair. She was all legs, nick-knacks dangling from her wrists, ears, neck, jacket, boots, lips; everywhere. Hands just barely held, calm and comfortable as they lazily rushed towards their obligations as the rest of us. They hit the corner and slowed, spoke some four to five words or syllables I tried my hardest to listen in on (all I could make out was ‘Don’t—this weekend—‘) and kissed each other on the cheek goodbye.

She clicked on toward the subway, he stood and stared at her go for a while. I stood there watching while he was wrestling with something. An idea maybe, words or feelings he should have shown or let shed. Or maybe he was throwing in the towel on the rat race, would have rather run down the block and take her by the hand back down where they came from. Board up the windows and lock the door at home, let the rent and bills pile up, spend all day listening to quiet comfort of her soft breathing on his chest, and the nick-knacks dangling off the dressers and coffee tables.

Then a car honked, he looked at his cell, and marched towards the 9 bus to work instead. He needed the money too, I guess, or couldn’t manage to break the habit. I looked at the 9 bus, marched towards the liquor store I knew would be open in an hour, and called The Boss on my cell.

Because I couldn’t either.

When You Reach The Last Stop, Show The Grim Reaper You Have A Transfer Card (aka Subway Soliloquy)

STAND-CLEAR-OF-THE-CLOSING-DOORS-PLEASE.

Crowded, packed and stuffed with no AC.
Doors close, open, close, open, close, open, cl-
open. Somebody sucks teeth and the whole train sighs.
An afternoon turning evening ride home, ten stops away
from Wednesday rituals and the nonsense we do to get
over the hump of a work-week. Walking starts looking
like an option from all these delays. And if this
old ladies bag pushes me ONE MORE TIME I swear I’ll-

LADIES-AND-GENTLEMAN
PLEASE-GIVE-UP-YOUR-SEAT
FOR-THE-PREGNANT
AND
THE-ELDERLY
IT’S-STANDING-UP-FOR-WHATS-RIGHT
AND-COURTESY
IS-CONTAGIOUS.

Sweating, hot and suffocating in 9 to 5 company.
Undone ties and tired eyes fanning magazines,
smearing makeup, grunting offhand conversations,
complacent and wailing for home. Singing to the rhythm
of train tracks and middle class disappointment.
ka-kun ka-kun…ka-kun…ka-kun…ka-
A Game of Thrones Ringtone plays and somebody sneezes.

LADIES-AND-GENTLEMAN
FOR-YOUR-SAFETY-PLEASE
DO-NOT-BLOCK-OR-HOLD-THE-CAR-DOORS
WHILE-THE-TRAIN-IS
IN-THE-STATION.

Two men argue over who touched who first,
but it doesn’t matter and devolves to racial slurs.
Fingers, movements, violence vibrating in IF YOU COME
ONE STEP CLOSER
and voices getting louder
and louder and louder and louder and
more uncomfortable the longer neither of them backs down.
Then one says F**K THIS and starts reaching in his bag and

THIS-IS-A-SOUTHBOUND
SIX-TRAIN
THE-NEXT-STOP-IS
SAINT-LAWRENCE
AVENUE.

Crowded, packed and stuffed with no AC.
Doors close, open, close, open, close, open, cl-
open. Red floor, red doors, red rails, red everything.
Red advertisement on prescription acne treatment
on sale with Dr. Zimmerman, blood blushing his smile.
People running. Screams. Yelling. Shoving. I TOLD HIM
HE SHOULDN’T. I TOLD HIM. I TOLD HIM.
Sirens.

STAND-CLEAR-OF-THE-CLOSING-DOORS-PLEASE.

Ms. Behaving Taught Me Better Than Politeness Ever Could

It’s cold, so women start to put the sandals away and whip out the fur hoodies and finger-less gloves.  Your #MCM’s caesar haircut fades into a fitted cap, cuffing season hashtags, two-button trench-coats, and fuck-it-every-other-day-I’ll-shave Winter stub. Five o clock shadows look more natural at six pm when the sun quits early and the city bundles into itself into November. Every bar and cafe this side of Houston shuts the beach umbrellas and tabled awnings, brings out a meme sign that’s not exactly funny, but clever enough with a Rick and Morty reference to buddy you in under the promise of cheap shots and warm company.
 
“I can’t stand hamsters,”
“But why did she think denim was okay,”
“What’re you on your period,”
“He was cross eyed but very cute”

This city speaks to me, offhand reveries echoing in the turnstiles. Ever-day glories I overhear gladly between ocean-scening ads lining up the train billboards on my way to anywhere but home. Spotify on my headphones and verbal traffic on the Canarsie bound L-line in Union Square, a cozy corner by the doorway I’m sharing with a tinkerbelle not near half my height, some baby carriages cluttering the aisle, and a giant [from the North, probably] leaning his head against the tiny six foot six inch train celing [I measured that shit, maybe] head space.

Its a sight. And an experience you cant appreciate until you’ve lived here long enough to love hating this city.

*DING*

“We are being held momentarily by the trains dispatcher. Please, be patient.” The monotone recording repeats for the eighth time in the last eight minutes. My leg started to cramp, the entire commute let out a collective sigh, and the anxiety of the wait was enough to make even the calmest man something awful.
But New York has its perks, despite itself: so much social overcrowding the most mundane become monumental.

I got off the grid-locked transit for a taxi in Union Square. Yellow cabs are a habit of a time behind us, and besides, who the hell can afford it or even carries cash? So I finessed a few flicks on rectangular glowing screen and waited in a Starbucks for a convenient lift to my evening. One tall blonde and awkward asking for the bathroom password later, I’m faux-pas among strangers in an Uber Pool. A smooth ride considering, A cluttered group of over-priviledges twenty-somethings has gone much worse (just ask the last election.)

So I spent the ride listening to some loser describe getting robbed by a cop that pulled him over for no reason. His son was coughing up a storm with the cold chill of passenger windows blasted open, a (wife?) staring at her phone and getting angry at a runny nose nobody controls. Another bored brunette sits passenger, laughing at herself or at her phone. The kid says goodbye when she exits and the door slam shuts in response. He plays with his Iron Man helmet in quiet, the sedan shuttles off to the next drop point, and somewhere between Broadway and Amsterdam somebody whispers:

“What a cunt…”

And the whole car laughs.
 
It’s warm, despite the gloves.