Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Here! Hit This!

I mean... I think what pisses me off most about the MTA (thank you for asking) is that there’s not one actual, physical, representative personification of it that I can slap when I need to. I just wanna hit someone until they feel as badly as I do… I wanna HIT something!... I wanna hit it HARD!

This morning, I was standing on the N, nestled snugly in between a large hairy Russian man’s bosom and his large, somehow hairier lady friend’s hello-how-do-ya-do (as I usually am when we’re standing-room only), when the train began its routine of halting every three seconds, eventually coming to a dead stop and remaining so for about ten minutes. God in Heaven, I do not understand why this happens so often. What’s to stop for?? Go, Mama, GO, GO, GO! In my helpless desperation and boredom, I snidely begin to rationalize to myself that we’ve obviously wound up behind some little old lady going 20 in her Volvo, or that the ice cream truck ahead of us has stopped to serve a little boy on a bike, or we’re graciously allowing a team of laggardly baby ducklings to cross the tracks. I mean, what the hell could be going on in front of us that we keep stopping??? (This is truly my crazy inner monologue. Please call a doctor.) Soon my frustration and confusion bubble over and I actually blurt out, “Hit the fucking ducks! I’m late!” and everyone around me is like, “Ducks?” and the hairy Russian man is like, “What the hell are you talking about? Get your face outta my pit."

Before I lived in the city and driving a car was my means of transportation, I was the master of my own personal road rage. I was in control. If I was late for work and stuck in traffic or someone cut me off, I could look through the windshield, see exactly what was standing in my way, and subsequently stick my head out the window and call it “asshole”. Did it solve anything? No. But it was magnificent. It was my lifeline. As city folk relying on mass transit, we are denied the luxury of unbridled traffic tantrums. And the source of our road rage (or “train tsuris” if you will) is infuriatingly faceless. We’re trapped, helpless and uninformed, with no one to honk at, spit at, or flip off. With no specific place to target this frustration, we end up lashing out at those around us, and I believe it to be the primary reason we ultimately all hate one another (or is that just me?) What’s worse, we are patronizingly placated with half-assed, scripted apologies to the tune of “we are delayed, blah, blah, blah, moving momentarily, blah, blah, thanks for your patience, blah." My ‘patience’? How dare you, sir. Show yourself!

I guess my point is that if I’m never going to be in control of these crises, I would at the very least like someone to point a finger of blame at (preferably my middle.) Jews like having designated people to complain to on a daily basis; If the steak isn’t cooked right, we speak to the chef; if there are no more bags of peanuts or the picture on our in-flight digital television screen is a little fuzzy, we ask to see the pilot; if the sheets are not tucked properly under the mattress, we yell at the lovely Mexican girl who comes Mondays and Fridays (and Wednesdays every other week.) Who am I to assault when I emerge onto the subway platform a nervous wreck and six hours behind schedule?? (And I'm pronouncing that "shed-jool", because I'm really upset.) I would like to request that henceforth the name and cell phone number of the conductor of every train we ride be displayed on a screen somewhere inside the subway car. This way we can have the option to call him repeatedly and leave nasty voicemails throughout the day. Will he care, really? No. But it's just like every morning when I situate myself where the driver of the train can see me as he pulls into the station, so that I can shake my head disapprovingly at him and tap the imaginary watch on my wrist to let him know that this is the third time he's kept me waiting this week, and that if things don't change soon, I will start taking cabs and he'll lose me forever. Does he give a fuck? Absolutely not. But it soothes my soul a little, and I need it.

1 comment:

David said...

Well. And I should say that this is from a West Coast, Los Angeles perspective...

My friends sometimes wonder why I seem so angry / violent while driving. I don't actually create harm to other people, but I do say things which would suggest that I am plotting violence against them, their loved ones, whatever comes to me at the time. And I must say that I do say these things out loud, which is why they know about it. But quite frankly, I think that saying it out loud is therapeutic. Keeping your anger and frustration inside cannot be healthy.

I don't really support your idea of complaining to a theoretically appropriate person. It's much easier to complain to a completely inappropriate person. Suppose you are on a plane. They keep the pilots behind a bullet proof door ... Very difficult to complain to. But what do I know.