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Subway FreshBuzz: "It's Hell"

After a long three years of taking the subway from the Upper East Side to Brooklyn for school, and now constantly traveling from the Upper East Side to the West Village to visit Adam (ps – awesome subway planning NYC, way to make it absolutely impossible to go from East to West. I mean, because don’t most people only ever need to go North to South?), I have been exposed to all that the wonderful MTA system has to offer. Below, I consider the most nonsensical and attempt to simultaneously analyze and mock.

1) Intrastate Tourists (IST) – I don’t hate on actual tourists who are speaking French or Japanese and genuinely trying to make sense of the subway stops. Intrastate Tourists refers to people from Staten Island, Westchester, and Long Island City (and the like – I don’t discriminate) who really should be able to interpret a subway map but who either 1) cannot for the life of them do so, or 2) think they are really capable but actually have no clue.

You can identify the first kind as follows: the male IST stands hunched over the laminated wall map, mouth agape, his giant gold-ringed finger tracing the R train’s path and becoming increasingly stymied. His girlfriend comes over, pokes her hairsprayed bangs in the way, and uses her sparkled Lee Press On to show her man where he misunderstood. They argue, come to a decision after some yelling, and, ultimately, get off at the wrong stop.
You can identify the second kind of IST thusly: The IST is often leading a group of his fellow tourists on an excursion to the city, most likely for a hockey game, Def Leppard concert, or night of belligerence at the Blarney Stone. The IST is very confident, assuring his pals that he has done this many times when he “worked in the city”. His leather jacket and gelled hair gleaming with confidence, he stands in the middle of the car, refusing to look at the map. He is loud and often carrying a Colt 45 in a paper bag. At his direction he and his ISTs, ultimately, get off at the wrong stop.

2) Smelly Subway Platforms –I’m aware that the subway isn’t ever going to be immaculate. But seriously what are these bizarre smells on the platform? Sometimes they are so shocking that I actually want to bottle them and have them analyzed. It’s gotten so bad, actually, that has created a “Subway Smells” chart, so that you can be aware of which odors will be offending your nose at each particular station.
My top 3 offending stations:

59th and Lex – I apparently am the only one who is sensitive to this station, but honestly, it smells like dead people and feet. It’s absolutely horrendous and it’s what I imagine hell smells like.

Canal Street – This stop smells like a dead fish wearing cheap cologne on a date to Kentucky Fried Chicken. Enough said.

West 42nd Street – its as if the subway platform has harnessed the smell of pigeon feces, urine, and homeless people that plagues the Port Authority Bus Terminal and concentrated it down to a powerful, nose-hair killing gas that could defeat even Superman.

3) Fat Person Taking Up the Subway Bench – Oh, I’m sorry… did I attempt to sit in the seat reserved for your FUPA? No, no, don’t bother getting up for the geriatric woman and her granddaughter, you just make sure that your ass that has its own zip code is nice and comfy. I mean, honestly, what is with this? How do people who are 150+ pounds overweight get this weird sense of entitlement? Most of these people are already “entitling” themselves to not following any dietary restrictions, not ever going to the gym, and wearing stretch pants to all occasions – yes, I can see how that’s so exhausting that they do deserve the entire subway bench. I know the subway is free and no one pays per seat, but next time I see this, I think I might have to sit myself down on someone’s potbelly… and hope to come out alive. (Note: Yes, yes, I also took health in high school, I know that not everyone is obese because they eat and don’t work out. And to all you genuinely thyroid challenged folks out there, I really am sorry, feel free to keep sitting on the subway. However, I watch the Biggest Loser [religiously… and cry] and all I know is that most of these cats are just eating like Armageddon is coming and Bruce Willis doesn’t have room for them on the ship.)

4) Voice Immodulation Disorder Affected Conductors – Why are you yelling at me, conductor? I heard you the first time when you told me that at South Ferry only the first 5 doors open – I think the people on the subway behind us heard you, in fact. Are you mad at me, conductor? I know I said I would take only your train every day, but sometimes I’m running late and you know, I take what I can get. What’s that? You don’t want me to stand in the door? Can you make sure you speak a little bit closer to your microphone? I don’t think you’ve yet reached the volume at which all your words turn to static – yea that’s, it, where you sound like angry aliens attempting to contact Earth. Thank you, conductor, for adding yet another dimension of pleasure to my ride.

5) Dick In A Box – this is the genius subway personnel who sits at the subway entrance in a clear, bulletproof chamber, as if this person who I only ever see filing her nails or napping is at all times in imminent danger of being assassinated. No, you can no longer buy a Metrocard from the Dick In A Box, nor can he or she give you change, a map, or anything else useful. The Dick In A Box’s sole purpose, I’m convinced, is to confuse the hell out of tourists and bolster the MTA’s numbers so they can get a higher budget for those classy MTA caps (btw, what’s with those hats? It’s as if they want us to be like “Oh heyyy, it’s a cop! No, wait, it’s an MTA employee, but because he’s wearing that hat, he must be worthy of respect! Yay MTA, please raise the fare to $3 a ride! Whee!”).


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