Until I came to live in New York, I assumed - like anyone else - that life in the Big Apple consists of endless glamour, entertainment and pleasures. I imagined having lunches with Tina Fey, brainstorming her new project (“How about a musical that involves cheese, or numerous cheeses”), attending fancy Broadway premieres that I’ll happily badmouth the following day, and having long talks with Woody Allen over a bottle of wine, discussing Kierkegaard, God and different kinds of lube.
Exploding with anticipation, I arrived in the city and found out that the only thing standing between me and my dream life was the subway. It’s not that I don’t like the subway. The subway is full of charm and people who don’t shower, and is an integral part of NYC, but depending on the subway means you cannot plan anything important.
Let’s take yesterday, for example. I had an important meeting in the city and I was waiting for a train. Let’s call it the D (the real train number is withheld by request). The train arrived after 5 minutes or so, but stopped after two short minutes and an authoritative yet pleasant voice echoed:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held temporarily due to train traffic ahead. Please be patient.”
And indeed, after two more minutes, we started moving again, just to stop again a minute later.
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held temporarily due to train traffic ahead and behind us. Please be patient.”
It’s not a big deal, and better safe than sorry, as some coward loser once said. So we wait.“
Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held temporarily due to railroad construction. Please be patient.”
Railroad construction? That’s why we stopped? Isn’t getting hit by a train an integral risk of the constructors’ job they’re supposed to take? Move, stupid train, move, and stop finding lame excuses for not moving. I’m late!
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held temporarily due to a chicken on the railroad. Please be patient.“
At that point I started feeling a weird twitch down my spine. It was either me starting to lose it, or a rat. Probably the former, because some disturbing images involving the conductor, myself, and large brick started to flood my mind. But wait, something was happening, a slight movement forward indicated that we finally started moving again. We’re moving! For real! I wiped the cold sweat off my forehead and smiled. Life is not so bad after all! And then we stopped.
“Ladies and gentleman, we are being held temporarily because the train driver has to pee due to the unexpectedly long ride time.” And then: “Please be patient.”
I was fired off my seat like one of those disturbed small dogs with an inferiority complex all the way to the conductor’s cabin, and smacked the PA system with my laptop (didn’t have a large brick on me) till I was out of breath, my laptop keyboard lost most of its keys and the PA system was no more than a pile of dust. Die, monster, die!
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held temporarily due to a malfunction in the train’s public address system… system… system… system… system.. sys...”
A few more smacks shut it up completely. I figured I should go back to my seat and rest, but then, an authoritative yet pleasant voice emerged beyond the ruins and echoed:
“Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held temporarily due to a psychotic passenger on the train. Please be patient.”
As I was looking around, trying to find the psychotic passenger and show him the way out, an angry mob lifted me up and threw me out the train. I tried to tell them that we should work together instead of turning against each other, but they just went back inside as the train started to move (of course!) and disappeared in the darkness.
I got up slowly, knowing that true freedom fighters are never appreciated in their lifetime. A faint noise coming from the tunnel informed the arrival of another train. But no, it was the chicken. From earlier. Without hesitations I hopped on it and reached safely to W4 station.