Category Archives: subway

monday mornin’ haiku

wade-red-fleece_web.jpgI sort of like the idea of a bright red fleece,

but would I wear it?

*About this Poem:  I was on the subway and there was a guy wearing a bright red fleece across the way, prompting me to write this haiku. The original title was, “Bright Red Fleece,” but I decided to leave it untitled for personal reasons.

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1-800-Margarita

I was thinking about writing some slightly-culturally-insensitive post about those subway ads for Trolman, Glaser, and Lichtmanlatinos2.jpg, you know that law firm which specializes in representing Latinos and that has the phone number, 1-800-Margarita (not to be confused with 1-800-Tequila). I was gonna write something perhaps-ill-advised like, “Why isn’t the number 1-800-pinatas?” or “1-800-julioiglesias.” But thankfully I found this comment entitled, “1-800-KISS-MY-ASS” on the NYC Rants blog that is way way better, enjoy:

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Dear Trolman, Glaser, and Lichtman,

While I understand the use of mnemonic devices to help the public remember phone numbers, I must object to “1-800-MARGARITA”, the number listed for the firm in your Spanish subway ads. It strikes me as very unprofessional for a law firm to use such a silly, condescending number. Is this the only way you can think of for the Hispanic community to remember your number? To make it the name of possibly the only person in your firm who speaks Spanish? One who is likely some receptionist from the Bronx with three illegitimate children that handles the bulk of the case while having no business doing so? Would a Spanish speaking client even meet with Mr. Trolman, Mr. Glaser, or Mr. Lichtman? Three gentlemen, who I would guess, are not Hispanic, but nevertheless represent the “number one law firm for injured Hispanics”?

I’d like to see what phone number is printed on the business cards your firm distributes to your affluent, white clients. I’ll bet the farm that it’s not 1-800-MARGARITA.

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what’s your favorite subway euphemism?

Now don’t get me wrong. The NYC subway system is a pretty miraculous thing. But like any public, subway_web.jpgcrowded, aging great-work, it can be irksome, particularly when it stops mid-tunnel and the engineer comes on the loudspeaker to give us (if you can hear him/her) just enough information so as to slow our collective descents into primitive man (yeah, that’s right, if we’re desperate enough, umbrellas can also be used as clubs).

But what’s your favorite subway euphemism?

Mine is “earlier incident.” You know when the train stops and the engineer apologetically explains, “Due to an earlier incident, trains are running at reduced speeds,” etc. Anything could be an earlier incident, provided it happened and it happened before right now. Yargh, really keeps you guessing, but maybe that’s the point.

What’s yours?

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Filed under crazy world, subway, throwing it out there

subway-turnstile-fraud

Gee, Golly. What a week. First locksmith-blackmail now this. Ok. So I’m entering the C-train at Lafayette this morning, sort of in a hurry since it’s around 9:02 AM and the train has been wont to arrive between 9:04 and 9:08 most days (who’s counting?), and there’stunrstile.jpg this crowd of three boys (probably around 16, but larger than me, big surprise) surrounding the single turnstile headed toward Manhattan. As I scurry closer, it appears, through their gesturing and words I can half make out, that one of the boys mistakenly swiped on the Manhattan side instead of the other side, which goes deeper into Brooklyn. So as I try to swipe myself, which is difficult since they’re blocking the way, one of them asks me, “Hey can you swipe on the other side – we already swiped on this side by mistake.” Sounded like a reasonable thing to ask. But just then I hear the train coming – granted it could be an A, but who’s willing to take that chance? It must be 9:05 by now, dear God! I get flustered.

I reach toward the turnstile to enter, but before I get there: “HEY, that’s our swipe!” the kids yell. “Sorry I sort of want to make this train,” I fumble fogey-like, again reaching for the revolving metal bars. “That’s illegal!” one cries, but when I finally try to move through the turnstile, wouldn’t you know – it doesn’t budge. The kids never swiped at all!

So I get out my Metrocard, hear the train-breaks sqeaking (Shite, it is a C!) while one of the boys screams, “But we already swiped here!” “I JUST TRIED IT AND IT DIDN’T MOVE, MAN!” I yell out of nowhere, swipe my card on the 2nd try (after one flub) as the kids wryly giggle, and I stumble down the stairs just as the train starts leaving. Shite. At least I now have ample time to be pretty-darn embarrassed about yelling at some youths, calling them “man” for some reason (what was that about?), and just plain feeling-all-square and blah and stuff. Fudge, I hate work-clothes.

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Filed under anecdotes, crazy world, office, subway

metrocard anxiety disorder

Ok so there was this incident a couple of weeks ago. I was going to work in the morning, about to enter the L train, at the Lorimer stop on Union Ave., where there is just one turnstile btw, and I swipe my metrocard, but I get the “Please Swipe Again” message, which is totally fine, this can happen once in a while. I slide my card through another time, but still: please swipe again. metrocard.jpgThere’s one person behind me at this point, “I swear this never happens to me,” I chuckle, no problem, these machines are old, just need to finesse it through, I swipe for a third time, please swipe again, I check my card, everything seems fine, no bumps or whatnot, there are now three people behind me checking their watches, beep, please swipe again, beep beep, please swipe again, AGAIN, my heart begins to race, this is not my fault, this is a brand new TransitCheck, beep, please swipe again, beep beep beep, AHHH, by this point the line behind me has reached critical mass, I can hear the train coming, the pitchforks are out, so I have to step aside, and wouldn’t you know it, the person right behind me, she swipes, gets a green “GO” message the first time, some tool snickers three people behind her, and as I stand there wholly embarrassed, half-watching commuters younger than me having swipe-success after swipe-success, it all becomes perfeclty clear: it’s me. It wasn’t my card, or the dumb machine, some malfunction, it was dumb me. Something was wrong with my swiping technique. (thunder crashes)

Now, when we first come to nyc, by nature of our lack of experience, we’re all pretty terrible swipers, and I was a particularly sorry case since, as you probably know, I have a tendency to be jumpy and imprecise in all I do. subway_turnstiles.jpgNo yeah, I was laughable, I was all erratic, I wasn’t sure which way the card should go, I would start blowing on the card, for some reason, as if it were an old Nintendo cartridge, but slowly over time, I began to hone my technique, not too fast but certainly not too slow, the key is following through, you’ve gotta want it. And I’ve also found that (I’ve never told this to anyone), if I think about Jazz while I’m swiping, my motion gets even more fluid, almost musical. But that’s just me. I’ve heard people say they recite their shopping list as they swipe: Mushroom Soup, Broccoli, Pound of Ham, Beep. Hey, whatever gets you on that train buddy, who am I to judge, right?

And then this incident occurs, which completely shatters my swipe-confidence. Yeah it’s bad, I’ve basically regressed to tourist status. Sometimes it takes me five swipes to get it right. Small-framed Korean women, they can hardly speak English (God love them), they’re trying to teach me how to swipe, “No no no, do this, like this,” it’s humiliating. Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, they’re not working anymore. I’m right where I started. But, hey, I’ll get there again, I’ll get by. I imagine what I’m feeling is sort of like someone who’s just had a really bad stroke, you know, they lost the ability to speak, and have to physically re-learn how to form sentences, bit by bit. Slowly, through swiping and unswiping, practice and patience, I imagine I’ll get there too. That is, if I’m one of the lucky ones.

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Filed under anecdotes, subway, tall-tale-ish musings