I ride the subway here in New York everyday, sometimes four or 6 times a day (but always in multiples of 2). That's a lot of subwaying. I know many people hate the press and push of the masses on the trains. It can fucking piss you off. Like when all you want to do is get home, take your clothes off and veg in front of your media of choice, and there are about 5 million people in your way. But I love the subway. It's part of what makes New York the city it is. Where else are you bombarded with so much humanness?
Here is a non-comprehensive list in no particular order of the various characters I've observed on the MTA's New York City Transit:
- The Rabbit. These people know the exact door of the exact subway car which leads to the exact staircase they need to make the exact transfer. As soon as the door opens, they sprint out and run up the stairs willy-nilly, with no care for appearance or safety. I must confess that I am a rabbit. I run with the best of them, setting the pace for the pack. The rabbit hates to be caged in by the herd of cattle slowly marching up the stairs to their doom. The rabbit must run free.
- The Wall. Tall dudes, usually wearing puffy black coats, who stand in front of the subway car doors. The doorway is normally about five or six feet wide. When the Wall stands in it, suddenly the opening shrinks to two. And when there are two Walls (not an uncommon occurence) you have to push through like a baby pushing through a fat chick's vagina. No really, it's that bad.
- The Crazy Conductor. I've only encountered this once or twice in my career as a subway rider. Before the train announcments were automated on the newer cars, the conductor would get on the horn and shout out the current and next stops and end with the word "Standclearoftheclosingdoorsplease." As is common of MTA workers, though, most of the conductors had an outrageous foreign accent that only got magnified by crappy speakers. The announcements were unintelligble, and most subway veterans tuned them out. But once, while riding the L train under the East River, a conductor got on the mic with a message, "Don't just push and scrape onto the subway like animals. We are human beings, not cattle. Try to act like it." I'm sure that speech isn't exactly MTA protocol. Another time, I heard a conductor give out weather forecast information and his ironic predictions on the upcoming election. The smiling faces of the other passengers proved that this was a unique New York moment. I agree.
More subway characters to follow including but not limited to The Bitchy Mother, Subway Soundtrack , and Mr. I Just Crapped My Pants.