December 21, 2005

Where have all the subway rants gone?

How strange, you are all surely thinking, that Francis has not let loose with a full-tilt subway rant, when there is truly one heck of a reason to be ranting about the subways right now. And it's true that my first reaction to hearing about the strike was "What the fuck do these fucking motherfuckers think they're fucking doing, for fuck's sake?" (where "fucking motherfuckers" could refer to transit workers or the MTA, depending on my mood) -- but, you know, what's the point in ranting about the same thing that everyone else is ranting about? We've all got basically the same thing to say: Christ almighty, this sucks.

But still. Some tales from my own personal commuter hell:

On Tuesday, I was dropped off by car at my therapy appointment (fortunately located near the Park Slope Co-op); afterwards, I considered trying to hitch a ride with someone but ended up taking the LIRR to Jamaica and then to Penn Station, and walking to work from there. Getting from Park Slope to work took about 2 hours, and I only managed to do it that quickly because I was lucky enough to be in line with someone a little savvier about the LIRR who found a conductor selling tickets on the platform to anyone with cash, which saved having to wait in line for god knows how long. The trip was also made more pleasant by the sudden camaraderie that crops up between strangers in New York when circumstances get weird (it happens in blizzards as well); I ended up in one of those we're-probably-never-going-to-see-each-other-again-so-why-don't-we-tell-each-other-all-about-our-personal-life conversations, which are always fascinating. Nara, if you're out there (and if I'm remembering your name correctly), I hope things work out well for you.

Coming back to Brooklyn last night was hell. Rose and I met up and attempted to hail a taxi; when one finally stopped for us, he asked us where we were going before we got in. We said Brooklyn and he was all like, "Sorry, I'm off duty." I tried to open the back door anyway (since cabbies aren't allowed to refuse a fare just because they don't like the destination), but it was locked! Cabbies never lock their back doors! (Or at least, not unless there's a frickin' TRANSIT STRIKE with a zillion people who need to get to Brooklyn and a zillion cabbies who don't want to take them.) I tried reaching through the front window to unlock the door, and he rolled up the window. Then I lost my temper and pounded on the window and kicked the door and called him several species of name. I worried briefly that he was going to get out of the taxi and kick my ass, but he drove off. Future cabs mostly had the same problem; finally we found a not-really-a-taxi station wagon willing to take us to Park Slope for $45, so we ponied up and hoped one of our companies would reimburse us for it. It was a long, traffic-filled ride, and thank goodness there was goulash at the end of it.

This morning Rose and I both rode in with our friend Gina and her twins. There's not much to say about the drive except that it was long; it took a little over two hours to get to her parking garage near the UN. Fortunately the twins were in a good mood for the whole trip, and thus nothing was interfering with the fact that they are killingly cute and endearing.

Tonight we're giving up on trying to get back into Brooklyn and staying at a friend's place in New Jersey, easily reached via NJ Transit. And maybe on Thursday we'll just walk back to Brooklyn.

Tangentially: towards the end of our trip to Manhattan this morning, we passed some Trump building or other and it occurred to me that Trump's buildings all remind me of those cheesy gold-frame green-tinted sunglasses that mustachioed men wore in the 1970s. Anyone with me on this one?

Posted by Francis at 03:03 PM

Walking is the way. I walked from Park Slope, over the Bklyn Bridge, and hailed a taxi in lower Manhattan to complete my journey. Took about two hours. Full report on my blog, but I'm finding that I can out-walk to jammed traffic on Flatbush easily.

Posted by: Doug at December 21, 2005 03:51 PM