On 33rd-ish St and 3rd Ave. So adorable. I love him in this interview.
On 33rd-ish St and 3rd Ave. So adorable. I love him in this interview.
Woman: (running frantically with her husband to a stationary M4 bus at 68th St.) Stop!!!!
Woman: (to bus driver) So, what do I do with this?
THEY SQUISH ALONG BUS TO MIDDLE
Woman: New York buses are so confusing! and crowded. Husband: Yep. Woman: (adoringly) You are so good at figuring this out! I never could.
Woman: The waitress at that restaurant wasn’t very nice. Husband: Nope.
Woman: Where are we? Husband: 74th. No, 72nd. Woman: Where are we going? Husband: 79th. Woman: Does it stop at every street? Husband: No, it seems to be stopping every three streets. Or every two streets. Woman: Where are we now? Husband: 74th. Woman: We’re getting close. Husband: Yep, we’re going to 79th Woman: Does it stop at 79th? Husband: I don’t know. Woman: How do we get it to stop? Husband: I don’t know. Woman: Where are we now? Husband: 74th.
I got down into the subway at 77th St and a nice lady asked me if the E exchange was at 59th or 51st. I confirmed that it was 51st, and she thanked me, pleasantly.
When the train pulled in, some commuters were impatient and started pushing on before anyone had gotten off (which has become a new pet peeve of mine). An imposing woman on the train yelled “COMMON SENSE, people! Let us off before you get on! Common sense!”
The nice lady and I shared a little private laugh and a smile. She said “She can say it! She’s tall and loud and she’s right, so she can say it!” I smiled and we got on to the subway, picked up our headphones or our newspapers, and the commuting car was silent as the grave. A friendly grave.
Surprisingly, having lived in Santa Barbara and now New York, I’ve racked up a pathetic and somewhat motley group in my “celebrity sightings” tally: Christopher Lloyd, Courtney Cox, Rob Lowe (if you live in Santa Barabara and haven’t seen Rob Lowe, you’re doing something wrong). Do I even count Bloomberg?
But yesterday, on a quick 7-minute walk to the subway, I added a big fish to my net. Leaving school at about 5:15pm, I walked out the front door, down the steps, and about three steps from the bottom I saw him: David Duchovny.
(I can pretend that I love him from Californication, but it was and always will be as Mulder.)
He was walking east from the park with three small boys who were carrying baseball bats and joking loudly about different accents while Duchovny’s smooth purr refereed their discussion. It was one of those awkward convergences where I ended up walking rightbehindthem. I decided it would be creepier to stay there (and, besides, I’m no giddy school girl—I’m a grown-up!), so I ramped up my pace and passed them. I was heading to the subway at 77th and for three long, glorious blocks they were close behind me. No biggie.
In front of the Jewish school on 77th between Madison and Park the outdoor security guard saluted me; we’ve built up a friendly exchange since I walk by there all the time. I hadn’t seen him since early December, so he shouted at me about how he missed me and I was able to turn around (::yep, they’re still behind me::) and tell him I’d see him soon.
Crossing Park all of a sudden the boys dissolved into raucous laughter and I had a reason to look back once more (at the laughing boys, obvs., because I’m a jaded New Yorker who doesn’t notice celebrities) to confirm just in case you all doubt me: it was him. David Duchovny. I parted from them somewhere between 78th and Lex and the subway station. (I doubt other subway riders would have been as marvelously mature as me. David has a life to maintain, you guys.)
I’m not a fan girl—Robert Pattison? Please. But guys…DAVID DUCHOVNY!!!
So I’m sitting on the subway, doing the crossword on my phone and some guy comes on our car and starts panhandling. I don’t really look up ( I kind of get obsessed with finishing crosswords on the way to work ), but finally I do when the guy has finished rambling (Something something Obama something).
Surprisingly, he is kneeling directly in front of me waiting for me to look up. When I do he gives me a knuckle bump. It was kind of cute and weird, so I go through my pockets for whatever spare change I have. The guy next to me gives him some money and they shake hands. I do the same thing, but he does the ridiculous long shake, smiles and then reaches forward and tousles my hair.
I just laughed, it was too weird.
Sorry, that’s just how it is. I’m a bit of a control freak in all aspects of my life, so I don’t know why anyone would expect anything different from me on my daily commute.
What this means (among many things) is that I prefer to stand. When the inquisitive have asked why, I explain that it has to do with controlling my personal space—sitting down makes me feel trapped, either squished in-between people or sitting there vulnerably for someone else to squish themselves in, and then I’m stuck unless I make the really obviously and potentially awkward decision to stand up after someone sits next to me. I prefer avoidance, and the slight exercise.
When the subway is pretty empty—say, on my nightly “commute” home from school at 10pm—I stand in the doorway. If the subway is a little fuller, I’ll stand somewhere in-between the aisles because for unknown reasons no one EVER scoots down enough and (as you can imagine) I like the little protective pockets that build there. But my favorite spot is always (if it’s feasible and not rude) by the door.
Now, there are a couple situations in which this preference works against me: 1) when someone traps me against the door, especially a man. Even more so a creepy man: starers, leaners, etc. 2) when people get antsy nearing a big stop (42nd St, say) and start trying to maneuver in-between me and the door before we even stop moving. Sometimes people do this and then proceed to sprint up the stairs afterward and I give them a mental free pass—obviously stressed and in a hurry. Okay. But when people start encroaching on my space before we reach the station, then maneuver their shoulders to try and get between me and the door, and then exit the subway…and stop right in the doorway and look around… I freak out—inside my head, of course. [Tangentially: One of the failings of INTJs is that we always expect people to act rationally…]
I swear, if I could choose a transit-related super power it would be the ability to freeze time so I could run around and slightly move people. I don’t use urinals, but to me the dynamics are the same—evenly space as much as possible until you are forced to squish. I can’t tell you how much of my commute is spent mentally willing the guy breathing on me to realize that he has 6 inches between him and me but two feet of free space behind him if he’d only angle from the pole diagonally, instead of perpendicularly.
Like I said, control freak.
Bikes in Montreal as part of the Bixi program. I’ll write more about my experiences with it later. They’re obviously getting used, though!
To my favorite tumblees:
I’m back! Thanks so much for bearing with me. If you follow my Twitter you will have seen that I had some transportation issues and didn’t get back to NYC on Sunday as I had expected.
The last few weeks have taken me from New York to Los Angeles to Chicago to New York to Frankfurt to Cairo to Luxor to Aswan to Cairo to Munich to Montreal and finally back to New York early this morning on a terrrrrible 11hr bus ride that I will definitely tell you more about. I’ve ridden airplanes, buses, cars, feluccas, boats, and even a horse-drawn carriage. All that public transportation, and more, coming directly! Also, I’ll load up the queue again; I apologize for the day-long famine.
So, what did I miss?
Who says New Yorkers aren’t nice?
I’ve been visibly bleeding twice on the subway now (the nose bleed and then, last night, a nice pussing open wound from a soccer game), and both times I’ve been offered a wet wipe by a gracious stranger! The first time it was a teenage girl, this time it was an elderly professorial-looking man.
New York transit-riders ftw.
Did I ever tell you about the time that I was sitting next to a teenage couple on the A train and the girl decided that she couldn’twaitanothermoment to cut her boyfriend’s fingernails?
So yesterday I was walking towards the subway station with my camera out (to take a few pictures I’ll tell you about later) and I made the mistake of carrying it in front of me—it’s an SLR so it’s somewhat conspicuous. This big, tall man in his 40s who was walking in front of me turns around and starts yelling at me “WHY are you taking pictures of my ASS? Don’t think I didn’t SEE you!” and so on and so forth.
Um, the lens cap was still on. Not that I said that—I was already in the subway station by then and so confused I was just figuring out what was going on and that he wasn’t a crazy person, just a paranoid one. Way to make me feel like an asshole, though. I am officially keeping my camera safe in its bag everywhere in the city that isn’t a museum or park or big building.
The other day on the 6 train a man got on with his bike. Instead of standing with it, he chained it to the pole with a big ol’ bike lock. He then sat down about 20 feet away from it, put his bag on the ground, and opened it. He proceeded to bring out a 10 x 10” styrofoam container with mixed rice, beans, and vegetables in it. He had to dig around for a while in the bag to find his metal fork.
This man did not look homeless, or destitute. Apparently, he simply wanted to lock his bike up for a while so he could sit down and have a full meal…on the subway.
What is it with me and the nose-diggers?
The other day on the 6 train, there was a man sitting right by the side of the bench, really going at it. I mean nose-picking like no one’s watching (I think I found a new t-shirt slogan…). Digging deep into his nose, pulling out strands of mucous, and examining them like he was five years old. Needless to say, no one was sitting by him. He went on mining for about 3 minutes (two or so stops after I got on), wiping the results underneath the bench whenever they reached a critical mass.
I thought to myself “okay, another snot person, whatever.” I felt a little sorry for him. It all reminded me of that Seinfeld episode when Jerry’s girlfriend dumps him because she sees him “scratching” his nose in a cab.
Then, wonder of wonders, a man got on the subway, sat down across from our protagonist’s proboscis, and about 30 seconds later the two men apparently recognized each other and embraced enthusiastically. The newcomer sat down next to his sticky-fingered (literally, not metaphorically) friend, and the two chatted amiably for another three stops before they got off together. I kept trying to snap a picture but, as I mentioned before, I’m a pansy, coupled with the fact that I didn’t want any snot-fingers coming at me. I have an exiting picture, but it’s not the money shot I was looking for.
So what’s the moral of today’s After School Special, children? Even public transit nose-pickers have friends.