The subway. Can't live with it, can't live without it. The worst moods I've ever gotten in while living here are due to the MTA. And yet I ride the MTA everyday because, well, I don't have a choice. I'm not sure how I tolerate it, really. The other day I had to wait 45 minutes on a platform packed with pissed off passengers while waiting for a train to arrive that wouldn't go out of service right after it pulled into the station. And let's not forget the stifling un-airconditioned car during the summer that crops up when you're sweating the most. And that one mysteriously empty car with many empty seats you enter...and then...BAM. The utter intense BO of someone sleeping on a far bench hits you in the face and makes you gag. Or the subway gropers, pissers, loud talkers, and beggers. A few weeks ago a group of men decided that it would be especially impressive and a great moneymaker if they blasted their boombox and did breakdancing moves...yes, head spins and flips and all...on the moving and packed train. Needless to say, my foot got stomped on more than once.
And then you have to deal with signs like this. And you're lucky to even get a sign like this--usually you just find out once you get to the next stop (oh, I guess this train is going local...I'm annoyed, but what can I do? I guess I'll just take it out on the next person who annoys me). I'd say the worst part about the subway is the overall feeling of helplessness. I bet half of the stress New Yorkers experience comes from repressed subway frustration. Let's say your train stalls between stations and comes to a halt for 15 minutes. What can you do? You sigh, look at your watch, shuffle your feet, try to take calm deep breaths, once in awhile let out a low grumble, or, if you're some people, loudly complain to anyone who's willing to listen in the same car as you. Then the train starts moving again and you try to forget that that ever happened, but it festers in the back of your brain as you get off at your stop. Then someone's backpack hits your shoulder and suddenly you find yourself yelling WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING SH*THEAD! Yeah, I haven't really yelled at someone on the subway yet, but I've been yelled AT plenty of times. But one day...one seemingly peaceful, beautiful day...I won't be able to take it anymore and all hell will break loose. I hope I'm in LA by the time that happens.