The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum

The Harmful Rays of the Moral Vacuum
Please be advised that for your safety you must exit this blog on foot, calmly and quickly.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Billz Classics

A few days ago, I stumbled upon my long neglected MySpace page.  It was a bit of internet archaeology, so to speak.  I read through some of the blog entries I posted to the page.  Since a few of them are good for a laugh, I thought I'd start posting occasional excerpts here with a bit of commentary under the general banner of "Billz Classics."  (Less stuffy than Masterpiece Theatre, but more self important.)

If this new feature is annoying to you, please give me feedback and I will cease and desist.  I value both of my readers very deeply.  Clearly I was even more misanthropic a few years ago than I am now, and my hatred of mass transit ran even deeper.  This first entry was written on Monday, October 30, 2006 under the title "I was waiting for a cross-town train in the London underground when it struck me..."

The subway has been one of the most stressful parts of my day lately, and I only live about 25 to 30 minutes from where I work. Under ideal conditions.

I take one train a few stops and then transfer to another train which takes me the rest of the way to work. It used to go off without a hitch. But for about a month, the first train has been arriving later and later. The worst part is that the longer it takes for the train to come, the more people pile up on the platform. And the more people who pile up on the platform, the more likely the train will already be full once it finally shows up. Sometimes, you have to give up and let the train go without getting on, because there is no way you'll fit. Other times, the train is so full, they don't even bother to stop. They just slowly pull through the station with an obnoxious toot of the horn. Once you do get on a train, everyone is smushed together and in a generally crappy mood. And of course, the train crawls along through the tunnel. Bonus: All of this makes you late to work.

The MTA is not in my good graces in the first place, because I have not forgotten how I got trapped in Manhattan during the transit strike and had to spend three days without a change of clothes and sleep on the floors of assorted friends.

Even worse, the behavior of other people in the subway. People seem to have some sort of strange disease: they rush to get in front of me when exiting or entering a train, or walking in the station, and then they drop 40 IQ points. I will never understand why people walk around so slowly when they know that everyone else is trying to get through. Also, am I one of the only people in the world who has mastered the "stay to the right when walking up or down stairs" rule? I guess they don't teach that one anymore. But the worst thing is that most of these people have the new cellphones that let you play music out loud. Why does society accept this? And it is not as though they are playing something awesome like Nirvana Unplugged or the Weezer Blue album. Invariably, they are playing regaton or foreign pop songs that involve people wailing in Farsi.

But I don't like to gripe without offering practical solutions. The MTA should issue certain passengers with cattle prods. That way, when someone steps out of line, they will be reminded of how to behave properly with 100 megawatts of love.

Commentary: Yep, the MTA is still awful.  They stress me out much less because I got laid off about a year ago and work from home now, but they still suck something fierce.  Also, their fiscal state has declined since the financial crisis.  It seems that every day brings some new story of their ineptitude.  Just today, their bond ratings were downgraded.  It is a question of not if, but when, their mismanagement will lead to bus and train service cuts.

Also, subways passengers are still morons.  I think I may have been on to something with the "people prod" idea.  Lately, an internet backlash has developed against the rude people of the subway.  Probably safer and more legal than people prods.

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