July 18th, 2007
I have this feeling that today is gonna be one of those days...
I got up a little late this morning, and my roommate has a friend sleeping on the couch so I had to be really quiet going to the bathroom to shower. In so doing, I forgot my shaver (I use an electric which was charging in my room, bathroom has no outlet). So, I decide to shave with my Mach 3 in the shower. Which is fine, but my stubble was like 6 days long, so it hurt like hell and took a while. No problem, get out of the shower, it's 8:50. I get dressed, check the weather, and see that it's fucking pouring rain. I grab my ipod and my bag and start walking down the stairs. I put my ipod on, hit play, and 15 seconds in to the song, it craps out. Battery dead. Forgot to charge it. I get to the bottom of the stairs and see that it's raining so hard that an umbrella would be useless. So I wait 5 minutes and it lets up and I put up my umbrella and make my way to the subway. I get to the subway, and the platform is crowded from edge to wall. 10 minutes later, the 1st train comes, and goes right by without stopping. Then the next train comes. It stops. It's completely packed. About 5 people are able to get on. Then the next train comes, it's slightly less packed, a few more people get on. Finally, the 7th train comes, and I am able to get on because there is finally room / the platform has emptied enough. Now, the train, however, is stuck behind 6 other trains, and is running unbelievably slowly, so I switch for a different train and finish my commute fairly peacefully. I go to leave the subway station at union square and there are hordes of people standing by the bottom of the stairs refusing to go up because it is once again fucking pouring. No problem, trusty umbrella in hand I follow the small line of people braving the rain. I hit the button on my umbrella to open it as I'm starting my way up the stairs and...it opens about halfway and then stops, completely broken. How is it completely broken from the time I got on to the subway until the time I got off? I have no idea, I'm not a scientist. But the fact remains that it is completely broken. So now I'm getting drenched for the 2 blocks to work. I get to work soaked, and of course my office is colder today than it's been all week. And all of that in the first two hours of my day. And that's fucked.
Oh, and of course, that steam pipe that blew up? Killed subway service so it took me an hour and a half to get home.
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July 13th, 2007
I work in the Union Square area. I take the subway to Union Square every morning, and take it home from Union Square every evening. Union Square Park is a lovely place to eat lunch and I enjoy sitting there and relaxing.
Ah, lunch. Yes. That's what I'm going to be talking about today.
That's right. You have not misread. I hate it. I despise it. Lunch could not possibly make me more miserable. Every single day, I am forced to go to one of the same 7 or 8 places and get subpar food. It is very draining. I frequently converse with friends and ask them what I should get for lunch because I don't have the willpower or care to think about all the shitty food around here and choose one.
And, normally, I eat a late lunch. Around 3pm. And I understand that at 3pm, certain places don't offer their full menu. Some of the delis don't serve breakfast stuff. Some of them even turn off their grill. And that's fine. At 3pm, I don't have the expectation that I'll be getting my pick.
At 1:45, however, the time that I went out for lunch today, I expect all lunch options to be available. After painstakingly deciding on what I'd like to eat, I made my way to Food Works on 19th street. "Today," I thought, "I will have a Philly cheese steak for lunch. Delicious, greasy, cheesy goodness." And so I picked up my drink, and walked over to the sandwich counter to order my lunch. It was maybe 1:55 at the latest. "I'd like a Philly cheese steak with American cheese please."
"Oh, I'm sorry, the grill's closed."
"The grill is closed for the day."
"It's not even 2 o'clock yet, are you kidding?"
But he had already walked away.
When I go for lunch at or after 3, I don't expect the grill to be open and so I don't go to Food Works to get a Philly cheese steak. It's not even worth the trip. But at 1:45, I expect you to make my fucking sandwich. At 1:45 I expect you to slap a piece of generic beef-like product on the grill with some onions and peppers til the meat turns brown. Then I expect you to throw a couple slices of American cheese on top, let it melt just a tiny bit, and flip that whole fuckin brown, cheese covered mess on to a small hero roll.
For once I had actually picked what I wanted to eat. And you're denying me? Are you fucking serious? That's completely fucked. What kind of service industry can get away with telling someone "No, we won't make you what you asked for" at a normal time to ask for that thing.
So I put my drink back, and walked out. Disgusted. Now I had to think of a new place to go, and so I figured I'd just get a slice of pizza and end the search. Get to the pizza place, and it's the one day that they have burned the shit out of the plain pizza and are out of pepperoni. What are the chances? About 100%. The pizza had decided that I was to suffer for not choosing it first. So, fuck you pizza place, off to a different deli where I picked up a lackluster sandwich which is now sitting in front of me.
I hate lunch because shit like this happens to me all the time. Because the "gourmet delis" on and around 5th avenue in this area all serve the same crappy food that is in no way "gourmet." I die a little every day trying to decide what horrible crap I'm going to shove down my throat because there is literally nothing good to eat.
In fact, the reason that I eat at 3 o'clock is that I'm so depressed at the prospect of having to wade through the shit that some people call lunch options, that I lose all motivation to go get food until it's late enough when the choices are more limited.
I don't know if this monotony is just to be expected from having worked in the same area for over 3 years, but it seems that many people are quite capable of working in one location and finding something to eat for lunch on a daily basis, so I think it must be specific to this area. And that sucks for me. Because I work here. And I'm hungry.
July 10th, 2007
I had to skip last week because I was on vacation, but I'm back with another Subway Etiquette Lesson. This week, it's time to talk about the rules (and there aren't many) between people who are seated.
These rules are similar to the rules for people who are standing, except that, obviously, you're seated.
You are sitting on the subway, following last week's rules about taking up only one seat and a person sits down next to you. For this example, you are not seated at the end of a row of seats, but rather in the middle. And we'll say you're on a bench seat, rather than the individual seats, so that it's not as clear what's your space and what isn't. So you're sitting, maybe with someone already next to you on one side, and this person sits down on your other side, and they're a bit on top of you. They are trying to subtly push you over so that they have more room. And, if there is not very much room, they are in the right. But, let's assume that there is plenty of room, and they're just an asshole.
So you've got someone sitting on top of you. What can you do? The first step in removing someone from on top of you is to move further towards them. Like when standing up and someone's leaning in to you, you lean back in to them, the same holds true for sitting. You have to lean in to them to try to express to them that they need to get the fuck off of you. [Tip #1: If someone sits down next to you and is encroaching on the little space you have, you are allowed to encroach on their space in hopes of forcing them to move over]
There is a lot more of a grey area with these rules, though. Some people seem to think that they are entitled to as much space as they can take while seated. And that is incorrect. Everyone has seen a person sitting on the subway with their legs as wide apart as possible, trying to prevent other from sitting next to them. Unfortunately, sometimes these people do not push their legs together when someone does take the space next to them.
Yesterday I got on the 6 train to go home. It was about 90º out, which means that it was probably about 150º on the subway platform. I was also carrying an extremely heavy bag with me, and so I beelined for a seat next to this two fuck faces wearing suits. A woman sat down on my other side as I sat down. These two suited douches both had their legs apart and refused to budge. I sat down, put my bag between my feet, and found, shockingly, that my foot had ended up mostly on top of the foot of the guy next to me. He pushed his foot slightly towards me, in hopes of removing my foot from him. And, that is a fair thing to do if someone's foot is on top of yours. However, in this case, the woman sitting next to me was flush against the middle pole, and I was pressed against her. there was nowhere for me to move. Additionally, the heavy bag between my feet kept my foot from moving anywhere. He pushed against me, was unable to move, and eventually very slightly adjusted himself so that I wasn't totally on top of him. These fuckers got off the train, and two women took their places, and all four of us now had plenty of room, because the women sat with their knees together. [Tip #2: Don't take up more space than you need to be comfortable. You will make yourself and those next to you uncomfortable if you try to take more space than you need, but if you take just enough, you should have a little extra space on either side of you to make you even more comfortable]
As I've said before, the seated rules are similar to the standing rules. And the name of the game is don't inconvenience other people. Take only as much space as you need, and not more than that. You're riding the fucking subway, not sitting in a limo, so there is no reason for you to stretch out or feel entitled to extra space. Everyone pays the same fare to take the same subway cars (yes, yes, senior citizens pay half-price, and a pay-per-ride ride costs different from an unlimited-ride ride depending on how many times an unlimited card has been used and if the pay-per-ride rider got their free 6th ride per $10 or not), but the fact remains, there is no designated seating, there is no luxury section, there is no first class. No person on the subway has any right to be more comfortable than any other person on the subway. If you think that you deserve more space than anyone else, that's fucked.
I'm not going to recap these rules because there are only two of them, but seriously, it's hot out, it's hotter on the platforms, don't be a fucking douchebag on the subway cars right now. Be happy that you're in a fairly well air-conditioned enclosed space that takes you where you're going and leave it at that.
July 2nd, 2007
Every Thursday night I drink at the same bar. The bar plays the same songs, serves me the same cheap beer and shots, and generally raises my mood no matter how I am feeling.
But as is often the case with places that you consider your own personal haven, these wonderful times don't always last. And so my Thursday night dive bar is slowly and surely becoming more and more crowded every week with douchebags: frat boys, i-bankers, hipsters, et. al.
So this past Thursday I'm sitting at the bar waiting for some friends (who, as it turned out, never showed up. Fuckers), but I'm sitting at the bar, drinking my beer, and these frat boys surround my general location because there was space on either side of me on the bar.
I'm mildly claustrophobic, but more than that I just don't really like people that much. In particular, I don't like fucking idiots who continually slam in to me. And this frat pack was doing just that. And, more importantly, they were deliberately doing it to try to get me to move so that they could have more space.
Interestingly, I respect that. I have no problem with making someone uncomfortable to try to get more space for yourself. I mean, yes, I was there first by a lot, so it's poorly played, but still, read my Subway Etiquette Lessons and you'll see similar things to that.
Now, and here's the thing, not only were these guys twatwaffles extraordinaire, but they also came in to a bar in New York City wearing St. Louis Cardinals jersies. Thankfully, there was no particular animosity against the Cards that night because the Mets/Cards game had been rained out. There was, however, lots and lots of general animosity because I love the mother fuckin Amazin's and last fall is not far enough away to be forgotten.
So, they tried to move me, and I did not budge. And unfortunately for them, and as it turns out, for me, I was not going to move under any circumstance. So, they eventually stopped trying to pummel me and got to the drinking.
And now, finally, we get to this week's Douchebag of the Weak. There are 4 of these jackasses, and they order shots of Jim Beam. One of them, this week's distinguished recipient, pussies out on the Beam and asks for Cuervo instead. He's wearing his grey Cardinals jersey and generally sucking at life directly behind me, while one of his friends is to my left hitting on this chick and his other two friends are to my right, one behind me, and one next to me. So, they pass this fucker his Cuervo and what does he promptly do while his friends are readying their Beams? He spills most of it on my back.
And, that, in and of itself, is not so bad. What was bad was that he then made no attempt or effort to apologize. Not even a pretense of being sorry about it. His friend to my left also took my Beam shot that I had been waiting on, and his friend to my right, seeing an extra shot of the ones he bought offers me my own Beam shot as an apology. And that's fucked.
And I said to him, "I don't need another shot, I'm already wearing one. Thanks though."
And he says back to me, "You don't have to be a dick about it, man." As if it was possible for me to be a dick about getting a shot of tequila spilled on MY FUCKING BACK.
Oh, but the dude to my left did then buy my next $2 beer on him and apologized for his friends. Also, he wasn't wearing a St. Louis jersey. So he was ok.
June 26th, 2007
Two weeks ago, I talked about standing in the aisle area. Last week, I talked about the area around the doors. Today I will continue my series of posts on rush hour etiquette by discussing seats, and in particular, the rules relating to interactions between people who are seated and people who are standing. I will have another shorter post about the rules between people seated next to eachother.
The most coveted spots on the subway are the door spots (where you get to lean against the doors; preferably the off-door, meaning the door that does not open to the platform) and, of course, the holy grail of rush hour: seats.
Let's stop right here so I can say what pisses me off the most on the subway. More than any other single thing.
[Tip #1: If you are lucky enough to get a seat during rush hour, do not try to look put out or inconvenienced if the people standing around you are closer to you than you would like.]
Ok, got that out of the way. Now, on to seat etiquette in general. The rules regarding seats are much more straightforward than the rules regarding standing/moving about the car. The rules can be broken in to 2 categories: subway cars in which there are individual seats for people to sit (like the 1, 3, and 7 trains, the A train, etc) and subway cars in which there is bench seating (new 2 trains, new 5 trains, new 6 trains).
Rules are very easy for the cars with individual seats. [Tip #2: During rush hour, take up one seat.]
Rules for the cars with bench seating are much more complex... [Tip #3: During rush hour, take up the equivalent of one seat.]
See? What'd I tell you? Much more complex.
Right now, I hope you're saying to yourself "I get that he's joking" or "That doesn't seem much more complex, what gives?"
It is in no way more complex. It is unbelievably easy. Unfortunately, it is completely unheeded, intentionally.
I get on the 6 train every day to go home from work. [Side note: I hate the fucking 6 train passionately.] The newer cars, with the bench seats, have their seating arrayed in such a way that there are either 3 or 4 seats, then a vertical bar for the people standing in the middle of the aisle area, and then either 4 or 3 seats. Always 7 seats total. The problems on these cars, and I see it every single day, arises on the side with 4 seats. What happens is one person will set against the side railing. One person will sit by the vertical bar in the aisle. And one person will seat between them and put their legs as wide as possible so as to deter anyone else from trying to sit next to them.
On the old trains, that person would be sitting on the divider between two seats, and wouldn't be there for long, because that's not very comfortable. But on the new trains, these savages run rampant taking up one and a half to two seats. Don't fucking do that during rush hour when there are 50 people standing cramped around you and you're taking two seats. Don't be that person. Because that person is a fucking douchebag. And taking up multiple seats while there are tons of tired people standing around you is fucked. There is no extra rule here, though. It's simple. Always take up one seat. You might add a corollary that during rush hour, not only should you not take more than one seat, but you should not make the seats around you unwelcoming to others. But that is not a rule. It is not required.
Here's something that is required. At least for a segment of the population. [Tip #4: If a very clearly pregnant woman gets on to your subway car, and you are male and between the ages of 11 and 60, you get the fuck up and offer her your seat. If you are female between those same ages, and not pregnant, you are encouraged to, but are not required to, give up your seat.] Essentially, and this goes beyond pregnant women, [Tip #5: If you are not particularly tired, and you see someone who clearly needs to be sitting down, give up your seat. This is never required, but it is a nice thing to do and the right thing to do.] Examples for Tip #5 might include an elderly man or woman who is having difficulty keeping his or her balance while standing; a young child; a person who is carrying an inordinately large number of bags and appears to be struggling. Any of these people would love to have a seat, so if you really don't need it, offer it up.
[Tip #6: DO NOT PUT YOUR BAG OR BAGS ON THE SEAT(S) NEXT TO YOU.] There are more rules related to bags that I will get in to next week.
I'm standing on the train, surrounded by tired-looking people, and a businessman, maybe in his 50's, has his 10" wide briefcase sitting next to him, against the side railing by the doors. Then he has his legs pushed out towards the middle vertical bar. The end result is that this man and his huge, box-like briefcase are taking up 2 seats. I'm standing in front of this man, completely astounded. Everyone else on the car looks miserable standing. Finally, I pipe up "Excuse me sir, maybe if you moved your bag and slid over, other people might be able to sit down?" He responded, "Oh, oh, I'm terribly sorry, of course, absolutely." He picked up his briefcase, put it on his lap, and moved over. I offered the seat to several of the women around me who all declined, and eventually took it for myself.
The man, fortunately, was not a total douchebag. There are people on the subway who know when they are violating the rules and feel bad about it. And there are people on the subway who don't give a shit about the rules so long as they are comfortable. This guy was the former. He knew that he had violated a rule, and as soon as he was called out on it, he was genuinely apologetic. He was not put out by having to move his bag or himself and seemed more embarrassed at having been caught than anything else. Unfortunately, that's not always the case.
[Tip #7: Never hesitate to ask someone to move over if you want to sit down.]
Once again, your 7 subway etiquette tips are:
- [Tip #1: If you are lucky enough to get a seat during rush hour, do not try to look put out or inconvenienced if the people standing around you are closer to you than you would like.]
- [Tip #2: During rush hour, on trains with individual seats, take up ONLY one seat.]
- [Tip #3: During rush hour, on trains with bench seats, take up the equivalent of ONLY one seat.]
- [Tip #4: If a very clearly pregnant woman gets on to your subway car, and you are male and between the ages of 11 and 60, you get the fuck up and offer her your seat. If you are female between those same ages, and not pregnant, you are encouraged to, but not required to, give up your seat.]
- [Tip #5: If you are not particularly tired, and you see someone who clearly needs to be sitting down, give up your seat. This is never required, but it is a nice thing to do and the right thing to do.]
- [Tip #6: DO NOT PUT YOUR BAG OR BAGS ON THE SEAT(S) NEXT TO YOU.]
- [Tip #7: Never hesitate to ask someone to move over if you want to sit down.]
There are more tips to come. Sitting next to someone who's leaning on you a bit too much? Standing behind someone with a backpack? There are rules for everything and they will come in due time. Stay tuned for more tips next week and each week until I run out of shit to say or start recycling ideas. Oh, and move the fuck over so I can sit down, asswad.
June 20th, 2007
Last week, Colombia, a country best-known in the US for being a major supplier of cocaine, gave equal rights to gay couples. Or, I should say, equal to straight couples in common-law marriages.
Now, this makes me incredibly angry, because it is so thoroughly pathetic, disappointing, and embarrassing to the United States. A country that we spend millions of dollars supporting so that they can "fight the drug trade," a country that we have troops in to help fight the drug trade, a country that many might consider "third world," a predominantly Roman Catholic country has passed a law granting gay couples rights while we up here can't get our act together and treat everyone the same. And yet we call them a "third world" country. And I'm embarrassed because of it.
It is saddening and upsetting that a major world power like the United States, a country founded on the principle that all men are created equal, would be unable to extend that equality to gay men (and women). It took our country over 100 years to grant rights to African Americans. Another 50 years after that to give women rights. And another 50 years after that to actually start treating African Americans vaguely equally. And yet we don't learn from our fucking mistakes and we treat these men and women like 2nd and 3rd class citizens because of who they like to fuck? That's totally fucked. It's embarrassing to everything that the founding fathers of our country stood for.
And, yes, our country was colonized by Puritans, so maybe it is not so shocking that sexuality in this country is a hard topic to bring up, but it's the 21st century and it's time for a change. It's time that people stopped fearing sex and love and fucking and touching and each other. It's time that people started to treat everyone else as a person, no matter the color of their skin, their sexual preference/orientation, their gender, their religion, their political affiliations, their height, their weight (although America could stand to lose a few pounds), or any other statistic that can be used to divide people in to categories. There is nothing more pathetic than hating someone for no reason, and by "no reason" I mean just because they differ from you across any of the lines above or any other line that can be arbitrarily drawn.
Nothing makes me angrier than someone hating on someone else for such stupidity. I mean, seriously, what's the point? We're all alive for such a short time relative to the age of the universe, why should we make this little time we have so fuckin difficult for ourselves and everyone else around us? Why can't we all just sit back, relax, and not hate on everyone for everything under the sun.
I'm getting off-topic. America, land of the free and home of the brave, is not granting that freedom to some of the most brave Americans. Because I can not imagine how brave you must be in this day and age to admit that you are homosexual. And that makes me angry, that it should be something that does require bravery. That it isn't just a second thought "by the way, I'm a dude who fucks dudes." That it's such a big deal, and requires such bravery, is ass-fucking-backwards. And Colombia, no offense to any Colombian readers here (haha), Colombia has given gay couples rights that they deserve. Colombia is one of many countries to now offer gay couples their standard human rights.
And I'm so fucking embarrassed for the good old US of A that it makes me sick and angry. Get your fucking shit together, fuckers. Pressure your congressmen and congresswomen to push for human rights for everyone. If your religion has a problem with gay couples getting married, then at least let them have the ability to be married-in-law, if not in God's eyes. Let them have divorce and the ability to visit their partner in the hospital or in prison; let them execute the Last Will and Testament of their loved ones; let them live in this country and be an equal part of it. If you hate homosexuals because they are so vocal politically, then give them what they want, equality, and I bet they won't be in your face anymore. All they want is to be treated fairly and equally. And that shouldn't be as much to ask for as it is.
When a gay person can say "I'd be treated better in Colombia," what the fuck does that say about the US?
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