Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I suppose I "love"

New York City but, like any person, place, or thing I've ever loved, she has her "moments." Just because I love her doesn't mean she's always lovable, which most would recognize as being axiomatic.

I've lived in a few different neighborhoods and always commuted to the Financial District. I've ridden some of the worst trains -- top honors in that category go, in my opinion, to the L (rhymes with "hell") Train. But a recent experience on another line was so stark that I've been anxious to share it.

By way of context, I've had a couple of interesting experiences on the trains. For example, I've been assaulted on a train in a blatantly racially motivated incident. There were three times as many of them as there were of me. But it passed so smoothly that perhaps it's best to call it a "non-incident."

A year or so ago I reached down and yanked a very mixed up guy off the tracks, while hundreds of people milled around in various stages of handwringing, indifference, and iPod-induced oblivion. I wrote a song on the train once. All memorable experiences in one way or another, and I'm sure I'm fogetting many others. Oh, yeah, there was that incident at 34th Street Port Authority...but that really wasn't a "train" thing (unless feeling like you're being run over by one counts).

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the trains is how few things there really are to write about them, how few "incidents" there are, given the sheer volume of humanity they carry in such a variety of circumstances in, of all places, 21st century New York City.

So, getting to the point of this post, a few weeks ago I had to take the most appropriately-named #2 uptown just a couple of stops. It was morning. Since I was pressed for time, I got a bagel and coffee to go from Mangia (the best place to eat breakfast in the city, as far as I'm concerned, though I concede the point is debatable and I'm open to education on it).

It's a short walk from Mangia to the 2 on Wall and as I attempted to descend the stairs, I encountered the rudest bunch of commuters I have ever come across in this august city. More rude than any at any stop I've ever been to in Brooklyn, either in the pressure cooker of summer or the deep freeze of winter.

I had to swim upstream against a torrent of the most arrogant, unforgiving, merciless, smug, mechanically perfect and impeccably dressed faces I've ever seen. No, they weren't all white, but the term "white trash" found its way into my consciousness (I have an unorthodox definition of that term that I happen to think is the best one for it).

I can attest, because I work there, that not everyone on Wall Street is making more money in the time it takes me to write this than entire countries are in a whole year. It's just not so, no matter what the New York Times says. And most of the people here are really good, decent, hard-working people. Including those making all that money.

However, given salary-and-bonus propaganda, and the sorts of warfare that was involved in simply getting down the stairs onto the platform of the 2 train on Wall, I can see why people think we are, on our best days, sharks. A few brash youngsters whose parents never taught them manners can make us all look really bad.

[this might qualify as one of the most poorly written posts I've ever put up. We'll see how long it lasts.]


Post a Comment

<< Home