March 14, 2005

dude, where's my corolla?

You know how there are those quirky not-too-well-known holidays like National Shut-in Visitation Day (February 11) or Crackers Over the Keyboard Day (August 28)? Well I don't have confirmation but I'm thinking March 12 is National Ignore Spatial Relationships and Violate Personal Space and All Rules of Public Transportation Decorum Day. I mean, if there wasn't a coordinated attempt to upend several societal norms this past Saturday... well, then the coincidence is just freaky. I realize I already magnetically attract public transportation's finest specimens (see here and here, you ham & cheese on wry newbies) but this is getting out of hand.

Let's start with my morning experience at the Port Authority where I encountered a woman with fringed suede boots who employed an elaborate side-to-side pattern of walking. It was like she had eyes in the back of her head and an unquenchable thirst to aggravate because whenever someone tried to pass, she floated right in their path. I miraculously managed to penetrate her force field while she was pissing someone else off and dashed over to the row of ticket machines and feverishly made my purchase. With a few minutes to spare, I walked swiftly to the escalator leading up to the gate... only to be thwarted by Woman with Fringed Suede Boots who was blocking the entrance so she could primp and preen and "fix" her ratty-ass hair in the reflection of a glass-encased sign. I hated Woman with Fringed Suede Boots and secretly hoped the fringe would get caught in the teeth of the escalator. No such luck.

Fast forward to my return trip back from Jersey. I stood on the Path train platform with about five other people who were all scattered the appropriate distance from one another. Everyone was adhering to the unwritten rule that when there's enough room, you do not choose a spot less than 20 feet from your closest neighbor. You just don't.

So there I was abiding by the rule and leaning up against a wall when I noticed a woman approaching and making a beeline straight for me. I gave her the benefit of the doubt that she'd change course and walk past me at a socially acceptable distance. Nope. Instead, she opted to stop dead in her tracks and stand barely within arm's length of me even though there was enough room to do pirouettes and backflips on the platform if she so desired. I briefly considered walking to edge of the platform in the hopes that she'd follow me and then maybe fall on the tracks or whatever. Again, no such luck.

The train ride itself was uneventful except for the girl on her cell phone engaged in a riveting discussion about the cost of laundering her clothes. At one point, the door connecting our car with the next slid open and got stuck in that position. Instead of talk of Wisk and Snuggle fabric softener sheets, the car was filled with the metallic racket of the train as it barreled along the tracks. The noise is deafening and I usually close the door when it happens but in this case it mercifully drowned out the discussion of spin cycles and hampers. Believe it or not, the door slid closed again just as the girl lost reception near Journal Square. I personally think it was an act of God.

Shortly after, we pulled into the World Trade Center station and I made my way up the stairs to board a really long escalator. Now, regardless of the length, the proper procedure for riding an escalator is keep right, pass left. It's not wise nor is it acceptable to walk halfway up the left side of the escalator with a rolling suitcase in tow and then come to a complete stop to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the person on your right. Of course some chick did on Saturday and naturally, I was the person on the right.

What the hell is wrong with people? I wanted to say, "Keep moving, toots!" but well, I would never actually do such a thing but I DID vehemently curse her out in my head for the duration of the ride.

I can't blame the attention on the allure of my toes this time around because I was wearing shoes. None of my little piggies were visible, you see. So perhaps it's the yummy-smelling pomade and Body Shop White Musk Oil combo I rock that casts such an intoxicating spell on my fellow straphangers in the cold-weather months.

I SO need to get a car.