After a heady night of live-tweeting the annual television broadcast of that cinematic masterpiece The Ten Commandments, it was time to head uptown for some church-going followed by Easter brunch and fun. The sun was shining, the breeze was warm, the F train behaved itself beautifully and I even made a delightfully timed transfer to the B/D, which is where all the trouble began.
First of all, I cannot even tell you whether I was on a B or a D train because on the weekends such minutiae are immaterial to the MTA, which prides itself on ever-changing weekend routes and schedule, an utterly inaudible public address system and a malevolent sense of whimsy regarding the fate of its passengers.
This is a rant.
So there I am–listening to some Bishop Allen on my iPod, fully reflective sunglasses still propped on my nose despite the undergroundness, brunch supplies safely stowed in a large tote– just minding my own business. At Columbus Circle the long and foreboding announcements make their appearance. I pause the music and attempt to decipher the message, which indeed did sound a lot like a recent New York Magazine reconstruction:
“”Ladies and ____lemen the ___ stop will be ______erhorn. To repeat, the ___ stop will be Broad____ . If you are traveling to ____lin Street _____ now and ____for the ______ train on the ____bound track.”
The train continued to idle as the driver repeated his instructions a few times and I slowly came to what I thought was a sense of clarity regarding my transport destiny. My understanding was that my train would run express to 96th Street and then switch to local service. My destination being 103rd, I thought to myself, “Perfection.”
Mind you, the train is still idling inexplicably and the announcements are droning on and on as more passengers enter the subway car. Also keep in mind that according to New York Magazine, the D train is one of the top three worst lines for announcement clarity and that overall 55% of subway announcements are unintelligible. Note it.
An older man boards my car, looks right at me (you remember, the girl listening to her ipod, reading a magazine and wearing sunglasses so as not to be disturbed) and asks, “Is this training going to 96th?”
At first I ignored him since clearly I was not to be interacted with, but once I realized that for some reason he had chosen to discuss the matter with me, I confirmed.
Downhill, downhill, downhill.
The train did not stop at 96th. It did not stop at 103rd. It did not stop at 110th. It did not stop until 125th Street. As the B/D zoomed through 96th the old man got up, walked over to my seat where I was thinking, “Oh crap, good thing I was running early because this is mucho unfortunate,” and started to scream at me about subway direction etiquette.
In case you are wondering, subway direction etiquette involves not lying to people whose days you are clearly trying to sabotage. Clearly. Nevermind that it was an honest mistake, nevermind that he had chosen to ask an unapproachable person for information, nevermind that the MTA is notoriously useless on the weekends and unintelligible in general, and lastly: nevermind that I too had obviously missed my stop and would have to backtrack (along with half the passengers on the train based on what happened once we pulled into 125th Street and all crossed platforms together).
Might I add that I did in fact apologize, even though clearly one asks strangers for weekend subway advice at your risk.
A lady sitting across the way turns to him in the middle of his rant and says, “Oh yes, we’re going to 125th Street, you’ll have to go up the stairs and cross over to the other track.”
She had been sitting there through the entire slurry of announcements, had clearly noted that not only was I mistaken but that I was accidentally misleading this crazy old man and had not said a word, until the opportunity to be uppity about it came along.
I hate people.
On the upside, a C Train showed up almost immediately and I made it to my destination on time. On the downside, my Easter morning was no longer idyllic, but just an average angry New York weekend-subway-riding fiasco.
Then in my attempt to be a good person, I went to church and almost passed out due to the horrendous over-use of incense. Thanks.