Tag Archives: mta

Not all homeless like the “Soloist”……

I recently watched a movie that put my moral compass on trial.  Well, maybe not my morality, but certainly my humanity.  Bf and I decide to watch “The Solosist,” you know, the true story about a man whose homeless, but is this amazingly gifted musician and the reporter who found him, wrote a story about him in the “L.A Times,” and is now his life long friend.  Oh, and did  I mention that this homeless man is played by non-other than:

Jamie Foxx

Jamie Foxx

Which, when you think about it, would follow in the dictionary as the perfect definition for an oxymoron.  I mean, how many MILLIONS do you think he made from doing this movie?  Even if completely flopped, he still would be skipping all the way to the bank.  Must be interesting to play a homeless person when you know that you are probably the farthest thing from the truth.

But, that aside, the movie and story itself is actually very touching and like I said, put me to shame.  It almost made me feel bad about all the times that I cursed the mariachi band that, by no fail, seems to be on every train that I get on.  It doesn’t matter if it is one in the morning or ten at night it never fails that at some point in time in my trip that I am forced to hear the strumming of four guitars on probably one of the most acoustic platforms possible!  It’s like the music bounces of the walls! And if there aren’t any bodies in the car when they happen to play, forget it, buckle up, because honey, you’re at the Met and you have a front row seat!  NOw, I realize that these people aren’t homeless, but nevertheless, they are still begging.  And you have to think that this would be a last resort for a person.  That this act of begging would be the last thing anyone would want to expose themselves too.  The stares, the ignorance, the inconvenient and begrudging smirks of passengers that you endlessly feel on your backside as you pass your way through one side of a car to the other; knowing all the way that you are the reason people have closed their eyes, turned up the volume of their Ipod, or shifted their bodies forcefully out of your way as to avoid you at all cost.  I’m sure from the beggars angle it would appear as if they were Moses and they had possessed the power of God to part the Red Sea.

Now, I realize that as a New Yorker on the train you might not run away from the mariachi band, but you definitely turn a blind eye at times.  And you definitely have turned a blind eye to the homeless man sleeping on the bench in your car or the man with no legs, no wheelchair, who scoots on his ass using his hands to pull him forward, begging for money, claiming that his disfigurement is a result of being wounded in Vietnam. I know you have, because I’ve shamefully done it too.  I’ve become so hardened and dulled to the homeless that it doesn’t phase me when I pass them by.  It’s almost as if they’ve become part of the ground, the cement that they lay on, the flies on the walls. You forget that they’re human beings, you know, not just an annoyance or a drain on society or whatever opinion might be held against their favor.  I mean, I don’t even think twice when I pass the homeless man that sleeps on my block.  It think that I may have given him a second glance the other day when it was raining outside because I thought how awful it must be to have to sleep in a cardboard box with only a sheet of plastic to cover you from the rain.  But, the point is that I kept walking, kept going on with my life, kept worrying about being late to work, kept him out of my thoughts.  How is this possible, you wonder?  How is it possible to deny a human being the right of even acknowledgment?  I mean, these people had to of had lives before they became  so unfortunate.  It isn’t possible to be born into homelessness, I refuse to believe it, even though I know that this is the truth in some cases.  Some of these people, like Nathaniel Ayers, portrayed by Foxx, may have had a normal life, a steady life, and then something unforeseeable occurred and they were then so unfortunate as to end up living on the streets.

Actually, just to add a side note,  it’s interesting that I am talking about this because when I used to work in Soho, there was a woman who used to sit behind the building I worked in.  She couldn’t have been older than 25 and sure enough, when I would come up to the building,  I would see her.  I saw here everyday for about a year and never once did I say anything to her.  A couple of the girls that I worked with were so kind as to give her food every once and a while and by the time a year had passed, she looked as if she had aged thirty years.  There were days that I can remember walking by her and not even recognizing her.  She had grown dirtier, skinnier, and more disheveled as the days passed.  After about a year of seeing her everyday, she just seemed to disappeared.  I never knew what happened to her or what had even caused her to be homeless in the first place.  I imagained that there was no possible way that she had a family because if she had there wasn’t a reason that I could conceive that they wouldn’t come to her rescue.

But, back to my actual topic, I had been feeling pretty shameful after seeing the movie up until about two days ago, when in my new state of compassion, I was sitting on the F train, on my way to work when a visibly drunken man boarded the train.  Now, I don’t even look up.  I’m listening to my music, ignoring everything that is going on around me.  So, this man gets on and sits across from me.  I can already smell him.  BO, piss, with a dash of onion.  I don’t move though, I don’t want him to feel any worse than he already probably does about his situation  Why I thought this mattered is beyond me.  So I’m sitting, minding my own business, and I catch out of the corner of my eye, his body moving around rapidly like he was a pacing or something.  I mute my Ipod.  And apparently, he has been yelling at me the whole ride to the next stop!  Everyone has moved to the end of the car and now it’s just me and the drunk, smelly, old homeless guy! What in the hell am I supposed to do now?! I get off at the next stop, so there’s no reason to get up and stand by the door because that might give him the reason to actually come over and be next to me.  Atleast here a could bury my head and sink in to my seat.  The easiest thing for me to do would be to wait until the doors open and just simply slip out.  Oh and by the way, this whole time while I’m planning my escape route, he’s telling me that he’s going to kill me if I take his picture! “Don’t take my picture! I’ll f*cking kill you!” I don’t even have a camera, you idiot!  And you know, I’m not even really scared or worried about something bad happening, I’m just really pissed.  Pissed that I seem to be a magnet for homeless people (I’ve been mugged once).  Pissed at the other people on the train not acknowledging the fact that we have a crazy on board and completely ignoring my end of the train.   I don’t think he would of done anything, but still what if he had?  Ten bucks says not one person would buck up and help me out.  Luckily, the train doors open before the situation really escalates and all I hear as I leave the train is that it’s a good thing I got off because he would of hurt me if I hadn’t.  I flip him the bird as I exit the train.  Probably not the smartest thing I should have done.

As I walked away from the train I couldn’t help not have a sour taste in my mouth.  Had this one man ruined my renewed sense moral integrity?  Was I going to now unconsciously choose to go back to my previous ignorance?  I guess I’ll find out when I walk down my block.

Art by the Homeless:



Hates the “MTA”….

I feel now that I have lived in “NY” long enough to have the right to say what it is that I am about to say.  After almost six years of living in this crazy city, I can finally say without remorse that I HATE the “MTA”!  And no offense to those who work for the “MTA,” but I could die happy if I knew that from this day forth I would never have to step foot onto another subway/bus again.  I know that you think us New Yorkers are so blessed as to have such an extensive and easily accessible mode of public transportation, but trust me, we’re not. And yes, we might save money on gas and insurance that your car costs you, but take my word for it, most of us would rather pay those costly dues than scrap together almost $90 for a metrocard that only guarantees you that you MIGHT get to work on time.  At least someone who has a car is able to run on his own schedule and when they get in the car and turn the key, they know that in a matter of seconds they’ll be able to shoot off to where ever it is that they want to go.  Work, the movies, a nice candlelit dinner, or my personal favorite, a white-sandy beach filled with nothing but the sounds of myself sipping a cold margarita and the gentle crashes of the waves breaking on the silky soft sand.  Ahhhhh….But, the sad truth is that the only beach I see when I get on the subway are the tourist ads for the Bahamas telling me how much my life really sucks compared to the people in the posters who seem to be happier than a pig in sh*t.  It’s depressing frankly and I don’t care how many times they change the colors of the subway cars or how many times they post poetry on the ceiling, the subway will never be a place that makes my knees weak.

Take the other day for instance.  I’m on my way to work, like any other day.  I’m walking with my boyfriend and my Bo-Bo down 2nd avenue and I decide that instead of taking the 6 to the F to get to Brooklyn, that I would just walk an extra couple of blocks to the F and catch it there instead.  Now, I’ve done this plenty of times before and it’s a little bit more of a walk, but I always rationalized that it was better than having to transfer at Bleeker St. to catch the 6.  I could just get where I needed to go in one shot.  So, I kiss my BF (I’m just going to say this from now on because it’s just easier than having to write out boyfriend. And yes, I’m lazy.) and my Bo-Bo bye and head up to “Lexington Avenue” to catch the F train.  Here in lies my first gripe with the “MTA.” The 63rd st station is not only stifling hot as it always is in the summer, but for some reason or other, probably having to do with sea levels or some other scientific reason that I can’t even fathom, the builders of this wonderful station decided that it would be funny if they made the station so deep to almost touch the borders of Hell.  And, yes, when you’ve finally waddled down the four escalators, so steep that at the top of each you feel as if you are on a roller coaster that has just reached the peek of a drop, and when you have finally made it down to the platform, dripping in sweat from the muggy, stale heat you feel as if you are now wading in the Devil’s belly.  You might as well not even bothered to shower, do your hair, put on makeup because in a matter of the 15 min that you walked from the stoop of your 5-story walk-up to get to the station, to go down the escalators and arrive on the platform you would be sweating so horribly that the only thing that you will be wanting to do is climb back up those mountain sized escalators, walk home, take a shower and call a cab.

So, now I’ve walked the full length of the platform to be able to get to the last car.  And of course, as always, I managed to miss the previous train.  Had there not been 500 steps that I had to run down in order to get to the platform I may have actually been able to get  to work on time.  So, I waited, sweating, wondering, as I looked around, if I would be smooth enough to be able to sneak up on the guard at his little station and steal his fan.  But, I didn’t feel like getting arrested.  Stripes aren’t a good look for me.  Fifteen minutes later, the train roars up.  And this brings me to my next point.  The weekend train is probably the most horrible train that you can ride.  It’s always running late, its gets stuck at every station, and is always delayed because of track work.  It’s a loose-loose situation and unless you just have the best luck ever, you will never make it to where you need to be going on time.  Now, usually I figure this into my daily travel, but for some reason, on this particular morning I didn’t leave a bit earlier than during the week.  This is also what pisses me off.  It takes me about an hour to get to work.  Already that sucks by itself, but, hey, you do what you have to do. Now, on the weekends it takes me about an hour and a half, which lets face it, is unacceptable.  Only when I lived in Queens and it took me that long was it more acceptable because I lived all the way down by JFK airport.  I’m in Manhattan, going three stops into Brooklyn. How in the hell is that possible.

So, the train pulls up and low and behold, it’s not the  F, but the E.  I get on, figuring that this train will at least get me to a station where I can transfer to get the F.  Announcement.  Annoyance. I can never understand what the announcer is saying.  It’s always crackled and spotty or the announcer doesn’t realize that he/she is providing an important message and instead of talking clearly so the passengers can understand, they’d rather try and make us guess what they are saying by playing the mumble game.  Super fun, right? It’s like they take the mic and press it right up against their lips to talk and it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if there was a running bet amongst the conductors to see who can make out the most words in the others announcement.  And all I could gather from this one’s message was the the E train was running on the F line due to track maintenance and that it’s last stop would be 2nd avenue.  Luckily had I not been able to understand the conductors announcement I was on one of the newer trains that had the high-tech screen on the ceiling that would tell me what stop would be next and what would be the last.  I just told myself that I’d get off at 2nd and transfer.

The train leaves the station and is going so slow that if I was running beside it I would have been able to beat it in a race.  It took 20 min. to get from 63rd st to 42nd where it was then announced that this train was not going to be making any more stops after 34th st. Whatever.  I just get off and wait…again.  By this time there is no telling how late I’m going to be.  This is my favorite part.  The F train is finally spotted coming towards the platform, but right before it enters the station, it stops.  And not only does it stop, it stays idle for a good five minutes.  Do you know how infuriating it is to be running ridiculously late, finally feel as if your salvation has arrived, and then to have that promising  fortune violently yanked out of your grasp?  It’s enough to make you want to cry!  All you want is to get to where you need to be.  That’s it.  You’re not asking to win the lotto or anything.  You’re just asking for the train to be on time so you can get to work, make some money, go home, get some Subway, watch a funny movie, and go to bed! I mean, is that REALLY to much to ask?! I think not!

Finally on the F train, all I could hope was that there wouldn’t be anymore catastrophes and that I would make to work, maybe, only 20 min. late.  Thankfully, the train was running fairly smoothly and the only horrible thing left to happen was the Chinese man sitting across from me that would spill his coffee all over the floor.  I have to admit, I kind of felt bad for the guy.  What the hell was he supposed to do?  Take a mop out of his ass and start cleaning up?  I assume, out of embarrassment, that he got off at the next stop.  But, now his coffee had traveled all the way down the length of the car and in his place two foreigners got on and sat down.  I probably should have told them not to set their bag on the ground, but they hurried in so fast to get a seat that they didn’t seem to notice that there was coffee all over the floor and before it was noticed they plopped there bags down right in the puddle.  Honestly, I couldn’t help but laugh on the inside.  And what made it worse was that one of them picked up a bag and sat it down on their lap.  I had to bury my face in my hands because if I didn’t I would of totally looked like an asshole. I was actually laughing.  Coffee got all over the poor woman’s lap and still she didn’t notice!  I couldn’t believe it!  How do you not notice coffee all over the floor and mostly, how do you miss it when you’ve just put it all over your pants!?  I mean, she finally noticed and was fairly nonchalant about it, but I felt like such an asshole because I was laughing at them.  The “MTA” had driven me to become an asshole.  They had stressed me out so much that morning that the only feeling that I had in me was pure hate. And frankly, I didn’t give a damn about anyone around me. Not even the cute puppy I saw after I arrived 30 min. late at Bergen street.  And I love puppies.

Does your car do this to you?

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