Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Whaler

People in N.Y.C. get a bad rap for their supposed rudeness. I think New Yorkers are actually friendlier and more helpful to strangers than in the rest of the country. Three things make it seem otherwise:
(1) Crowds of tourists are annoying, so if you're visiting you may see us annoyed . . . at you.
(2) You gotta keep from interacting with everyone who wants to talk to you in a city with so many SHPOSes. Which is why we don't always chat with strangers.
(3) The small number of SHPOSes are much more visible than the vast majority of civilized people.

And on the last note, I've noticed some really unforgivable SHPOSiness on the subways.
You are supposed to do the following, for starters:
(1) Stand to the side of the door and let people out before pushing onto the train.
(2) If you're in the car, don't stand right next to your buddy in front of the door and make everyone coming in and out squeeze between you.
(3) If you have to drag your off-road stroller, bicycle, or shopping cart full of empties/garbage/crack paraphernalia/construction materials into the car, get out from in front of the door.
(4) When the car is crowded, you can hold onto a center pole with your hand. But you can't hog the whole thing by wrapping your arm around it.

Which is why we need a superhero. Not a Batman or a Superman. No-- superheros always attract supervillains. We just need a costumed guy to enforce subway etiquette -- with Extreme Prejudice.

Imagine some SHPOS (as I saw a few months ago) throws his half-eaten slice of pizza on the floor of the car, or whips a sleeping homeless man with a piece of wire (saw this, too), or is touching himself (no, but other people have) . . .

A rider pulls open the sliding doors and steps out between the cars. From the underside of the couplers, she draws a glistening silver conch shell and brings it to her mouth.
One long rising blast, followed by two shorter blasts ring from the horn and echo through the tunnels.
A spark of hope enters the eyes of the weary riders.
The SHPOS glares.
The train slows, then stops in the tunnel.
A cool salty mist fills the tracks.
Across the tracks, under the signal lights, a man stands on a ledge.
He wears sea-foam deck boots, gloves and oilskin coat, with a mask across his eyes.
In his left hand, a coil of cable is tethered to the steel harpoon in his right.
The car doors open, and cool sea air pours in-- along with a whistling HARPOON that plunges into the side of the SHPOS.
The rope TWANGS as the SHPOS is jerked out of the car.
The doors close. The mist thickens, fogging the windows.
The announcer speaks: "Sorry for the delay. Nexstop, 34th Street, Penn Station."
"God bless you, The Whaler!"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your blog is terrible.

Ennngh! Wrong! F-minus-minus.