Monday, June 13, 2005

Subways and Slurring and SHPOSes

I hope everyone enjoyed avoiding the Puerto Rican Day parade as much as I did.

I'm sure the Irish are annoyed that everyone picks their parade day to be phony Irish and puke green beer on the sidewalk.

Plenty of Italians want the cast of "The Sopranos" out of their parade.

And I know Puerto Ricans resent that the entire parade route is boarded up the day before to protect against people (largely non-Boriqua) who think PR Pride Day has something to do with celebrating the bygone days of Caribbean piracy.

Personally, I don't want people coming out for the Salute to Israel Day Parade thinking they'll get to secretly control the world for six hours. Not gonna happen. And would be hard to express on a parade route.

I find ethnic pride parades kind of creepy in a nineteenth century nationalism kind of way. Besides, who's proud that his ethnic group's least well-groomed members and various hangers-on have gathered to cheer trucks decorated with flowers?

Anyway.

This mostly irrelevant Reuters piece about mandatory elocution lessons for announcers on the D.C. Metro reminds me of something I want to blather on about.
Something, eh, fascinating.

You are probably a New Yorker (all of my readers who aren't giant tuna or fruit flies are) and don't see the relevance.
D.C.? Where's that? Why'd we ever move the capital from here to that burg?

But the piece does have a bit about NYC:
Washington is hardly alone in spurring this kind of complaint. Commuters in New York City have groused for years about announcements that give only tantalizing hints at critical information.
Now some New York subways have upgraded public address systems that offer clearer, more timely announcements, replacing the squawky talk that frequently left patrons wondering where they were and what was happening when the train stopped. On some lines, there are prerecorded announcements.

See? See?

But have you heard the new announcers on the trains?
There's some guy on the C train who's like a museum curator in training. His spiel is full of historical information, jokes, sage advice... that is not New York.

I want my SHPOS back.
The guy who's clearly not with it enough to be operating the train.
Who's angry and mutters.
He sounds like he's trying to speak and incubate a clutch of eggs in his mouth at the same time.
The only words you can understand him say are "...onger in service" and "..town" and "...ee train" and "HankuVeriMuh."
That's the NY announcer I love.

He goes with the toll booth attendant who feigns death until you're actually banging your fists against the window, then acts indignant and threatens to call the police. But calls her co-workers (instead of the cops) if it looks like an interesting fight is breaking out. And takes your $76 but hands you a one-week instead of one-month metrocard and steals the change. They're not mostly like that.

But that's the MTA I know and love.

If SHPOSes don't belong in the actual, troglodytic professions-- subway tunnels, sewers, prisons-- I know they won't find fulfillment. And I'll know the furies are out of balance, which can be bad news for the whole subterranean urban ecosystem, viz.:
David Lo Pan

1 comment:

Doodles said...

We know we're treating MTA employees too well if they didn't even register on the Wall Street Journal's list of America's Worst Jobs. I don't want to live in a world where A-train "engineers" are having more fun than cattle drivers and lumberjacks.