Last night I took a looooong trip home thanks to a water main break in Brooklyn. I also started out on the Upper East Side and was headed for south Park Slope, which is about the most complicated subway adventure I could possibly have orchestrated.
I am not being over-dramatic when I say that last night, for the first time, I realized that I am probably capable of murder. I’m a peace-loving person, and not blood-thirsty or evil, but the rage that builds up inside of me when I am forced to wait for the R train could, I think, easily go wrong were I armed with a dangerous weapon. After taking the 5 train to Union Square, waiting for 20 minutes for the R train which dropped me off at Pacific Street, and then waiting for 30 minutes for the N train (which, for no apparent reason, had switched routes with the R a mere two stops away from my home), I had stress-induced chest pains and my head was filled with macabre fantasies of being assaulted by a bunch of street punks who would soon find out that they messed with the Wrong Girl. Normally I get a little skittish when I’m walking home alone after midnight, but last night I felt like a New York Post headline-in-waiting:
KEY-ZAM!! Brooklyn Girl Blinds Would-Be Perp With House Key
Anyway, that’s just a long way of saying that I seem to have some anger management problems. Living in New York City probably doesn’t help. You can be reasonably sure that on any given block you happen to be on, someone is waiting to piss you off. For instance:
Men (and it is ALWAYS men) who keep looking behind them like you are following them. Newsflash: this is New York. Someone is always walking behind you. You are not on COPS.
People who stand in the subway doors and do not budge when the doors open, expecting you to maneuver around them lest they lose their coveted spot RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE FUCKING DOOR. Also, why is it always a giant man doing this? Does he feel that it’s not enough to take his usual spot filling three seats with his knees forming a ninety-degree angle?
People who allow their young children to disturb the small amount of peace one gets while riding a crowded subway or bus. I am not talking about crying babies, or fighting six year-olds. I am talking about a toddler with a hard metal toy who bangs it repeatedly against the seat of the subway making a loud clanging noise while his mother pretends not to notice. I do not normally think babies should be labeled as “assholes”, but in this case I must reconsider.
People who walk slow, or change direction mid-stride, or cut you off in line to board the train even though you have been waiting and they just arrived, or play boom-boxes with no headphones, or allow their cell phones to ring repeatedly without bothering to answer or silence them, or eat fragrant fast food (I have seen people eating fried chicken or Chinese food on multiple occasions. I even once saw a woman eat soup. I have yet to see anyone eat anything that is remotely portable or easy to eat on the subway), or talk loud about something stupid, or pick fights with other passengers, or preach about hell during rush hour.
Basically I spend way too much time getting pissed off about what other people are doing. I know that I should just mind my own business and try to be a happy person, but this is New York. In other words, fuhgeddaboudit.