What follows is a lengthy discussion of a bad commuting experience. If you do not have time for such discussions in your busy and productive life, even ones written with great humor and wry wit, I am going to give you a metaphor, to take with you and contemplate on the john or in the bed of your significant other, who hopefully has really nice tits. My day started out idling at bad. That was the stop I got on at after walking through a giant cloud of carbon monoxide mixed with the steaming sweat of the driver. It took off from there and after driving along bad street for a little while took a short turn and headed to worse. It was picking up steam now, the driver flooring it, and the day started to shake as it careened down the metaphorical street. It shot right past worse, turned again, and made a beeline for disaster, traveling at speeds so high that the wheels started to catch on fire. I looked around at the other passengers aboard my day and they seemed not to realize the death-trap our conveyance had become. We reached disaster and just as it looked like the driver might slow down and let us get off there a sniper shot him through the window, killing him. His foot fell even harder on the gas pedal and we sped at unfathomable speed away from disaster and towards catastrophe. We never made it there. There was a fork in the road right around hopelessness street but the dead driver couldn't steer, for obvious reasons, so instead of turning we crashed through the guardrail and fell off a cliff. We plummeted about a thousand feet down and landed with an enormous crash on the beach. Metal sheared, glass was splintered, many of us died. The rest were left bleeding and screaming, clutching their guts to keep them from spilling out enormous gashes and realizing that they could not feel their legs. Then someone dropped an atomic bomb on us, destroying most of the survivors and leaving those few who lived for some reason suffering from acute radiation poisoning. It didn't last long, though, since the use of atomic weapons on U.S. soil set off a reaction by Bush and within an hour we had a Dr. Strangelove situation. The entire world was engulfed in atomic fire. Nobody was spared. It was wiped clean, deserts turned to glass and oceans to steam, the skies turned black and scorched. The only ones left were the cockroaches. Alone on the planet and given heavy doses of radiation they started to evolve and in a few million years they had become a race of 9 foot tall bug people, skittering around filthy and horrible. They started to learn crude technologies and they built their first permanent city on the cliff off which my day had crashed. Finally the cockroach people discovered the benefits of indoor plumbing and built a sewage system. Guess where the outlet for all the shit from the city of cockroach people was? That's right. Right over the crash site of my day. So that's how it ended up. Pulverized, vaporized, and buried under countless tons of sentient cockroach shit.
There's your metaphor, buddy.
As for what actually happened, well the subways were flooded, and when the subways are flooded New York turns to shit. It's like a disaster zone in some post-apocalyptic movie. Everyone wants to get to "42nd street" where they've heard there are "trains still running." They pack into taxis and get on to bikes and those of us who don't have the cash for a cab and don't feel well enough to bike cram into buses, which are bad on a normal day and absolutely intolerable in a situation like this. I had to take the M104 all the way down from my house to 42nd street. This is equivalent to being shipped in steerage from Marakesh to Osaka in the olden days.
The bus wasn't TOO crowded when I got on to it. Only about 40 people per square inch. Nobody was actually standing or sitting on another person, which is always a good sign. Of course no seats were available, so I picked a good one to "camp" and set up shop. Seat camping, if you don't know, is when you stand right next to someone you think may, eventually, actually get off the bus, in a position so that when they do get off you will be the natural person to slide right in to their spot. Sometimes you can camp two seats at once if you're good, but I wasn't taking any chances and I just got in front of the one, by the rear exit door. The bus started to move again and those of us aboard it prepared for the horde. Since the subways weren't running that meant that by 110 street we'd be pretty packed and there'd be no room for anyone else. We got lucky though. There was a bottleneck about 2/3s of the way into the bus, caused by a man with a large leather bag and a woman with a large fleshy ass. This insulated those of us at the back of the bus from those clamoring to get in, claiming that they had to get to work or they'd be fired and their children would starve, or that their grandmothers were dying in hospitals downtime and they needed to get there in time to hear her last words.
Sorry, LOSERS! Guess you should've thought of that before you didn't bring enough money for a taxi.
One woman actually chased down the bus with her young son in tow and argued with the bus driver (Little tip about New York bus drivers. They've heard it all before. During rush hour I'm sure they get offered as many blow jobs as a bouncer at a trendy club, although by a less hot group of guys. You aren't going to win through logic or demanding. Throwing yourself at their mercy and admitting that they are as a god to you is your ONLY shot. She did not do this.) He shut the doors in her capri wearing face and revved the engine, at which point she actually took her young child and stood in FRONT of the bus. He edged it forward towards her and for about 15 seconds it seemed like she might actually be willing to sacrifice her life and that of her son in order to keep us from moving on without them. Maybe she thought bus drivers are REQUIRED to transport dead or maimed people. They're not. They don't give a damn. I've seen a bus driver leave behind a man bleeding from a deep head wound because he didn't make it to the stop on time. I've seen a bus driver shove a young child out of the bus because he was two pennies short of the fare. It's not that they're mean people, it's just that they've seen this shit a thousand times before. You get numb to it after a few months of being in bus. The woman evidently decided that she would not sacrifice her son's life to the bus-god that day and reluctantly backed off. She taught the boy the valuable lesson that principles and standing up for yourself are great things, but a bus weighs several thousand pounds and a human being is made of flesh. That's not a conflict you're going to win. With a crazy fucker like that for a mom he could probably use any reasonable lesson she can manage to give him. Of course I doubt that he'll make it to adulthood. She'll probably take him to stand in front of a Taxi, and then it WILL be over. Bus drivers don't care if you die beneath their wheel. Taxi drivers relish it. I think they may get a bonus based on pints of pedestrian blood smeared across the street.
Around 96th street a few people decided that they would try to buck the system by squeezing in the back of the bus. This is highly illegal, but people do this all the time when they think the bus is too busy for the driver to get out from his seat and cane them like Michael Fay, which Bus Drivers are legally allowed to do. No jury, no appeals, this isn't revenge, it's punishment (thank you Thomas Jane.) It was a couple of middle aged women with faces so botoxed and stretched out they had the consistency of bad leather who started the trend, packing in deeply, but by 86th street everyone was trying it. As someone near the door I thought about trying to block them, but decided the confrontation wasn't worth it since I felt sick and while rearing up to my 6'1" height and sticking out my big chest might work in some hick town like Wichita or Culver Springs it wouldn't mean shit in New York. Here people don't get intimidated unless you are holding the severed head of a member of their family in one hand and a machete in the other, and even still you're more likely to get a rolling eyed "fuck you, I'm supposed to care?" than any kind of fear based obedience. So our small bubble of reasonably well-spaced people collapsed beneath the crush of bodies and we were reduced to a state of hellish existence equivalent to those poor bastards in the front of the bus. I think someone may have opened a can of sardines for a late-morning snack and they screamed out "Put us back, put us back, it's too crowded out here." May have just been my imagination.
As the ride progressed I started to build more and more resentment towards the back door Charlies. They were slowing the bus down, riding in a very dangerous place (the exit-stair well) and generally acting like they thought they were paying customers. Two of them, young women (a species I am known to despise), started to talk about a trip they took in some foreign land where the bus operator gave their seats away to non-paying people and they were quite crowded in. These women were rather disrespectful towards the operator and his family (who had taken the seats) even as they BREATHED THE AIR OF PAYING CUSTOMERS. They had B-cup breasts and C-cup hypocrisy. I tried not to do anything rash, like hurl them bodily off the bus, since it's often hard to tell whether I despise annoying young women for their behaviors or the fact that they are sexually inaccessible, but I did give them a good silent resenting.
Of course the worst insult had yet to come. Around 78th street an old woman got on the bus through the back door, which was highly dangerous as the bus wasn't kneeling for her and you could hear her bones cracking and grinding as she was dragged up by other Back Door Charlies who didn't want to make her wait for the ride like anybody else. She was thinking of riding in the stairwell for a bit, a sure way for her to DIE but some of us up top made room for her withered old carcass (mostly me shoving people back so she could get up) and she made it to safety. I was not prepared for what came next. The woman sitting in the seat I had been camping since I got on the bus decided, as a nice gesture, to give it up to the old lady, who looked quite crazy and apt to die at a moment's notice. I was aghast! I had laid claim to this seat quite some time earlier, and more importantly, SHE WAS A BACK DOOR CHARLIE. A non-paying interloper. That was my seat! My PRECIOUSSSS! I almost cried aloud as the woman moved from it and the crone slid into place. If I had not moved back the crowd to let her up, or not let the Charlies get a foothold in the first place maybe this tragedy could have been prevented. New York has been through a lot over the last few years with 9/11 and the RNC coming to town, but for me this was the absolute end. Osama Bin Laden has done a lot of very mean things in his life but he never got on the back of the bus and took a seat I was camping. In comparison he's something of a saint.
I rode the rest of the way deeply traumatized. Around 50th street the old lady toddled off. The bus had cleared by then and there was room for comfortable standing. A woman pointed to the seat and asked if I wanted it. I told her no, what would be the point? I'd already been beaten. I didn't want sloppy thirds on the thing in the world I once coveted most. A thin man in a muscle shirt with frosted tips asked if he could have it and I said yes. What was the point in resisting. He slid in to seated comfort easily and sat there contended. I'm sure he got the numbers of the B-cup hypocrite girls and was thinking about fucking them later that night (unless he was gay, which is quite possible given his outfits.) The rich get richer. At that very moment the M104 bus seemed very much like George Bush's America, with the upper class getting a seat AND the opportunity to fuck the C-up hypocrites. We pulled into 42nd street and I got off, defeated. It was not the only insult I would suffer that day. I had yet to walk from 35th to 17th in the rain or be stiffed on my salad at the restaurant. I had yet to talk to the lady who pronounced Verizon like Bob Reyersen, but all those things were foretold in the commute.
The day was somewhat salvaged at the end. I ate way too much, which made me feel better, and I managed to turn some of the emotion into something resembling art with my TV show pitch, but that truly was a bus ride like sentient cockroach shit. Today feels like it will be better. I'm not as ill anymore, and although I'm late it's not going to be a big deal. I just hope the subways aren't flooded. If they are, I'm taking a cab or I'm dragging my ass back to bed. No questions asked.