Friday, October 16, 2009

Dick Move

I'd like to apologize to all the folks who got on the train at White Plains this morning. I pulled a classic dick move. I was sitting in a two-seater and I was sort of half asleep and leaning over into the other seat, eyes closed, when the doors at White Plains opened. Instead of sitting up straight and making the seat readily available, I just kept my eyes closed and stayed in position. Truly a dick move. It pains me to admit that my commute does sometimes bring out the worst in me, but there it is. I'll never pretend I'm something I'm not. Now, if someone taps me on the shoulder and asks me to make a little room, I absolutely do it, no hesitation, but every once in a while (and it's really not very often) I just sit there and make you ask. I know it's hard, and I know the average person will take a look at me and decide it's not worth it and move on to the next seat, but if they screw up some courage and take what is rightfully theirs, well then they earned the seat and my respect at the same time. If you're ever on the train and you see some a-hole with his eyes closed enjoying more than his share of a two seater, do the right thing. Take what is yours, on the train, and in life. Have a good weekend everyone.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Talker

"Did you ask your father?"
"What did he say?"
"So I guess the economy's getting better."
Why do you need to do that?'
"Did you finish your homework?"
"What should we do for dinner?"
Blah blah blah blah.

As I'm riding home on the 6:52 peaker, selfishly enjoying the first quiet and peaceful minutes of my endless day, these are the truncated conversations that I hear coming from the woman in the seat across from me. I wait. Patiently. I'm sure she'll make this a quick call and hang up because this a peak train full of hard core commuters, no rookies, and we know the rules and they are as follows: Have your ticket ready when the conductor comes around, keep your station bought bevy on the floor, not the seat in case it spills, and, unless you need to convey immediate information that will save American lives, stay off the effing phone. You most certainly do not ramble on with your daughter about dinner, homework and sleep plans. That's why nerd geniuses like Bill Gates inventing texting lady. WTF.

In cases like this, I have a few options. I can ask her politely to keep her voice down and try to keep the conversation short, which is exactly what Mr. Rodgers would do because he was very calm and patient man and he truly loved humanity. But you see, I got about 5 hours of sleep last night, and I've been at a stressful job all day, and I'm sitting under these interrogation strength fluorescent lights, so the Mr. Rodgers in me is not going to show up.

The second option is to stare. Fix a concrete hard gaze on her that lets her know exactly what I think about the fact that she's sucking up all of my relax time with her inane conversation. So I try the stare. And, well, she just stares back. Go ahead lady.

Another option, which I can only use if I get lucky, is that I wait until she gives the person on the other end of the conversation her cell number. "I might lose you. Just in case I do, my number is blah blah blah - blah blah blah blah" and you write that precious number down r-e-a-l-l-y carefully so you make sure you have it correct, and when you get home you her up for automatic phone messages from the home shopping network. "Please alert me by phone when you have a sale of any Wizard of Oz figurines. God bless".

Unfortunately, I have no such luck tonight. The digits are not forthcoming, and so finally I resort to my last option (and my new favorite). I pull out my iphone, take her picture, and blog about her.
Remember people, the train is a community, and if you aren't a good neighbor, well, chances are someone's going to leave a flaming bag of dog shit on your step.

Oh wait, she's getting off. Chappaqua. Figures.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Sunny Side

The 8:05 peaker heading into the city. Sitting on the Sunny Side. At certain times of the morning one side of the train gets blasted with sunlight. Usually, only a rookie sits on the sunny side because it's very hard to read or see a laptop screen or sleep with the sun blasting in the window, especially when it's intermittently blocked by trees and buidlings creating a strobe effect, which I've heard can cause a stroke or a siezure in some cases. That would be a bad way to start the day. But today I'm rolling in my new Maui Jim prescription sunglasses, and life is good.

I designed a business card for my Optometrist friend, Dr. George Amatuzzi. I did it for free, because I've been going in to see him for about 12 years now and I just couldn't stand looking at his effing ugly business cards anymore. They were printed on a thin gray stock (really, who chooses gray stock?) and designed from some sort of standard template that a printer gives you to chose from. So I took one of his cards, went home and designed him a new one, took it back in and asked him to please accept this gift on behalf of all the people in the world with 20/20 vision who couldn't stand looking at his effing ugly business cards anymore. He said thanks and told me to pick out some sunglasses, which I did.

And here I am, sitting on the sunny side in my Maui Jim prescription sunglasses, which I thought were cool when I picked them out, but now I'm not so sure. Im starting to think they look a little doofy. As you can see, I'm also wearing a summer weight suit jacket even though it was 40 degrees this morning, and a button down collar with no tie, which is actually a fashion mistake, but do I look like I give a damn? Nope. Not today. Life is good.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The 7:25

First, I would like to welcome my 5 new followers. You represent the best that mankind has to offer and I thank you.

Today I wanted to talk about the 7:25am Peaker, that is the morning express peak train into the city. This is the train of choice or people who need to be at work by 9am and want as few stops as possible. Type A people. Type A-holes. I tend to take the next train, the 7:35, which is a local train and a little less intense, but today...the 7:25.

Look long and hard at this photo, and then imagine starting every day of your life just like this. Packed to the rivets, industrial strength flourescent lights, and hundreds of people who dream in the form of a powerpoint presentation. This is why they always have those ads for Aruba on the walls at the end of the train car. "Honey, I'm not sure why, but i think we should take a trip to the Islands".

This is a silent train, which is to say that nobody talks, either on a phone or to another passenger. If someone tries to talk to you, which actually happened to me this morning, you know right away that they're a rookie, a new commuter, and you briefly think to yourself, "Isn't that odd. he's talking to me. huh". And then your coffee starts to wake you up a little more and the look on your face shifts to a look that now says, "Sorry. I don't mean to cut you off in the middle of that story about your recent relocation, but It's 7:25 am, and I'm just not the person you wish I was. Goodnight." I'm not proud of that. It just is. You're either tired or hung over or reading or sleeping, but the one thing you are not doing is making conversation.

The other drag about the 7:25 is that its full, which means there are no empty seats, which means that someone has to sit bitch. Someone has to sit in the middle seat in a three seat row. In order to do this, you have to gently nudge the person in the outside seat awake, ask to step over them, and then sit down in the middle, which then wakes up the person in the window seat. If you successfully navigate that obstacle course, then consider this. Of the three average Americans now sitting in these three seats, what do you think the odds are that one of them is morbidly obese. Turns out they're pretty good actually. And finally, if the gods are truly against you today, one of the three people that you're now rubbing arms and thighs with will decide to eat his egg and cheese breakfast out of a Tupperware container. Jackpot. Picture complete. Which makes sitting bitch one of the worst experiences you can have on a commute, because the only thing worse than talking to someone at 7:25 in the morning, is touching them and smelling their eggs.

That's it for today. Look at the picture. Look hard. Tomorrow I'm catching the 7:35.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009. HOME

Welcome to the first post on my effing commute. Every weekday of my life I spend three and a half hours of my day (mostly on a train) going between my job in Manhattan and my house in Westchester County, NY. The life of a long distance commuter (which is an actual term that has a specific definition that I believe I meet) is a soul sucking, Kafkaesque existence that I would wish on no man or woman, but it is my life, and I've learned to accept it. I've also decided to use my time to share my living hell with as many people as are interested. Your Welcome.

So tonight it's 8:15pm and I'm on an Off Peaker, which is a train that doesn't run within the designated peak rush hour times, which is to say I'm on a late train going home, which usually means its full of drunks and shopping trophy wives yacking on their cell phones. Today though, is Columbus Day, which is kind of a holiday (no mail, no school), but not really (Wall Street and my, which means it's a light volume day on the rails. So besides having to pee but not wanting to use the train bathrooms (there's like ten blogs worth of writing to be done later on the train bathrooms), I'm enjoying the ride with my feet up and plenty of "spread out room". It's a good ride.

As you can see, I'm wearing a tie today, which means at some point this morning when I was getting dressed, I thought I might need to look like I was in charge today, which I am usually (in charge) but I don't always want to dress the part. If this blog was called "My Effing Living Room", there would never be a picture of me in a tie. There would more likely be a picture of me in some sort of Hanes underwear product and a T-Shirt that I got for free and then cut the sleeves off of. That's just how I roll. Thanks for reading. See you next time.