Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Today's Post™

As I checked in for a flight I noticed this flier by the check-in machine. Is this is a joke? I mean, can you really trademark phrases like "Lots of Legroom" and "Even More Legroom"?

Metrocard, Courtesy of His Highness, Lord Adam

During my lunch break I ran up to J&R for a quick shopping trip. I borrowed a coworker's 30-day Metrocard so I could save the $4 subway fare.

As I approached the cashier I noticed a Metrocard lying on the ground. In New York it's not an unusual sight. I tought twice about whether or not to pick it up. My first thought was to pick up the trash.

(I realize the futility of trying to eliminate litter in New York. I almost never give in to the temptation - pearls before swine, as Laurie says - but even after more than 5 years in New York I still feel the urge, and will innocently tell strangers who drop trash on the subway, I think you dropped something.)

I decided to pick it up, hoping that my effort to bend down and pick some litter would be rewarded with a free ride or two. I put the Metrocard in my pocket, and, using my coworker's Metrocard, I returned to my office. As I tend to do, I promptly forgot about it.

At the end of the day, I reached the subway station just as a train was approaching. I didn't have enough time to check if the Metrocard was valid. I swiped it and it let me in! Since a dollar amount was not shown on the display, I knew I had some sort of unlimited-ride card, but exactly what kind I didn't know.

The entire ride back to my apartment I wondered. Is it a 1-day? Maybe it's a 7-day. How about one of those new 14-day cards? Or - could it be - a 30-day? Actually, I didn't really give it much though. If anything, I hoped that it was a 1-day, so the person who lost it wouldn't have lost too much. And since I was leaving for vacation tomorrow anyway, I didn't need anything more.

Then I started feeling guilty for keeping the Metrocard. I don't know what I should have done with it. 5 minutes earlier I was trying to figure out where to drop off a laptop battery for recycling. I asked one employee after another - in total 5 separate but equally annoyed-to-be-asked-a-question employees - for help before I got an answer. I'm pretty sure I would have said "I found this Metrocard on the ground." The employee would have rolled his eyes, taken it from me, and then thrown it in the trash.

By the time I reached my stop, the guilt I felt for stealing someone's Metrocard outweighed my excitement to learn when it expired. I checked the Metrocard. It was good until Friday.

So I used the card for my ride to JFK. At JFK I noticed a group of men (from Africa, judging by their accents) standing around looking a little confused. I asked the most confused looking one if he was going to ride the subway. He immediately gave me a look that said "I'm not talking to strangers in New York."

So I said to him "here, this Metrocard is good for another few days." Immediately his demenor changed to one of surprise and gratitude. With a huge smile on his face, he said "Thank you very much my lord!" His response makes me want to start handing out Metrocards more often.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land.

The South was really living up to its stereotypes this week. I was in Atlanta this week. An abortion protest was held in , complete with graphic pictures of aborted, er, whatever the plural of "fetus" is.

I couldn't get a picture of the man holding the "Eric Robert Randolph Fan Club" sign.

And monster trucks... it's always about monster trucks. This man was waiting to board my flight from Atlanta back to New York. I don't exactly understand his shirt. I imaged asking him what it meant, and him responding "It's a Southern thing, you wouldn't understand."


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Air of The Road

This week I read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. I've never read a book that I would describe as "heartbreaking" before, but I think it fits this book. It's the story of a man and his son as they try to survive in a world that has been devastated by an unnamed disaster.

The land described in the book is without any living trees or vegetation, and the same is implied of the seas (and also implied of all life, in fact, save for some humans who struggle to hold on and keep going). It is never explained if the entire world has been destroyed, but, again, it is implied.

It made me wonder: if all plant life on Earth died, how long would the existing oxygen last?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Think of the children!

Normally I leave for work early enough that I miss rush hour. Today was a reminder of why I do that.

I was on a crowded F train as it approached 4th Ave, my stop. We weren't quite to the station yet, but the person next to me stood up so she could be closer to the door. A man standing in front of me was eying the seat, when a woman, from out of nowhere, slid in and took it. The man looked at her with annoyance and mumbled, "Excuse me."

I thought this was quite rude, but as the woman sat down and started to rub her like a conjuring sorceror I wondered if maybe she was pregnant. If so it was still rude, the way she slithered into the seat.

I stood up from my seat just at the train was stopping, but I hadn't noticed that the train was still in the tunnel. The F train has a tendency to stop in the tunnel just before it reached the 4th Ave station. It only stops for a moment before continuing to the station, so I decided to just keep standing.

I noticed a boy, maybe 10 or 11 years old, trying to squeeze into the seat I had just stood up in. Since the train was packed with people, I really couldn't move out of his way, so I didn't even try. The man who tried to get the seat next to me told the kid to wait until I moved; he was obviously the boy's father.

Then I heard a voice say, "Why don't you let the kid sit down? Why don't you move? He's just a little kid." I looked back and saw a tall woman staring at me. I asked her, "Where would you like me to move? This train is packed." Pointing to a space much too small for me to fit in, and in the opposite direction of the door, she said, "Right here."

I ignored her. She glared at me. The door opened one minute later.