Friday, June 15, 2007

Commuter Blues

So its been what, almost four months now since I started the new job down at ground zero. The mass transit thing is starting to be routine. Except for a few missed runs and mechanical problems with the commuter bus, things haven't been bad. The Feds even subsidize the fare for the short hop I need to do on the subway at the far end. With having to get up at 0-dark:30 every morning, I generally get an hour and a half of sleep on the bus going in and one hour in the evenings coming out. That leaves me fairly refreshed for arrival on both ends.

Now for my fellow commuters. Keep in mind that I haven't taken mass transit for any length of time since WAY back in grad school, so we are talking nearly twenty years of being by myself in the car going to and from work with the only worry being having to deal with the traffic nightmare. Now I've got my fellow commuters to deal with and look at. What a bunch. You see all types from the alien crowd fresh off the banana boat to the prep kids riding to private school in their Sunday best.

What amazes me now compared to life in the 80s is the advent of the MP3 player. It seems that everyone has these things stuck in their ears including many of my coworkers. People can't even seem to take a piss now-a-days without music. Most of the time, the volume is so loud that I don't see why they even bother with ear buds. These people have the situational awareness of concrete. A Jihadist bastard could approach from behind and have them beheaded before they even knew what play list they were on. No sense trying to talk to these people either. Go buy stock in the major hearing aid companies because in ten years or less there will be an entire population of morons with fried ears.

Then there are the cart people. These are the folks who are so lazy they can't even carry a lap top or brief case for five yards so they pull along one of those silly little cases with wheels and an extendable handle. These things are every where too and they are a pain in the ass. Unlike baby strollers, these things are low to the ground, and I find myself either tripping over them or stepping on them in the subway stations. Of course the drivers don't have a clue because they are plugged into the MP3 player. I even see military officers pulling these things around; what a disgrace.

And now with school being out and the start of vacation season we have the manic commuter crowd being intermixed with the tourist. That imparts a whole new level of complexity on the trip. Luckily, most of the tourists are natives from out of town and seem to have English as their first language. This is good, and reminds me that , hey, this is still America and not some central American backwater; at least not yet...........