our life before the strike
Even under normal conditions, people who live in New York talk obsessively about how to get from place to place. One of my friends visited from LA and became paralyzed by boredom every time one of these conversations started. Her choice: hop in the car. That's it. But for us, it's just so interesting. You have all kinds of options for your transportation, each of which exposes you to its own unique awful smell and which has a unique possibility of failing you at the worst possible time.
I'd like to map this out for you. This is the raw data that feeds into a decision at any time.
TRANSPORTATION OPTION: Foot
ADVANTAGES: Simple; reliable
DISADVANTAGES: Can take a long time; it's cold outside; the heels of your cute shoes can get stuck in sewer grates
NEAT THING YOU COULD BUY ALONG THE WAY: Toilet paper, groceries, other things you probably forgot to buy during your shlep yesterday
OBJECTIONABLE ODOR: Exhaust from city-at-large
WAY THAT YOU COULD DIE: Mowed down by taxi cab while simultaneously listening to iPod, drinking coffee, and jaywalking
TRANSPORTATION OPTION: Subway
OBSTACLES: The slow-moving N-R-Q-W train
ADVANTAGES: Quick; reliable; cheap
DISADVANTAGES: Umm... apparently, it's not *that* reliable
NEAT THING YOU COULD BUY ALONG THE WAY: Bootlegged DVDs and ethnic-style toddler ponchos sold by hostile South Americans.
OBJECTIONABLE ODOR: Warm, stale, subway air that has been circulating underground since the Triassic.
WAY THAT YOU COULD DIE: Pushed onto tracks at rush hour by mob pressing toward edge of platform
TRANSPORTATION OPTION: Taxi cab (legal)
OBSTACLES: insolent pedestrians
ADVANTAGES: fast, unless there's traffic (deciding whether there will be traffic is a whole nother conversation)
DISADVANTAGES: Never available on weekend evenings or during entire holiday season; sometimes hit on you or preach to you about Jesus
NEAT THING YOU COULD BUY ALONG THE WAY: n/a
OBJECTIONABLE ODOR: Cigarettes.
WAY THAT YOU COULD DIE: Taxi driver runs red light while simultaneously changing lanes and swerving to avoid pedestrian; collides with another taxi cab
TRANSPORTATION OPTION: taxi cab (illegal)
OBSTACLES: legal taxi cabs
ADVANTAGES: fast; gives you the same law-breaker adrenaline rush as buying a counterfeit handbag
DISADVANTAGES: Not cheap. Apt to cheat you unless you bargain a good price beforehand. Driver has no incentive to act legally in any situation.
NEAT THING YOU COULD BUY ALONG THE WAY: Depends what he's selling.
OBJECTIONABLE ODOR: Cigars
WAY THAT YOU COULD DIE: In fatal car crash during police pursuit of illegal cab; your face would end up all over New York Post the next day next to humiliating alliterative headline
TRANSPORTATION OPTION: bicycle
OBSTACLES: Essentially none.
ADVANTAGES: Not responsible for following any traffic laws. Only responsible for your own survival.
DISADVANTAGES: Responsible for your own survival.
NEAT THING YOU COULD BUY ALONG THE WAY: If you are riding a bicycle, odds are that you are carrying tasty Chinese food on your front handlebars. You could just eat that.
OBJECTIONABLE ODOR: Shrimp-fried rice.
WAY THAT YOU COULD DIE: I think this one is pretty obvious
TRANSPORTATION OPTION: bus
OBSTACLES: Pedestrians; taxi cabs; bicycles; other buses; dust motes and passing clouds
ADVANTAGES: Very cheap. Much more comfortable than the subway. Sit in comfort while watching hoi polloi trudge along the street below you.
DISADVANTAGES: Hoi polloi are most likely moving faster than you are.
NEAT THING YOU COULD BUY ALONG THE WAY: A discount ride: if you don't bring enough quarters to pay for your bus ride, the drivers usually just roll their eyes and wave you on back.
OBJECTIONABLE ODOR: your seat-mate.
WAY THAT YOU COULD DIE: old age. While still on bus.
Technorati Tags: New York, Transit strike, Humor, Bus, Taxi, Subway, Pedestrian