Beginning a 30-day Series

Basically, this is a month-long list of things I will and won’t miss about New York City.

What I’ll Miss: MTA

So, in my 6+ years of living here, I’ve paid between $81 and $89 for a monthly transit pass. That beats a car payment plus insurance plus gas plus possibly parking. Plus maintenance: oil changes and dent removal from all the people “tapping” my bumpers while parking. Mass transit is definitely more cost effective for me.

I really like stepping onto the subway into a mass of strangers. The history and experience is so vast and varied. I remember the one time the one guy gave me a thumbs-up when he saw me reading the Book of Mormon. And how one visitor from another country opened up to a few of us who happened to be sitting near her on the D train about how NYC makes her feel like she’s in a cage. We all looked at her and then at each other and we chuckled and then we told her about how she might get used to it, and that it’s not all that bad. I ran into a clown on a bus once. Crosstown. We talked a little bit about life in the city. In the first few months of living here, I was waiting late at night for a bus on the Upper West Side with a woman I didn’t know. Seemingly out of nowhere she shared with me her feelings on marriage and relationships and waiting for the right guy.

You wish these people luck, or to take care, and the connection is instant but fleeting, kind of how fireflies blink in the warm stillness of a summer night. You catch one in the hollow of your two hands and peek inside, hoping it will light up again. At the very least is the faintest of flickers, a mere trickle of a trigger perhaps after many months, and the waking dream stirs a deeper nostalgia. The consciousness slowly conquers. I remember.

What I Won’t Miss: MTA

So there was that strike during that one winter. And there was also the time that the A line from 168 Street to 207 Street was under construction. Oh, that was more than one time? That was constantly? And then that always resulted in incredibly late nights if I took the shuttle bus.

Oh, and there was that one time when whatever express train switched to a local track or the blue local switched either to the orange or yellow local and I ended up connecting 4 different times and getting to my destination easily an hour later than I should have. Oh, wait. That was more than one time, too?

Also, sometimes subways are stinky. People eat and make a mess, or a homeless person decides to set up camp in the corner of a car. Or vomit and booze infuse the air. Or people fart. Or the air conditioning doesn’t work.

Fights. Hair pulling. Obnoxious teenagers whistling and yelling very, very loudly. Other very rude people. I won’t miss that.

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