Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Lesser-Known Subway Rules

As someone who rides the NYC subway nearly every day along with millions of other riders, I fancy myself a sort of connoisseur of the subway. I have identified the factors that should determine where and how I stand on a crowded train. I have perfected the art of pulling my card out of my wallet well in advance of bellying up to the turnstile. I am a master of slipping out of a rush-hour packed car without physically harming other human beings.

And most of the commuters I (literally) rub shoulders with on the subway have done the same. After 2.5 years of riding, I have identified four levels of subway ridership: 1) folks with years of riding experience that have etiquette and strategy down pat, 2) people in the intermediate phase who know the unspoken rules and mostly don't piss people off but who still slip up in more challenging situations (me), 3) people who don't know the rules but make a valiant effort to be considerate, and 4) jackasses.

As I strive to climb the ranks into that first category, I'm developing a mental list of subway rules you won't find on the MTA website. Here are three of them.

1. Do not use your offspring as a battering ram to get past another rider to a seat. Most people will let a kid sit down, and you do a disservice to your alleged mission, the comfort of your wee babe, by deploying him/her as a weapon. It can only be assumed that you are doing this to get not only your child, but yourself, a seat, which is very unsavory behavior.

2. When you are standing, reading the Jack Welch self-help book, using the top of another rider's seat as an elbow rest is ill-advised, as your elbow inevitably slips when the train jerks and rocks that rider in the shoulder - so, so hard.

3. Please, for the love of God turn your tunes down when you get into the train. It's not as loud in here as it is outside, and some of us don't enjoy Vampire Weekend/salsa/Natasha Bedingfield at all, let alone at full blast at 8 AM for 45 minutes straight.

Palin Only Picks Up The Phone For Fake Politicians?

Oops. Palin didn't answer or return Bush 41's call--twice.

"Our source ran into the 41st prez recently at a Texas restaurant. When the subject of Palin came up during their chat, Bush told of twice phoning her office but never receiving a call back. The first message was left at McCain HQ after she was picked to be Sen. John McCain's veep; the second with the governor's office after the election was over. He shrugged it off as staff error, but our source says he was clearly perplexed."

Someone needs a new advance team...

Friday, December 19, 2008

Caroline, All the Guys Would Say She's Mighty Fine

I also get freaked out when I find myself agreeing with Charles Krauthammer just when I least expect it. But his little screed today on Caroline Kennedy made some sense to me. As a New York resident, I love that she doesn't have to raise money and it's kind of cool that Obama drew her out of the woodwork. Furthermore, Kennedys tend to be pretty reliable, which I guess is...good...mostly? However, Krauthammer's point that

"[...] in a country where advantages of education, upbringing and wealth already make the playing field extraordinarily uneven, we should resist encouraging the one form of advantage the American Republic strove to abolish: title"

rings pretty true. Not that the other potential candidates - Carolyn Maloney, Andrew Cuomo - are hardscrabble urchins pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. Still, there's the scent of entitlement all over this potential appointment. And creepy the way that Bloomberg is really twisting Paterson's arm on this one. I could be convinced that Kennedy representing me and my family in the Senate is ultimately a good thing, but I'd like for the argument to include something besides, "but she's a Kennedy!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two Years!

It is difficult to believe that I have been writing on this blog for two years now! My first substantive post was December 7, 2006. It's hard to believe that it has been two years; however, to be fair, saying that I have been "writing" for two years is a little inaccurate. For long stretches of that time (like in the past month and a half) there has pretty much been radio silence.

At times, I have considered giving up this blog. It's good to know that I am in good company asking whether it would be worth it to give up this pursuit. But, sporadic as I am about posting sometimes, I really enjoy doing it. And, when I don't write, it makes me that much more excited to write in the future.

And, besides writing, I am also proud of other things that I have done here. The design of the site is entirely original and helped me rekindle my joy of designing that I have missed since architecture school in undergrad. In the time that I have been writing, I have gotten to love my new home in New York, I have gotten married and been lucky enough to have E. join me blogging here.

With all that is going on right now—working uptown, trying to finish my dissertation in six months, trying to get a job—I'm not sure that posts are going to be any more frequent in the near future. I hope that they do and I hope that two years from now and look back to say that it has been another two years!