Crosstown To Hell

May 10

crosstownfun.jpgAnd now, the eagerly-anticipated award for “The Slowest Bus In the Universe” (drum roll please) goes to . . .

The 23rd Street Crosstown in Manhattan!!!!

Accepting this award for the (Sic) Transit Authority is Pat Fortunato, your friendly neighborhood blogger and frequent rider on this I-could- walk-faster-but-who’s got-the-energy mode of so-called rapid transportation.

First, I would like to thank the horrific traffic and the cab drivers who stop in the middle of the street for doing so much to make this award possible.

But I must also give credit to people getting on the bus without a Metrocard or exact change, and to the passengers who ask the driver endless questions or get on the bus carrying all of their earthly possessions including things they don’t need that they’ve just bought on sale at the Gap on 23rd and Eighth.

You have all contributed to putting the “Cross” in Crosstown, making me one cranky customer.

My worst ride on the M23 began one fine day on Eighth Avenue, where I had picked up the bus after losing yet another game of tennis at Midtown Tennis (which is nearby, but not in midtown, go figure), and was headed home to 22nd and Second.

Dealing valiantly with the agony of defeat, I sat down in the first forward-facing seat on the left, determined not to become bitter. Directly in back of me was the woman with Volume Control Syndrome I told you about in I Look Good In Orange , a woman who may also have some form of Tourettes that causes her to scream into her cell phone, every other word an expletive deleted.

It doesn’t take that much talent these days to use some form of the F word as a noun, verb, adjective or adverb, but I swear this woman could turn it into a conjunction. Conjunction Junction anyone?

This bus was turning out to be NoFun4Me, a Streetcar Definitely Not Named Desire. Unless you count the desire to wield a large polo mallet . . .

When I couldn’t take it any longer, I turned around and very politely suggested that she shut the f*** up.

No, actually I said that she probably didn’t realize (yeah, right) that she was talking very loudly and could she keep it down a bit. I did not include any creative use of profanity in my request, but as you may have guessed, her reply was quite colorful. Among other things, she told me that if I didn’t like it, why didn’t I just take a f***ing cab?

At this point, seeing that she was not only loud and angry, but rather large, I decided to end this scintillating discussion. Listen, I wasn’t wearing a helmet and while there was no polo mallet in sight, she did have that phone in her hand. Why take any more chances?

But the woman sitting in the row of seats facing towards the middle of the bus, next to me, had something to say, and she said it loud enough for all to hear:

A cab! Why didn’t I think of that! I could have taken a f***in’ cab!”

Sneers and snickers (a new brand of ironic candy) were shared throughout the bus, but fortunately the Volume-Challenged One seemed oblivious to all this frivolity. She just kept right on a-talkin’ and a-cursin’ at decibels painful to anyone who doesn’t work as a jackhammer operator or regularly attend rock concerts.

I just heard on NPR, so it must be true, that making noise is a way of attempting to expand your sphere of influence. Well that woman has expanded her influence right into the blogosphere!

As far as I know, she is still riding the crosstown bus: Yes, it is that slow. And if not, there are many, many more like her, in buses and trains and public places across the land, shouting on their cells, often in foreign tongues. By the way, did you know you can hear 800 languages in New York City, including Mamuju, which is spoken by one lone man in Rego Park Queens. Poor guy has no one to talk to, except when he calls his brother in Indonesia. I hope he doesn’t make that call on the Crosstown bus.

Anyway, I count mysenytaxi.jpglf lucky to have escaped the Great Crosstown Incident without incurring actual physical injury to any part of my person other than my eardrums, and have vowed never to speak up again should a similar occasion arise.

If it gets too bad, I can always take a f***in’ cab.


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