17 June 2004

Subway Stories, Johnny Ramone- Get Better Soon!

I love a good subway story or two. Don't you?

Anyway, I'm poor. When your paycheck is a little sluggish to clear, and you live beyond your means sometimes, you'll get stuck without money in the bank from time to time. This requires one to be creative.

On my way to work, I took the 6 train from 77th street and then ostensibly I switch to the L train from Union Sq. 14th St. to 8 Ave. As anyone knows, the L train stop often features one platform for both directions- 8 Ave on one side, Brooklyn on the other.

I was really tired this morning. So much so that I forgot that both sides of the platform on the L DON'T go the same direction. I see one idling at the tracks, ready to roll off- so I bolt for it. Just make it. Great.

Wrong train though. I'm headed to Brooklyn.

Of course, outside the Union Sq. L train stop, there is no way to switch diretions on the train without leaving the turnstiles and entering the other side, thus losing one ride. This sucks hard ass, and I am forced to do so, lest I be late for work.

When I leave work at 4 PM, I have no remaining dollars on my Metrocard:

And zero remaining dollars on my ATM card (sorry, no picture of that). I have no way of travelling approximately 70 blocks north and getting all the way on the opposite side of the island of Manhattan in the process. I could walk...but it was 145 degrees out. So I got a little creative. I took comfort in being pathetic.

I walked down to the service booth, making sure there weren't too many people there to hear my bald-faced lie. I approached the booth:
ME: Hi. I need to ask a BIG favor.
HER:looks out of the top of her eyes in expectant disgust.
ME:I'm REALLY late for a doctor's appointment, I have NO money on me, and my MetroCard just fell into a storm drain outside. Can I just please go through this once? (said in mock desperation)
HER: Go ask a cop.
ME: Umm... ok. Uh- wait, what am I asking a cop exactly?
HER: What you just asked me. I ain't doing this for you...
ME: Ok, hold on.

I walked to the turnstiles and motioned for the cop to come over. I lied straight faced to him too, and he looked at me like I was asking for bone marrow.

COP: Fine. Go through the gate.

It was all a total lie, and I got a free subway ride, mothafucka. It ruled. And I knew it would work, too. Would you say no? How do you say no? They can't tell I'm not lying, even though it's likely that I am, so they can't call me on that. And really- one guy goes free. I don't think it'll bring the business to its knees or anything.

I'm extremely savvy.

The next story is weird- one of those things you thank God you saw. Great stuff.

I got off my free ride at 77th along with a MASS of people, and got caught behind a slow-ish elderly woman. As we made it to the turnstiles (with the glut of fellow passengers behind us), I notice a little squirrely woman near the swipe station, trying to get through (you exit AND leave in the same turnstile on NYC subways). All of a sudden, moments after coming into my view, she sized up the elderly woman. I could see it coming. Then, as if she wanted to be thought of as a terrible person by everyone around her, she literally clenched her teeth and curled her lip in anger, swiped her card quick and bum-rushed the old woman. It was totally un-called for, ridiculous and wrong.

But before the elderly woman could even protest, the woman started to defend herself. She must have felt remarkably stupid in front of such a crowd.

"I'm trying to get to that subway that is now GONE, and you can't get out of my way for one freaking second? UGH!!"

Remarkable stuff. The heat had gotten to her.


Things weren't looking very good for founding member of the Ramones Johnny Ramone (ne John Cummings) earlier today. Admitted to the hospital with an infection related to his prostate cancer, "Rolling Stone" had reported he was on death's door. While his spokesman said he was receiving treatment and that he would be released "next week," understating initial reports as to the dire nature of his health, it still isn't great news. Marky Ramone was quoted as saying,

"Johnny’s been a champ in confronting this, but at this point I think the chances are slim. John never smoked cigarettes, he wasn’t a heavy drinker and he was always into his health. It just proves when cancer seeks a body to penetrate, it doesn’t matter how healthy you are or how unhealthy you are. It just seeps in and there’s nothing you can do."

Whatever the case may be, let's hope he gets better soon. One of the really nice guys, and it sucks to see someone who didn't beat up their body- like, say, Dee Dee Ramone- get stuck with such a thing. Get better soon, Johnny.

I read a bit of Ulysses today, of course. Didn't do my usual lunchtime session though, because I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open sitting and eating in a deli. No, seriously, I nodded off a couple times.

Anyway, I got home, and on my way to the shitter, I grabbed it. I got ten pages in, and hilariously enough, it was the passage in which... Leopold Bloom grabs a magazine and heads into the shitter while watching his cat. I laughed outloud on the shitter.

This book really is just fucking insane. Just amazing, amazing, amazing. Joyce is my hero, and since I am a writer, I find myself influenced by him sometimes- but not this. This stuff is so dense and of such a breadth of thought and creation it truly boggles the mind. I said it before, but it bears repeating: it truly is one of humankind's crowning achievements. Mere words cannot describe (not mine at least). Awesome.

Records listened to...
OutKast- Speakerboxxx/ The Love Below

Desaparecidos- Read Music/ Speak Spanish

Beastie Boys- To the 5 Boroughs

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