As the new year kicks in, New Yorkers look mindfully inward and recognize, with much soul searching, the truth:
The train is never coming.
Got that? Never ever ever ever. It will never come. You will never get to work on time, never meet your friend at the time and place you promised, never get home before your dinner is not only burnt, it has turned into coal and is halfway to becoming a diamond. (Which is, I guess, the up side of late trains.)
Instead of being shocked over and over by the unconscionable, soul-crushing, completely unjust lateness of all those late late late, slow, halting, sick-passenger-ahead, holding-lights, signal-problems trains, here are the “Resolutions for New York City Subway Riders in 2018.”
Just repeat to yourself:
• When I get to the platform just as a train is shutting its doors, I resolve not to say anything out loud that would cause my grandmother to blush, faint, or come get me from her grave, whichever is most convenient.
• If I manage to reach the platform seconds before the doors close, I resolve not to stick any part of my body in between them, especially not a part that would hurt if sheared off.
• This includes my nose.
• And your nose, if I was pushing. (Sorry.)
• Nor will I, while waiting for the train, sigh as if the people around me have no idea how hard it is for me and only me to wait for the &@$*! train.
• Excuse me, grandma. The tardy train.
• If I cannot figure out how to buy a MetroCard, I will accept this with grace, rather than punching random buttons for 10 minutes while the crowd behind me grows to the size of the Macy’s Parade.
• When and if I get on the train, I will immediately place my backpack in the gunk on the floor, rather than keeping it on my back where it serves as a boxing glove to anyone trying to slip by me, whom I notice not one whit.
• Speaking of which: When I do notice a woman who is eight or nine months pregnant, I will not immediately pretend not to notice her, if I am seated. (Unless I had a really long day.)
• If I am watching a movie on phone, I shall not make everyone within seven people of me listen to the movie on my phone, as enjoying a movie usually requires at least two senses. So I resolve to get those strange things everyone’s wearing these days. What are they called again? Ear-stick-ins? Yes, by golly, I’ll try some of those ear-stick-ins.
• If I get on the train and there’s 7 inches of space on the bench I will not try to wedge into it.
• Well, come to think of it, I will. I mean, why not? If everyone would just suck in their stomachs — or their thighs, actually — I swear four people would fit onto those three-person benches, no problem.
• If I am man-spreading, I will cease to do this anymore, even if I am a woman. Even if no one else is on the train, I will keep my legs Velcroed together, to make up for all those other times before “man-spreading” became a thing (and a word!) and I did it all the time.
• If I am holding onto a pole I won’t pause to wipe my nose and then resume my pole-holding with my newly moist hand (or mitten, or glove).
• When I am getting off the train, I won’t “accidentally” brush the idiot who is blocking the door just to express my displeasure.
• Unless they know they should move but just don’t. You know who you are.
• When riding the escalator, I will stand to the right if I am going to just stand there.
• When riding the escalator behind someone on the left who is just standing there, I won’t roll my eyes, snort, start breathing into their hair, or make a big deal out of it. After all, I’ll still get where I’m going at almost the same time.
• Except I’m already 17 days late, thanks to the “sick passenger” four boroughs ahead of us.
• I will never be a sick passenger on a train. I promise. If I am sick, I will wait until the next stop and keel over once off the train and conveniently out of the way of passengers getting on.
• I will never keel over on the left side of the escalator.
• When exiting the station, I will not proceed through the turnstile a desperate commuter is trying to proceed into because they hear the train coming.
• Unless — ha ha! — you missed your train!
• Scratch that. I will be a Zen-like subway rider, patiently accepting that which I cannot change.
• While quietly muttering “Where the @*&!# is my @!#&*%^ train?”
Lenore Skenazy is author of “Has the World Gone Skenazy?”