Hello friends. I afford you my gracious treatment of New York public transportation. I will try to be civil, in that this is a family space.

MTA stands for Metropolitan Transit Authority, and it currently runs my life (more like running it into the ground).Today was an unusually wet day in the City of New York, but certainly not on the level of the hurricane doomsdayists are predicting ( google: New York, Hurricane, 60 years). Generally, rain= late. This equation is not full-proof, however, as I learned today. Catching the 7 train to 74st, the F to 21 st, and bus Q19a to work, I actually arrived 30mins early in spite of the downpour.

I must comment here that the first “M” in the acronym MTA could easily stand for mercurial. Some mornings, I leave my house at 7 and sneak in the door of my school at 8. Others (like today), I leave at 7 and I end up reading a chapter or two from book du jour in a spare classroom (which, gasp, is currently Sense & Sensibility). This is madness. There are no formulae, no reasons, or divine oracles that can ever tell you how long your commute will be. Saints, Sages, Fools, and Princes (well… no not them, they take cabs) all wait alike on rain soaked benches for buses long in coming. It is also axiomatic that the smell of urine is directly proportional to the length of time one waits. And so rule number one, as I alluded to before, is that one should always have something to read on public transport.

But, back to today…

I left the High School where I teach to catch the F train to St. John’s where I am a student. I walked 15 minutes to Queensbridge Station to catch the F train. Or so I thought:

Water was everywhere and none was for the drinking (10pts if you can name the reference). When one owns a car, an abundance of rain is a mere inconvenience- a mild hazard at worst. But when one is at the mercy of a machine that works in underground tunnels, lots of rain means lots of problems. Let me break it down, math teacher style:

Rain+Gravity+Low elevation= Puddle
assume: low elevation=subway tunnel

now let us substitute “low elevation” for its equivalent:

Rain+Gravity+Subway Tunnel= Puddle= mass chaos

Lest my proof confuse you, I will be very explicit. My trains did not run today. Let me repeat, My train was down without any indication as to when normal service would continue. I haven’t been that stranded since junior high. To make matters worse, I had a meeting in 1hr, no telephone numbers to call ahead, and no map (what a day to forget it). Needless to say, I was VERY late to my meeting; someone had to come and pick me up.

I say all this to say that dealing with MTA is a learned helplessness. Its humbling to think that a major component of my professional identity is completely out of my control.

Odd little Faustian bargain this: $75/month for a metrocard. I suppose this is how life goes up here.