Priscilla Shay’s Guide to Surviving NYC’s MTA

This isn’t what I normally post, but *shrug* it popped into my head. I spend 5-6 hours on public transportation every day for work. I think it’s safe to say I’ve picked up on a few DO’s and DON’T’s for the NYC MTA system. You don’t have to believe me. But, for your well being and others, I’d say try to follow them.

1) There can and will always be “train traffic ahead” of you. You can be on the only running train in the whole state and there will be “train traffic ahead”. You can have a track built solely for your train. YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE TRAIN TRAFFIC AHEAD OF YOU. Always. DO expect train traffic

2) When in a crowded train, should you be standing near the pole in front of the door, there are a few guidelines.

A) The pole is long enough that you don’t have to touch the other person’s hand. Yes, your hand might slide or you get tired, but unless you’re on a train in the Victorian period and you’re trying to send subtle “look at me now touches” DON’T TOUCH THE OTHER PERSON.

B) If you hold on the pole too high, everyone will get a whiff of your crusty pits.Train 2B

C) Conversely, if you hold too low, you might get a handful of junk (man or woman). You might make a new friend, but that’s not how *I* want to make friends.

So DON’T touch anyone and DO keep your grasp in the general middle of the pole.

D)Also, shower. Don’t you get on a crowded train in the middle of ANY SEASON without showering. You smell bad. How do you think 50 people who haven’t showered all crammed in one car smell? Think compost pile.

3) If you’re transferring trains and walking between stations (for example, walking from the 6 train at 51st to the E/M on 53rd) DO STAY TO YOUR RIGHT. I don’t care what direction you’re walking in just stay to your right.

4) If you are taking the escalator STAY TO THE RIGHT. The right side is there for you to stand and enjoy the escalator as it was made. The LEFT SIDE is for those who will walk up the escalator (as opposed to taking the stairs to…the escalator -.-). That said DO STAY TO THE RIGHT or I will stare at you and judge you and I WILL laugh when the person behind you shoves you out the way to get by.

5) I don’t care if you’re a tourist or a native New Yorker KEEP UP WITH THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC. You don’t have to walk fast enough to get around the person in front of you. Just don’t be the idiot who stops in the middle of a steadily flowing stream of people. You will either be trampled or have your family cursed for the next 6 generations.

umbrella6) When you get on the train STEP TO THE MIDDLE. There’s no reason for you to stop right by the door. Other people won’t be able to get on and if I see you doing it I’ll kneecap you with my $7 pink frilly umbrella. Seriously.

7) EVERYDAY IS APRIL FOOL’S DAY FOR THE MTA. Oh, you thought your train was coming in 5 minutes? You checked schedule ahead of time? You checked the app for delays, service changes, and planned construction? MTA’s response? GOTCHA! APRIL FOOL’S! Even December is April Fool’s for MTA.

8) Sometimes the train will be so crowded *coughRUSHHOURcough* you won’t need to hold onto anything. Even if you lose your footing you won’t fall. You’ll just float there a little bit until the next stop when people get off and the other reposition themselves.

9) Finally, you and your bicycle or your washing machine sized box ARE NOT, I repeat, ARE NOT getting on the train during rush hour. Nope. Not happening. Just, no.

10) I don’t care if you eat on the train. I get it. You’re hungry. Sometimes you run out of the house without eating anything or you didn’t have time to grab lunch. I get it. I passed out on the train a few months ago and it may very well have been because I was hungry. But, don’t you dare open anything that has a strong odor that will cling to my clothes for the next three months and 15 washes. Have a bagel. Have a cereal bar. DO NOT PULL OUT A CUTTING BOARD AND START CHOPPING ONIONS.

Well, there you have it. Ten rules – gentle suggestions – to surviving the NYC MTA (at least while I’m on the train). Do you have any DO’s and DON’Ts for NY or other areas?

Would You Sell One of Your Children?

Last week and this weekend, my brother and I watched the Ip Man movies (on Netflix) with my dad. Dad is really big on martial arts movies (and naturally, my brother and I fell into it. I like it so much that I wanted to do some sort of martial arts. But, Dad sad I’d break easily. That’s a different post. Nevermind.)

Anyway, we were watching the Ip Man movies with Donnie Yen (LOVE him in the first two).

The real Sifu Ip Man

SideNote: Ip Man: The Final Fight features a different actor because at the time China released Ip Man and Ip Man 2 with Donnie Yen, as it always happens – and you can see this even in publishing – the market became saturated with films on the same topic. Ip Man, for those who don’t know, is the martial arts grandmaster who taught, or taught the student who taught, Bruce Lee. Donnie Yen said he didn’t want the films to lose meaning, so after the second he wouldn’t make another. Hence, the third movie had a different lead actor. And, to be honest, I’m pretending the third never happened because it wasn’t up to par.

Ip Man was very humble and did not like asking for help, owing people favors, or being a burden on others. But, he always had friends and students who were eager to care for him because he lived a frugal, simple life and stuck to his principles.

Donnie Yen as Sifu Ip Man

By the third movie, Ip Man is still married to his young wife and they have two children. But, due to circumstances, Ip Man fled his home in FoShan, China to live in Hong Kong. His wife, Wing Sing, and their two children were able to return to FoShan, but he decided to remain in Hong Kong.

There is a scene in the third movie where Wing Sing visits Ip Man in Hong Kong. She is not used to the city life, the different environment and people, and she misses her husband. Fast forward a bit, and there is a going away dinner for Wing Sing, who is returning the FoShan to be with her children. Ip Man’s students are there (they kinds really love his wife) and they invited a longtime friend and his family.  This family, the Lees (not of the Bruce Lees), consists of a working husband who does his best, a stay at home mom, and 8 children.

During the dinner, Wing Sing tries to give the children more food (drum sticks!). The children refuse, are on the verge of tears, and plead with their mother – mom, please, we’ll save the drumsticks for our little brother. Mom, see I didn’t take any of the drumsticks. PLEASE DON’T SELL ME.

Please. Don’t. Sell. Me.

The movie takes place in 1960s Hong Kong. The economy was tanking, businesses were failing, unions were fighting with each other and their employees, and people were out of jobs.

The father had sold the 8th and youngest child in order to feed the other 7. (Me being me, I’ve already weaved a plot around a part of this story and if Khrysten is reading this, she’s shaking her head and cursing my name on a huge sigh. But, shhhh.)

It’s a tough situation. I know a lot of people are going to have strong reactions to this. (Especially with so much human trafficking in the world.) But, it’s not an easy decision.

Do you keep all 8 children and guarantee 10 people starve or do you sell one and hope they have a better life, but have the means to feed the remaining 9 people who depending on you?

In America, if a child is orphaned, abandoned, or in danger they are removed to the foster system until they are adopted or turn 18 and are released from the system.

In Guyana, there is still an orphanage system. However, it is not only for children who don’t have family or were abandoned. The system is set up in a way that if a family has one too many mouths to feed, they can leave the child at the orphanage knowing he or she will be taken care of. It’s not an ideal situation, but this way the child isn’t abandoned, the family can still visit, and the child receives food, shelter, and education.

So, I’m curious. Could you do it? What are your thoughts on the situation?