July 18, 2011 by Sarojini Seupersad
(I’m listlessly staring off into nowhere, thinking about you.)
It’s Sarojini, but you can call me Suzi (don’t ask). I just wanted to take a moment out of my day to invite YOU to Brooklyn this weekend, with yours truly (I’m currently pointing to my breastplate with my right index finger). So take a second, think about it, and get back to me.
No? Not in a magnanimous, Mila Kunis-type of mood? Well, it worked for Sergeant Scott Moore, I thought it might work for me, too. (Why anyone would agree to go dancing with a dude who can barely pronounce the word, “November” is beyond my understanding. Was that the best take? Try it again! This time with less feeling and less moving your lips.) Then again, MTA, I should know better than to ask you to go to Brooklyn on the weekend. I know how high-maintenance you are, but it was worth a shot. Listen MTA, I’ve gotta get some stuff off my chest. The truth is, well… this is hard to say…oh, what the hell? I think I’m in love with you. There, I said it. I’ve wanted to tell you for so long but held back because I think we’re, alas, ill-fated. Where did these feelings come from? Who knows? These things never make any sense. After all, you’re not much to look at, you don’t keep track of your finances, you’re late when it rains, you’re smelly (yeah, what IS that?) and sometimes you don’t even show up and instead give me lame excuses I don’t understand. You’ve been known to suddenly change personalities and then it’s as if I don’t know who you are anymore. And on the weekends? Like a pack of frozen beef patties at an artisanal, locally-sourced Williamsburg barbeque, you’re nowhere to be found. You don’t seem to be worth it, MTA, but something tells me I gotta see this through. Sorry for the cliché, but I just can’t quit you. Umm, how about, you had me at [angry shouting on loudspeaker regarding the subway doors or about an earlier incident or possibly about Harry Potter’s existential crisis] … hello, thank you for your patience!
Even though you let me down time after time, I can’t help how I feel. I want to believe in you because of the optimist in me. That’s the kind of person I am – always looking to the positive. Remember that time we got stuck at Howard Beach/JFK and we just sat there for an hour, not knowing what was going on? That was thrilling and exciting! To pass the time, I turned it into a game of “How many police officers will not tell me what’s going on, but will hit on me instead?” That was great fun (and the number was disturbingly high), wasn’t it? But then you took off and acted like nothing happened, with zero explanation. What was that about? I mean, I’m willing to put up with the mixed messages and your erratic behavior if only I knew where this was going. I can’t read your mind, or your Change of Service notices. Oh, it’s all very confusing, MTA, but I try to look at it from your point of view. I know you have a really stressful job and sometimes it can seem like the whole city is on your shoulders, so I’m trying to take it easy on you. I’m trying to be patient and understanding because I know, like all of us, you’re a work-in-progress. However, I don’t know anyone who needs as much work as you do.
With all of that in mind, I have to admit I still want to be with you. Is it possible for me to get what I want from this relationship? By the way, since we’re on the subject, I think I saw you checking out my profile on OKCupid the other day. You don’t have a picture up, but your username is If UCsumthin_saysumthin, right? Yup, I knew that was you. Your self-summary consisting of “I ♥ NY and I go uptown, downtown and make several connections. Are you going my way?” was pretty telling, if you know what I mean. So yeah…I see sumthin all right, uh, something and I think I’ll take this opportunity to say something. Here are a few things that make me crazy for you:
I like your countdown clock, letting me know when you’re going to… arrive. I know some people may think zero minutes is not a very long time, especially when the next scheduled arrival is also zero minutes, but to me, this is an eternity. Those orange digital numbers flashing “0” over and over… oh! It just kills me. The anticipation is excruciating because I can’t wait to see you. But who knows when you’ll actually show up, you clever rascal! You know I love surprises, MTA, and while I’m waiting, you really know how to set a romantic scene: the garbage receptacles are overflowing with ambiance, construction barricades lead me to a limited path of safety (living on the edge!) and a steady stream of serene, rusty water trickles slowly down the subway wall tiles, leaving a brown, alluring stagnant stain of desire, and maybe tetanus – meanwhile someone over a midcentury loudspeaker informs me that…wait, what was that? Oh, a surprise. An adventure awaits us! There was an accident on the bridge? The tunnel is backed up and the most convenient alternative is to go back from whence I came? What a great idea! You always keep me on my toes, MTA. You know I like that.
I appreciate how the subway map is always right behind my head where I’m sitting, so I feel mildly uncomfortable and have to shift my head and my weight ever so slightly, every time a tourist comes over to check it out. What a convenient spot for a map! Maybe you should consider printing it directly on the seats? That would shake things up a bit! Anyway, tourists usually stare at this map, right behind my head, for minutes on end, comparing it to the fold-out version they’re holding, scrutinizing each of them, back and forth, back and forth. I think this is adorable. As I lean to the right, I ask, Can I help you with directions, perhaps? Oh no, we’re fine, they say, glancing at my nose ring with distrust (it’s a nose ring, not a spy camera). Oh yes, of course you’re fine, Sirs (the plural of sir)! I’ll just wait here, patiently, balancing the weight of my entire body on my bony right butt cheek while desperately clinging to my WNYC tote bag – as you, Mr.Tourist, slowly compare and contrast two identical maps. I lovingly call this yoga technique, “The L train Lean.” It really helps strengthen my core, and my resolve. MTA, I think this is your coy way of teasing me, because you know I don’t notice the map until it’s too late. You also obviously care about my elegant posture. Upon deeper inspection, don’t think I didn’t notice how paradoxical your maps are; both helpful and defeating at the same time. Oh, you’re so complicated. Swoon.
You know the part of you I like the most? ‘Please swipe again at this turnstile’ ring a bell? Hmm…should I swipe it slower this time, or maybe really really fast? What’s wrong with this thing? Maybe if I wipe my Metrocard off on my sleeve first and then blow on it? How about now? No? Should I try another turnstile even though you say to swipe here again? Why is everyone else having such an easy time? They’re all smiling. I bet they’re going to their fancy high-rise offices in midtown where they have the corner office with it’s own espresso maker and I bet their apartments have fancy Bauhaus furnishings and room for a proper dining room table and when they go home later, their cards will swipe very easily again, meanwhile I’m just trying to get to the flea market to buy a used bookshelf that’ll I’ll never actually put up because I dislike my apartment and I don’t want to admit I actually live there on a not-so temporary basis. I think , this time, I’ll swipe it really, really, really fast. Insufficient fare.
Why do you hate me MTA? Playing hard-to-get will only make me love you more.