You Will Not Die on the New York City Subway…probably

Disclaimer for Typos, lol

The New York Subway System

Apparently it’s the most complex in the world and each line of cars travel a combined total of 300 million miles a year. That’s at least according to the documentary my host family was watching the other night – and since everything you read on the Internet or watch on TV is true we will go with it.

In my 31 years I have taken a ride on public transit a handful of times. Seriously, I can probably count every time within the my current amount of fingers and toes.

“Wait – current amount?” you  may ask? We’ll get to that.

Don’t get me wrong. It isn’t that I have avoided it with some “better than thou”point of view or made some excuse that I hate crowds. I am a HUGE fan of the idea that I can take a seat and not have to consider the fact that I’m driving what could potentially become a very large weapon of destruction – largely due to my inability to drive.

Well, I can drive – I just get distracted….Podcast surfing…texting (I know, I know)…a nice home or building….and the occasional attractive shirtless man running down the street – my favorite… OK, I guess that does qualify me as bad driver.

Did I do Houston a public service by getting off the road? Absolutely.

As a matter of fact, in my Google search of the always accurate Internet I discovered the following:

  1. An average of 200 people a year die on the subway in a city of approximately 8 million. According to my iPhone calculator and limited ability to process information this early, that’s .000025% of the population.
  2. In 2015 there were 183 fatalities from car crashes in Houston, a city of 2 million. That’s about .0000915.

Basically – I was 4 times more likely to die in Houston going to work as opposed to my commute here. That’s right mom – calm. the f&*k. down. Your son is safer here than he was in Houston – at least on his chosen method of transportation for his commute.

All of this does not negate the fact the subway is still terrifying. Everywhere in this city people are meandering around at the most glacial of paces – but when they hit the subway. They are walking with purpose. It’s like a switch is flipped and suddenly everyone is on the move.

And in comes David…

Awkwardly staring at the Metro Card Kiosk trying to figure out how to use it. I work for technology company and it took me 20 minutes to successfully navigate that labyrinth of complicated decisions.

13 rides per week? 15 rides per week? 20 rides per week?

Fewer than 10 rides per week?

7-day or 30-day unlimited?

What’s the cost per ride? Wait – am I really that cheap to where I’m asking that question? Yes. *whips out iPhone calculator*

Ok – you get it. It’s complicated. It didn’t help that it took me a solid 60 seconds to figure out the touch screen was out on the first kiosk I approached.

THEN you go to the actual platform where there are literally 4 different places I could stand with 3 different trains to sit on. I looked for the number I knew I needed – “the 6” (I immediately felt like Jenny from the Block and proceeded to play music from that album).

Everything is fine. I’m cool. I’m on the subway. I’m a New Yorker. Three seconds before the doors started to close it dawned on me that trains go two directions.

-Stage 6 Freak Out-

Thank. God. that my blissful ignorance didn’t lead me in the wrong direction.

Success. I did it. I navigated from point A to point B without shedding a tear or having an actual panic attack and soiling myself.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “What about your fingers and toes?”

Day one of my commute I stepped off the train only to hear a BLOOD CURDLING scream. It was basically rush hours, so in a panic I quickly searched my immediate surroundings to see if I could help (like I’d know what to freakin’ do – it must have been the Superman t-shirt I was wearing – whatever). Turns out a little girl had her hand pressed up against the door as it opened and got wedged between the door and the wall of the car.

After initially thinking, “This girl is gonna die right in front of me,” I quickly realized that the situation wasn’t life or death – or even a matter of injury because they pulled her right out. Having said that, I’m pretty sure she’s never going to do that again.

And neither will I – because I’m a fan of my fingers and would like to keep them.

Based on her scream her parents may be hard pressed to get her back on the subway at all.

What I’ve learned thus far about subway safety are these simple things:

  1. Stay away from that yellow line of death.
  2. Make sure you successfully swipe your card so your waste isn’t permanently bruised by that thing that lets you in (whatever it’s called).
  3. And don’t let subway doors eat your arm – because it hurts.

I’ve totally got this under control. Probably.


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