Wednesday, August 8, 2007

They might as well be dead when the rain comes

Apparently it rained a whole lot last night/early this morning. Thanks to my noisy air conditioner, I didn't realize this -- I mean, I knew it was raining, but I didn't think it rained an unusual amount. And so I was ready to head out the door, in cute shoes, at 9:30 when WNYC broke in to the BBC World News to warn me to "delay my commute," because flooding had shut down every single subway line in the city. Most people commuting post-9:30 are already pretty delayed, I would think, so I figured things must be pretty ugly if they were still warning folks to stay home. I gave up on getting to work by 10:00, changed into sneakers and started the long walk downtown. If you're not in the area or haven't been outside, let me say that today was not a day I would have chosen to walk 40-plus blocks. New York was not enjoying any post-rainstorm coolness. It was more humid than yesterday, in fact, and I had to stop a few times along the way to cool off in some air-conditioned store while pretending to browse. But still, I'd rather be sweaty and moving on the sidewalk than sweaty and stuck on a subway or a bus with a lot of other angry people.

So, the bad news is, one heavy rainstorm can cripple the entire New York City transit system. But the good news is, the MTA's policy of providing customers with as little information as possible is still firmly in place and functioning beautifully, as you can see from the many irate comments on this New York Times city room blog post. (See #27 for a familiar complaint: "Let me know the system is not working BEFORE I pay to use it." Sorry, pal, we're the MTA! We have a reputation to uphold.) I didn't even try to get on a bus or train this morning, so I avoided getting worked up about the massive suckage of the MTA, but now that I'm here at my desk, no longer dripping with sweat, I'm starting to claim some of that anger for myself. Because I really think it should take more than a heavy rain to make my "unlimited ride" MetroCard useless, and to make walking 40 blocks my only getting-to-work option. It's a good thing I don't work in an ER or anything. But it's a shame I can't copy-edit magazine proofs from home.

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