I realized this over the previous weekend after bitching out an MTA employee. Usually, I would maintain the belief that anyone who works for the MTA deserves this, as they seem to care nothing about anyone, and generally have no soul (except of course those guys who announce the stops like they're the radio jockey for Lite FM. Those guys got soul.)
But granted, they do work long hours and get screwed by the system (let us not forget the recent strike.) And this isn't my first time bitching someone out. Since I've started living in New York and grown some balls after a highly awkward childhood, I've had many a hot-headed encounter with persons of authority.
First there was the small incident of being reprimanded for unpacking my NYU dorm boxes from our family truck on move-in day. The police officer (or "traffic cop," which though sightly less intimidating is probably the most accurate) sternly instructed me to move our vehicle from the side of Water Street, as it was against standing room policy. I, dripping with sweat and already freaking out over carrying six large bins of crap up to the 15th floor (while mom complained about ridiculous amount of said crap) promptly began to yell my exasperated rant on the corner for all to hear:
"DOES IT LOOK LIKE I CAN MOVE THE CAR NOW??! NO ONE IS HELPING US, NYU COULD GIVE A CRAP ABOUT TRYING TO MAKE THIS EASIER AND THEY TOLD US TO PARK HERE. YOU CAN'T YELL AT ME! IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM TAKE IT UP WITH THE DAMN SCHOOL!"
Needless to say, mom was quite startled that I had the gall to back-talk a police officer. He did leave us alone......but that's probably because he thought I was crazy.
The next time I flew off the handle, was in Ohio. Ryan and I had rented a car to drive back to NY with all his stuff (why do I always seem to be in the process of moving! No wonder I'm so stressed...) Everything was all reserved a month in advance and I was feeling dandy as we approached the Avis counter at the airport....until he informed me that my credit card was invalid.
Me: Why is it invalid?Cue ballistics.
Indifferent Employee: Because it's a debit card.
Me: Yes, but it's also a credit card.
Indifferent Employee: The system won't read it as such.
Me: Why didn't they tell me when I was GIVING MY CARD INFO OVER THE PHONE A MONTH AGO??!!!
Indifferent Employee: I don't know.
Me: I NEED THIS CAR TODAY! I have no other way of getting back to NY! How can I pay for it?! I can give you CASH-
Indifferent Employee: We don't take cash, only credit cards.
Me (to Ryan): Maybe we can use your mom's card for now....
Indifferent Employee: But she would have to be the one to drive the car if it's in her name.
In a slew of tears, swear words and most likely some crazy spastics, I chewed the indifference right out of that mofo. That's when he called airport security. Ryan, meanwhile, hid behind the counter and tried to forget he ever knew me.
You can call it rebellion, or PMS, or even temporary insanity. I call it lack-of-patience-cause-I-live-in-freaking-NYC. And yes, perhaps, I have a bit of a problem with managing my anger.
Can you really blame me though? After years of being so eager to please, the exemplary student that was just scraping by, I wanna get mad. If you push me, I'm gonna push back.
But I think that sometimes, things can get out of hand. And it's gotten to the point that my fuse goes off without me even thinking about, or realizing that I'm acting out of raw, raging emotion. My bout with the MTA is an example of that.
It was the night of the torrential downpour. It was 2am. We were tired and waterlogged. Luckily, we caught a Q and were making our way back to our lovely Kensington cockroach-infested abode. The Q stops at Atlantic/Pacific to this announcement:
"Due to a downed tree on the Q line, all service is suspended until further notice."
That's it? No other alternatives? No "sorry we're leaving you in the cold and rain tonight to fend for yourselves"? No sympathy for those who cannot afford a cab?
I was fuming.
After exiting the train, I marched right up to the MTA man in his reflective vest, a train attendant standing nonchalantly behind him in her sunglasses (?), and commanded him to tell me how the hell I was supposed to get back home if there were no freaking trains running to where I needed to go.
He looked at me with no emotion whatsoever and shook his head. "I don't know."
Damn I wish I could use the phrase "I don't know" for every single answer to god-knows-what!
"Do you know how to do your job?"
"I don't know."
"Well gee, sir, I'm sorry to trouble you with such a silly question; as if you'd know, wearing that shitty MTA yellow vest and everything."
If people don't think I know, they'll leave me alone! I bet this is what this guy was thinking. I wasn't settling for that.
"Where are you going?" he finally asked, once I wouldn't shut up. A crowd had formed around me: I was speaking for the masses!
"I need to get to Church Ave, the Q stop. To Kensington"
"You can take the IRT line."
"That WHAT? What are we in the fucking '80s? What the fuck are you talking about."
"The 1, 2, 3 line, number lines. Take it to Brooklyn College."
"Are you on crack???! That is nowhere near where I just told you I'm going!"
The woman behind him just stared on. I couldn't tell if she was just enjoying the show, or if she was in fact dead inside.
I stormed off, cursing and thanking him for being such an asshole. Ryan stared at me as if I had unleashed my inner She-Hulk. I had actually convinced myself that my confrontation was nothing more than an exasperated plead for advice. But, according to Ryan, it was more like raging-bitchtastic-spit-flying-tirade.
After sharing a cab ride home with a very nervous Jewish waiter/ex-personal trainer (which happened to calm me down a bit - I was upstaged by neuroticism) it finally hit me. I was uncalled for. I was out of control. I was angry. And it made me feel so awful inside, that I could turn into such a monster of a person. But I don't think it had anything to do with the MTA....but perhaps it did have to do with Authority.
So, wherever you are, sleepy-looking MTA employee. I hope that you can forgive me for my harsh behavior. Please don't throw yourself in front of a train: I'm sure you were just over-worked and pissed off by New Yorkers, like you are every day. Just like me.