Magic Jewball

all signs point to no


Please pass this on

Filed under : New York City
On August 26, 2007
At 11:30 pm
Comments : 9

And now, a PSA to tourists. And not that “ha ha, I’m making fun of you by pointing out that you walk slow or wear loud colors or unfold maps in ways that block the whole sidewalk” kind. No, this is real and sincere. Mostly because it’s begun to annoy the hell out of me. See, if you’ve been here you know we use a little thing called a Metrocard to get into the subway (and buses too, but that’s not on my agenda today). You can get them in pay-per-ride and unlimited-for-one-price formats. Say you walk into an entrance of the subway which is kinda dark and kinda empty and there are no humans selling Metrocards, just machines. And a guy who looks like he is either homeless, on drugs, just released from prison, or all three, offers to sell you a swipe of a Metrocard for a dollar (one ride is $2, unless you buy unlimited). Now, I know what you, my wise reader, would do. But what about your friends and neighbors? Why do they always say, “Sure! Thanks! What a deal!”?

After seeing this day after day, I began to ask the tourists (and they always are, seriously) why they do this. Actually, I begin by saying, “um, that’s not legal, you know?” Except for the one guy, who I swear, right in front of his kid said “Yeah, I know, mind your own fucking business,” most people are baffled. “Really?” they say. “How could this be a problem?” I don’t get this at all. How can you not know you’re doing something shady? The ride costs $2, a skeevy person offers to sell it to you for $1. How can this possibly be on the up and up?

Why should I care? Well, there are two reasons. One, I don’t like to come down to the subway after a long day at work and find it full of criminals waiting for their next mark. If people didn’t buy them, they wouldn’t be there. And second, I like you tourists, I really do, you make me look at my city a whole new way, but many times, I’m forced to put up with you. Maybe I’ve mentioned but there are a lot of you, you move slowly, and I have to wait on line behind you at Whole Foods. But I do put up with you because you bring in lots of money. This is the way the world economy works. Next month, the good people of Athens will put up with me because they want my money. It all goes round and round. But when you buy $1 rides from criminals with unlimited cards, that’s $8 (there are four of you on average) that isn’t going to the transit authority. Then there is a shortfall at the MTA. Guess who gets their fare jacked up? You guessed it, me, and all the nice people of New York who have put up with you. Er, your friends and neighbors.

Actually, I got into a whole conversation with a woman who saw me inform the last group of tourists that that was illegal (“really? will we be arrested?”) and asked me incredulously how these people could not know that this wasn’t a good idea. She wasn’t even American originally but had moved from Paris twenty years earlier. Then, as happens to any two strangers in New York who have lived there many years, we both began bemoaning the loss of mom-and-pop stores to the big chains. That’s another lesson for tourists. If you really want to fit in, say, “Remember when this was Shakespeare & Co.? Those were the days.”

Photo by PiratenBraut @ Flickr


iPod song of the week – The Vines

Filed under : iPod Song of the Week
At 6:10 pm
Comments : 2

Don’t have a lot of room left on your iPod? Here’s an idea, shorter songs! This one’s just perfect. It’s really economical. It gets going right away, almost immediately launches into the lyrics, and packs a wallop of hurt, anger, and new resolve into 2 minutes and 6 seconds. And it has the usual verse/chorus/bridge/chorus thing going on, just shorter. And louder. I always feel like smacking someone who really deserves it when I’m through this song. Luckily the next song on the album is gentler so no one gets decked. You’ll have to arrange your own playlist, however, I can’t be responsible.

The Vines – Get Free

Streaming audio available on the iPod Song of the Week page.