Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Subway Games

Sometimes I see how fast I can get the F outta of the subway in a little game I like to call: The Subway Games.

It starts the second you hear that robotic voice, “The …. next …. stop …. is …. 14th…. Street …. Union .... Square….” …. iPod, check! Shiv …. uhhhh I mean purse, check! Jacket zippered, check! Game on bitches!

Doors open and your first obstacle is making sure that damn gap is filled! I’m no fool, I saw that episode of Homicide: Life on the Streets where Vincent D'Onofrio gets smushed between the platform and the subway car and dies. With that haunting visual in mind, I sometimes do a little hop to ensure that I've cleared any potential gappage, because in the Subway Games, you can’t be too careful. 

Your next obstacle is invariably getting past all your fellow subway riders who are just looking to trip you up any which way. You know who I’m talking about, the oblivious girl with so many bags she may as well be a family of 5 walking up those stairs, or the hipster who is far more concerned with which Lumineers song is coming up next on his iPod than he is with paying attention to his fellow subway tributes. Think Mario Kart: Moo Moo Farm, you’re Wario and those subway fools are the moles. Don’t touch them or you’ll spin out of control and lose valuable seconds. 

Now that you’re on the platform it’s onto the stairs …. those damn stairs. Never once have I gone up them without some idiot careening down the other side yelling with all their might, “HOLD THE TRAIN!” This just in crazy, have you ever met the conductors? They’ll close the door on a baby without batting an eyelash and have even taken off with the baby stroller still stuck in the door (no seriously, YouTube it). Do you truly think they’re going to stop for you ….

But no matter what the obstacle, don’t worry, you’re a Wario, you’re a gonna win this Subway Game. I then sprint up the escalator on the left hand side and give myself bonus points for every person I pass without touching (in the Hunger Games I imagine this would equate to finding a squirrel for dinner).

The trickiest moment is when you finally start to feel that “fresh” air (please note, the use of quotations here is pivotal as you must remember that you are still not out) and you suddenly imagine what Andy Dufrense must have felt like after bouncing from Shawshank. FREEDOM I CAN ALMOST TASTE YOU! But you, much like Andy, still have some shit to get through first.

The turnstile is your last foe. OCD sidebar: I like to stick to the same turnstile every time I ride the subway. I go in on the 7 turnstile in the morning and exit on the 2 turnstile each night. Sometimes, if someone is really slow and gets tripped up while going through my turnstile, I'll pretend that I'm also tripped up looking for something in my purse so the people around me don’t question why I just don’t go through one of the other open turnstiles. I just like 7 and 2, ok. I scoped them out on day one and they looked the cleanest, but that is neither here nor there …. don’t judge me.

Now back to the turnstile: you have to touch it, unfortunately that is a non-negotiable. So instead I see if I can go through without having that awkward embrace with a stranger on the other side who is trying to come in while I go out. I give this stranger my, “Uh I’m playing the Subway Games fool, so you best move aside” eyes and that usually does the trick.

The last set of stairs can sometimes make your heart sink and your thighs may or may not be starting to burn for those last few steps, but unless you want a tribute mutant to knock you down in the home stretch, you suck it up and you get the F outta the subway.

There is one important thing to note. Yes, you are now free, but in my version of the Subway Games, we are all losers …. a hard lesson that even Katniss had to learn. Why, you ask? Well, it’s because there are no winners on the subway, only people who need to go home and take a shower.


  1. Rich Girl- you are a great writer. I like how you mapped in two narrative worlds as a metaphor for riding the subway. I love the baby comment by the way haha.