Riding the K Train: the karma of the subway


I recently had a revelation that has put me at peace with one of life’s greatest frustrations – public transport. It is quite easy to believe that most of the world’s mass transit systems are run by either penny-pinching misers or just incompetent brainless twats.

But then the penny dropped – we’ve been blaming beureaucrats when we should have been looking in the mirror (MJ tried to tell us!). You see, the MTA Subway (and similar transport systems) is in fact an instrument of Karma. Quite possibly her MAIN instrument for giving you back what you have been putting out into the world – be it good or bad. Let me elaborate.

When you are at your most abhorent – let’s say, killing your liver with an evening of liquor-fuelled debauchery that you are at least 7 years too old for – she punishes you like a demonic underground dominatrix. She teases you in the wee hours of the morning with that waiting train, then leaves just as you contemplate whether to run down the stairs (not a good idea, given that you can barely walk down them). Then she slinks slowly enough into the tunnel for you to see that round, colored, letter-filled sign glowing back at you as a metaphoric middle finger (a metaphor which is all that much stronger if it happens to be the “F” train).

Then she purposely doesn’t return for a longer than usual time, and once you are aboard, she puts you in the particular carriage with the crazy guy ranting about how “a fella had to have a long tongue back in the eighties, yes ma’am” (I wish I was making that bit up!). Then she drives erratically – shaking and rattling ten times as much as usual to make you really feel those last 3 shots (and maybe get some of them back again).

Lady Karma also doesn’t like tardiness. Now, if you are late because you were helping an old lady to cross the street, she will create a trafic delay for your train at your station and you’ll just make it. But if you are late for work because you hit snooze a couple extra times, that bitch is gonna send you 15 minutes of nothing, then send three trains that you can’t even squeeze another person onto, before allowing you just enough room to squeeze into the fourth one with your face in the airmpit of an urban sasquatch. But you deserve it, so shut up and enjoy the breeze.

On the other hand, when I have caught the train to or from a day volunteering for the needy or to help someone else with a chore, I am glad Karma is in control of the trains. After a sweltering day recently rebuilding a local park for city residents, I was sweaty, skanky and hotter than Hades.  The subway tunnels were humid and awful, but it didn’t bother me. To and from the worksite, the train pulled up right as I stepped off the bottom steps. And on the way home I got a prime spot under some very cool AC in a carriage with only two other people spread throughout it. Thanks Lady Karma.

So next time your train is crowded, or your bus is an hour late, don’t curse the MTA – think about what you have done to earn bad Karma lately.

And if you can’t think of anything that you did… look around the train. One of those random people is a despicable stain on society – and you will find that it’s very cathartic to tell them this loudly, so the whole carriage can hear. Sometimes other passengers will even applaud. That’s Lady Karma’s way to let you know you accurately picked the responsible culprit. (Hint: start with the ones wearing a lot of purple.)

— Irish

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