Commuting from Westchester was a strange experience. Beyond the amount of time it took (an hour and ten minutes, door to door) what usually bothered me most was the bizarre relationship I formed with the people who rode in the same car from the same station at the same time — which is to say the utter lack of relationship. I’ve covered this before, I realize.
I guess it’s common commuter code, but I didn’t know: Apparently you don’t acknowledge the people who stand near you while you wait for the train. One woman smiled every morning, but the seven or eight others I saw every single weekday mustered hardly a glance when I showed up to the spot between the elevator and the stairway where we all always stood.
And then you see the same people on the weekend at Home Depot and they still act like they don’t know who you are! And I’m all, hey buddy, you are literally the first person I see every day that I’m not married to, we can at least nod for the sake of humanity? Yeah, I realize it’d be weird for us to establish any sort of nodding relationship because then we’d have to nod every time we saw each other and that could grow to be a burden, but isn’t this anonymity also a bear?
Anyway, Mike Malone is the dude that says hello. A Mets fan and fellow Hawthorne commuter, Mike recognized me from the Kiner’s Korner Revisited videos, introduced himself, and interviewed me for his commuting blog at Trainjotting.com.
Mike’s got a new book out, The New York Commuter’s Glossary. It’s a book of clever words and phrases for concepts all too common to daily commuters, among them: iClod, Crapathetic, Latrainian Tomlinson.
If you commute regularly and you liked Sniglets when you were younger — as I did and as Mike acknowledges he did in the end notes — you should enjoy having a standardized set of definitions for the things that have always bothered you or humored you on the train and subway. It’s hardly dictionary length, but the glossary and illustrations by Joseph Walden should be enough to keep you entertained for a couple of commutes and provide a handy reference thereafter. So check that out.
My recent commutes, I should mention, have been far more pleasant. I’ve been riding my bike from the Upper East Side to Midtown, mostly traveling south down 5th Avenue along the park. I get here in 15 minutes, and I ride past all sorts of awesome buildings in the fresh air with the Empire State Building looming in the distance. It’s awesome. I’m the schmo in the office with chain grease on his pants all the time but whatever. It’s not like I like pants.