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Me versus the MTA

By Angeline Wu New York City’s MTA has a fat, blaring, bright-red target on my back. I know you know the transportation is slow and unreliable but see, me and you vary too differently. Sure, you’re late to work a couple of times, maybe late to a friend's dinner party, maybe even missing a movie's entirety. But, you have not been me. Here, I aim to depict a week’s worth of mental, physical, and spiritual battles between me and that cursed transportation system. 


The week starts softly. I am not hindered too badly. I mean, yes. I am late to school, but that's only because I started that morning trying to make eggs in as many ways as possible (poached, fried, scrambled, boiled, soft-boiled, omelet (can we also talk about shrinkflation a little? Those eggs were minuscule!!!! And they were labeled EXTRA-large!!! In Whoville maybe!!!!) The bus was a teensy bit late, but it isn’t ever on time so it is honestly just on me.  

Me: 0 

MTA: 0


I wake up on time, and I feel great having slept at 3 am instead of 4 am. I shuffle over to that blasted bus stop with my hands in my pocket. I inch a little closer to the curb and look over yonder, squinting my eyes (I can’t see too far) at the blurry little blob that is slowly but surely dragging itself over to me. I relax, stepping back from the curb, and dig into my backpack for my Metrocard. When I look up, I don’t see the bus. “Oh, but it was sure close by. Where is it?” I squinted again in the direction where I last saw this cursed contraption, but it wasn’t there. “No,” I think. Surely, the bus had not passed by me as I was looking for my Metrocard. That would be cruel and unusual. But, there is still time. I had woken up early enough to afford a little more leisure time. I check my transit app, which tries its hardest to predict the next moves of the God that is the MTA. Perfect. Another bus comes around in 6 minutes. It’s going to be tight, but I can make it in time. I stand closer to the curb this time. There is no way the bus is going to miss me this time around. I stand tall, and all 5’4 of me stares straight into the eyes of the bus driver. 

We lock eyes. 

He passes me by.

 I weep.

 It is all for nothing. 

Me: 0

MTA: 1


Everything falls apart. I wake up at 7:30. I am running around. I barely get out of the house by 7:45. I am probably really stinky but I don’t care. MTA first, hygiene second.  I remember yesterday's errors and I move even faster. Sure everything was horrible yesterday but it couldn’t get any worse than a double ditch. With newfound enthusiasm settled into my bones, I ran to my bus stop. This time, my Metrocard is already out, just waiting to be inserted into the little card slot. I am out of breath and I only catch the bus by a whisker. But with this small victory, I think to myself, maybe the world isn’t so bad. Maybe shrinkflation will be good for the economy. Maybe Elon Musk is the funniest CEO. As I step onto the bus with my MetroCard out, a particularly strong gust of wind blows my way. My wretched little card, my only ticket to transportation, flies away from me. I hurriedly grab after it, only to be downtrodden as the card, in slow motion, slips in between the cracks of a sewer. I am ruined. 

Me: 0

MTA: 2


The morning goes well, and everything is fine, but I have a meeting in Manhattan tonight. Today the subway, which, in itself, is a whole other animal. The meeting starts at 7:30. There's going to be a guest speaker and my advisor warns me not to be late. I give myself an extra half an hour in case of accidents or any other mishaps that were surely going to come my way. I have to take a different bus, and I have to walk a little more. As I near the bus stop, I see a bus pass by me. I sigh. But I have calculated this. I have enough time to get to the meeting with time to spare. 

Everything is fine until I step into the F train. The train conductor mumbles something about the F train something but I don’t think anything was too out of the ordinary because no one was getting off. You see, no train conductor will ever be clear over the train’s loudspeaker. But if no one else was moving off of the train, it was a usual indicator of everything being pretty okay. I slip on my headphones and I immerse myself into the colorful world of  Candy Crush. The train stopped two times because there was another train in our way. I get flashbacks to Tuesday. It was going to be tight, but I could make it. I look over to read the little digital sign on the train that tells you what the next stop is. My stop was in three stops and so I count. One stop. Two stops. Three stops, it’s time for me to get off. But wait. This wasn’t where I was supposed to be. I was at Spring St. How. No. I was seven blocks away from my intended location. I looked around bewildered and hurriedly asked someone about this situation. Apparently! The F train was running on the E line! What!! I take the loss, and I book it down four blocks, but I'm speed-walking along the last three whilst waving a little white flag. 

Me: 0

MTA: 3


My mother drives me everywhere like the waa-waa little dependent baby that I am. 

Me: 1 

MTA: 3


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