Monday, February 8, 2010
On the way to work this morning I was shocked awake by Ms. Chatty. Occasionally this calamity happens on Monday mornings. Ms. Chatty's voice shrieks over the subway intercom, "Goooood morning beautiful, beautiful people!" The car gives a collective groan. People slump forward, squinch their eyes tighter against Ms. Chatty's artificial sunshine. A few jam their fingers in their ears. Ms. Chatty, sealed in her conductor's box, seems unaware of the angst she's up against. She continues brightly, "I hope everyone's doing well on this wonderful, wonderful morning [it's so cold the thermometer broke, I reply in my thoughts]. Hold onto your belongings. This is a full train, so please, beautiful people, keep your belongings to yourself so others can have the seat next to you. Give your seat to the elderly, children, pregnant ladies, and the generally infirm. And, as always, IF YOU SEE SOMETHING SAY SOMETHING." Her directives aren't changed by the sugar in her voice. They're still orders, and no one likes to be ordered around on Monday mornings in winter on the way to work. She tries to save herself with a grand finale, "Next stop: 168th St. Columbia Presbyterian Hospital. Have a lovely, lovely day beautiful, beautiful people. It's a wonderful, wonderful world and it's people like you who make this city great!" The doors open and the lucky ones escape to work. The doors have barely closed on the captive audience inside when Ms. Chatty starts up again. She is relentless. No one can get a wink of sleep, let alone eaves drop on conversations. I wonder what she's like when she goes home at night. After a day of sugary subway talk, does she implode in a ball of anger? Can anyone who spends their days underground really be that happy? If so, I would like to have whatever she's on. In the meantime, I prefer Mr. Speedy. He gives it to you straight, and leaves you to your thoughts on Monday mornings.