Saturday, June 28, 2014

The people ride in a hole in the ground.

When schlepping around in the subway, you find yourself thinking about things. Thinking, lots of thinking. You certainly don't want to do any talking. That would mean talking to people. Or yourself. If you talk to yourself too much, the police will provide company for you.

Anyway, summer is the 100% worst time of the year to ride in the New York City subway system. The trains themselves are no worse than at other seasons, I guess, but the platforms and passageways (like the one below) are damp, gooshy, sticky, and heated by the exhaust from the air-conditioned cars.

But if you must be down there, you can distract yourself by thinking about things.

Like the ads. When I was a young tot-about-town, each subway car would have dozens of different ads. These days you usually see half of each car sold out to one advertiser and the other half to another. So, one side of the car might have different ads for a cable TV show, while the other side is all ads for a food delivery service. Or one side might have ads for Omaha Steaks and the other for PETA. You never know.

Sometimes you will be in a car with many different ads, though. The other day I stood in one, and at a glance the means of happiness available to New Yorkers was revealed:

Ad for Ripemoff & Soom, Attorneys: Sue the *%!#*(&! to happiness

Ad for the revolutionary Teeth Bleachzap: Smile your way to happiness

Ad for the SEIU, demanding healthcare for all: Odd, since the first thing SEIU did when Obamacare was passed (after fighting for Obamacare) was demand out of Obamacare; you don't suppose they might have some weird agenda of their own that has nothing to do with anyone else's well-being, HMMMMM?

Essentially, except for one trade-school ad, all the ones readily visible were about forcing other people to give you things or finding abiding and meaningful happiness by looking better. I know it's the nature of advertising to suggest that you simultaneously (A) deserve the best because you're so YOU and (B) are a low-down piece of scum unless you use Product X, but it all seems so especially feral down there in the subway.

Maybe it's just me. Being hot, miserable, and underground just makes you think about where Dante got his ideas.

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