I have an extremely difficult commute to work every morning. Once I describe my process to you, tears will uncontrollably cascade out of your eyes upon learninghow taxing my daily routine is:
1. I get out of bed at the crack of dawn - usually 10:30 a.m. Don't ask me how.
2. I walk to my office, which is incredibly far away. It's down the hall from my bedroom. Each step feels like I'm climbing Mount Everest.
3. I open up my laptop. I have a bum right shoulder, so I either have to go through pain to do this, or I have to use my left hand. As a right-handed individual, this is extremely strenuous.
4. I make the long trek back to my bedroom and into the master bathroom.
5. I brush my teeth with my medicated toothpaste, and then I take a piss. A nice reprieve from the journey I've endured thus far.
6. I make my way back to my office. Completely exhausted, I plop down on my chair and begin typing.
That, my friends, is what I have to persevere through every single day. I don't know how I do it, but I've somehow survived seven years of running this Web site as a full-time gig. People I know closely said I couldn't even do it for seven weeks, but here I am, still going strong.
I'll wait while you grab a tissue and wipe the tears from your eyes.
All good? Awesome. Just keep your tissue handy because I need to tell you about my girlfriend's commute. Believe it or not, but it's even more difficult than mine. I know, I know, it sounds impossible, but it's true. Believe me. I know this because it's something I endured myself before I began running this Web site as my full-time job in February 2007.
You see, I used to work at a mortgage company downtown. I'll have to tell you my countless stories from this job later. I had two utterly moronic bosses; one was a douche bag who happened to be completely incompetent - the company folded months after I was let go - while the other locked himself in his office and looked at porn the entire time. The worst part about the job, however, was the daily commute. This was actually quite difficult because I had to take the train in and out of the city. It was a 40-minute ride each way, and it was on Septa, an utter abomination of a mass-transportation service.
I've discussed Septa before. Here's the quick breakdown from my Bad Omens Monday entry:
Incredibly lazy employees
The constantly late and delayed trains/buses
The hobos who harass you for change during the day at the train stations.
The awful train hours that force people to drive home, which promotes drunk driving.
The loathsome drunks and crack addicts who sit next to you and drool all over you during train and bus rides.
The station bathrooms that reek of feces and vomit.
Imagine having to deal with that every day. It could really make someone insane after a while. That, or completely brain-dead, as I've learned from driving my girlfriend to the train station each morning.
The train station is about an 8-minute walk from my house, but the drive over is completely painful - and I'm not being facetious this time. The traffic near the intersection of the train station is so brutal that sometimes it's faster to just walk there. But that's not the worst part. That would be the mindless zombies roaming around.
I'm not exaggerating when I say this, but people walking to and from the train resemble mindless automatons. They have no concept of where they're walking, or what they have to avoid; they just walk from Point A to Point B, much like any zombie in a movie/show moving on from Victim A to Victim B. You don't know how many people I've nearly hit while exiting the parking lot of the train station. These drones just drift forward with no concept that I just nearly ended their life. I've honked and yelled angrily out my window, but to no avail; they just obliviously keep marching onward.
I'll never forget this one time. I was trying to back out of my parking spot when I slammed my breaks because I almost collided with some fat woman with curly hair, who was smoking a cigarette. She was blocking my path, so I couldn't back out. I honked my horn, but she continued to smoke, having zero concept of what was going on around her. I had to wait a couple of minutes until she finished her cigarette before I could move.
I no longer drive my girlfriend to the train station. Not because the train zombies forced me to quit, but because we realized that she can just keep her car in the parking lot.
You see, there's a sign in the parking lot that has a phone number for Septa where you can reserve/buy spaces. Under this sign, there are numbered boxes corresponding to a number of each space in the lot. Naturally, we both assumed that you called to buy a space, and then you were given something to access one of these boxes, where you could put a sticker or something on your car so that you could park in the lot.
Makes sense, right? Because the lot was always full, we assumed that it was impossible to rent a space, so we just never tried.
Well, one day, my girlfriend went to the ticket office at the station and asked the guy if any spots were available. Here's what he said:
"We don't rent out spaces anymore. You can just park anywhere you want."
What!? Then why the f*** do you still have that sign up!? I knew Septa workers were lazy and incompetent, but come on!
So, my girlfriend now leaves a few minutes early and manages to snag a parking space in this lot. Unfortunately, this means that she has to avoid the train zombies on her own now. She also has to deal with other idiots on the train, including...
1. The Bloods Member
My girlfriend and I observed an accident on one of the final days in which I drove her to the train station. We didn't actually see it happen, but two cars clearly collided with each other, and the two drivers - one black, one white - were standing in front of their cars and talking to each other.
I looked at them and said, "That white guy is Russian because he has a cheesy leather jacket and slicked-back hair like he's from the 70s."
My girlfriend looked at them and said, "That black guy is a member of the Bloods."
Me: Bloods? How do you know?
Girlfriend: Look at the red handkerchief he has hanging out of his pocket. That means he's with the Bloods.
Me: What if he gets the sniffles a lot and he needs his handkerchief handy at all times?
Girlfriend: No, trust me, no black guy leaves a red handkerchief hanging out like that unless he's with the Bloods. You have to show your gang colors.
Sure enough, when I drove back home after dropping her off, I looked at the two guys again, and I noticed that the handkerchief was blatantly hanging from his pocket, as if he was showing off. That meant one of two things: One, he was either heterosexually challenged - not that there's anything wrong with that - and he wanted to show off his pretty handkerchief so that another heterosexually challenged man would drag him to an alley and boink him up the buttocks. Or two, he was, in fact, a member of the Bloods.
Let's go over a quick lesson, for those of you from the rural part of America and not familiar with the Bloods and the Crips. There are two distinct differences between the Bloods and the Crips. The first is that the Bloods wear red colors, while the Crips wear blue colors. The second is that the Bloods sit in a circle during meetings and jerk off to Justin Bieber music videos, while the Crips also sit in a circle and rub each other's nipples during Justin Bieber music videos. I grew up on the mean streets of Philly, so that's how I know this.
Anyway, the war between the Bloods and the Crips is based entirely on the differences of the Justin Bieber music video philosophies. The Bloods want to eliminate the Crips because they don't circle-jerk, while the Crips wish to destroy the Bloods because they don't touch nipples. With that in mind, you might be wondering why any of these gang members would display their colors when there could be multiple members of the other faction around. Suppose, for instance, that the black guy with the red handkerchief walked to the train station and found himself standing in front of three gentlemen wearing blue handkerchiefs. He'd be screwed, right? So, why would he sport his colors in such unfamiliar territory?
The reason is simple: The enjoyment of circle-jerking to Justin Bieber videos is worth the price of death for these Bloods members, so they're willing to risk it. Using the previous scenario, what if the black guy with the red handkerchiefs ran into other men with red handkerchiefs? All they'd need is a DVD player and a Justin Bieber DVD, and they could pleasure each other all night long.
Again, I grew up in the mean streets of Philly, so that's how I know all of this.
2. The Stalker
My girlfriend texted me one afternoon and wrote this:
"So this morning I was kind of stalked by this convicted felon at the train station."
She later explained that she was approached by a guy who had to go to court. He was a normal-looking white guy around 30. Unprompted, he told her how pretty she looked, and then he sat down next to her and began reading off the Metro newspaper. He'd ask her things like, "Did you know that some woman was abducted in broad daylight yesterday?" My girlfriend looked at the newspaper and saw that he had the paper open to the page containing that article.
He proceeded to do this with all of the other articles in the newspaper, and then he began making stuff up.
"Did you know that they just launched a space shuttle and that the Virgin Mobile guy went up into space on a spaceship, and he flew to Mars with a whole bunch of other people and they explored the planet?"
My girlfriend looked at him quizzically and wanted to say, "they didn't do that yet, you idiot," but she thought it might be better not to contradict a convicted felon.
This guy then tried to get personal...
Stalker: So, are you from around here?
Girlfriend: No, I live in the suburbs, but my boyfriend lives across the street from this station.
Stalker: Well, if you didn't have a boyfriend, and if I didn't have a wife, you and me could be a thing. We're really clicking!
A wife? This guy has a wife? Who the hell would marry this bozo? And what in the world made him think that things were clicking between him and my girlfriend? He must be certifiably insane.
That, or sitting down next to women you barely know and reading them truthful and/or fabricated stories off newspapers is a thing. Single guys, take note.
3. The Rioters
You'll be utterly shocked by this, but there was an issue with the Septa train one day. It completely stopped halfway to the city, and it wouldn't move for the longest time. My girlfriend was consequently late to work, but she couldn't do anything about it.
An hour passed, yet they still weren't moving. Finally, an illiterate Septa worker got on the train and made an announcement:
"We havin' electricals problems, and we can't move da train. Another train comin' though, and it gonna take half the people from dis train onto that train. Now, let's start from da back of da train and take the people from round there."
People were enraged.
"I'm late for a meeting!" one man shouted.
"I'm late for an exam!" a girl yelled.
"I have to be in court!" a married, creepy individual shrieked.
People began screaming and cursing at each other, all wanting to be part of the first exodus off their inoperable train.
"Why do the people at the back of the train get to go off first!?" someone complained. Others began standing and shouting expletives at the Septa worker. Some, including Rosa Parks, even tried to sneak toward the back. It was complete mayhem, and my girlfriend was worried that Septa was going to have a riot on its hands.
And then the train began moving.
"Look like da train got fix!" the Septa worker exclaimed.
Really? After all that? I love how this incompetent buffoon nearly sparked a riot for absolutely no reason.
And then the train stopped again. For good this time. Taking people from the front this time - should've stayed in the front, Rosa - they made the passengers walk across rocks to board the other train.
I don't know if the man got to his meeting, the girl was able to take her exam, and the married individual was able to hit on girls in court. If they did get to their destinations, they were late, just like my girlfriend was.
At least they could all just blame Septa, and everyone would understand the hardship they just endured.