Elevator Buttons

I was recently visiting the home of my arch-nemesis Dr. H -- there to plant destructive ideas -- and as I was leaving I noticed the elevator in his building had a display telling me exactly what floor each elevator was on. So while it was still moderately annoying having to wait for the elevator, I found my blood pressure remained fixed and dilated because I at least knew when the next elevator would be stopping on my floor. Yes, if this suggests to you that I'm a controlling freak, I'd say you're right about at least one thing: you do hate yourself.

Which brings me to the point at hand: why can't all public modes of transportation deliver information that will keep my blood pressure from shooting through my eyelids? The monorail at Newark Airport tells me down to the second when the next train will arrive! If you miss a bus or train in New York City, you have several choices: 1) patiently wait for the next to arrive; 2) write a screenplay; 3) pace back and forth until you can't take it any more and punch the nearest wall as an expression of your rage; 4) invent a time machine, build it and then transport yourself forward in time to the moment the next train arrives; 5) leap on to the train tracks and await your demise (but bring a novel and something to eat); 6) perfect the cello.

I remember reading in a New Yorker article a year or so ago that the man who "saved" the New York City subways in the 80s was going to London to help them with their mess. I can't believe that man got another job! Saved? The tracks are perpetually under construction, there is little rhyme or reason to the work (the G line tracks have been under construction for the entire 16 years I've lived in Greenpoint) and clearly no one cares about the passengers. There are many, many other problems with the subway and bus systems, but a neon sign declaring the innumerable delays would at least allow passengers to attempt to make productive plans during delays, like walking to work or having a picnic.

Uncle Abe was visiting my apartment last week to use the toilet and when I mentioned all this to him he said, "Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish." And even though it appears John Quincy Adams stole this notion from my Uncle I have to admit: they're both right. But who cares about being right. I want to live in a world as pristine as the one inside my head, where I never have to wait for anything, except pop culture references. I like it when elevators and trains talk to me, and I have too much time on my hands for my own obsessions anyway -- I have a tendency to carry on conversations with my imaginary selves, and most of them have ill tempers, bad manners and terrible posture. So I could really, really use someone else to talk to while I wait. If nothing is done, I'm afraid my own tenuous psyche will split into several irreparable pieces. And we don't want that, do we?