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July 2010 Volume 12 , Issue 7 submit to us!

by Charles Coleman -- Contributing Author [Email This Story]

In an effort to enhance the transit experience and thereby increase ridership the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York City has announced that it will create The Subway University. Courses will be offered in subway theory and practice. Sample courses are:

The Turnstile and You

This class examines the Interpersonal interaction between that menacing yellow stick and your aura. Why does that jaundiced interloper conjure up memories of adolescent conflict with authority figures? Should you seek therapy, if so, with whom, a psychologist or a subway conductor?

Subway Announcements-Just Do What Do They Really Mean

Announcements analyzed include the popular, "We are being held by supervision". Is this similar to high school detention? Did we do something wrong? Were we talking in class? Or, on the other hand, is it an expression of affection? Is supervision hugging us? Will they remember us on Valentine's Day, on our birthday, on Christmas or is this just a one trip stand? What about the familiar, "We have congestion up ahead"? Just what is causing the congestion? Is there another train, a herd of elk, a conductor with respiratory problems?


Is there any logic to the changes that occur during weekend construction? Why reroute the R train over the Manhattan Bridge? Why not reroute it over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge or the Golden Gate Bridge? If the F train is rerouted over the A line, does the A train suffer existentially?

Accounting 101

Topics include what to do if you find that you are significantly short in your budget. What to do if you discover significant funds that were previously unaccounted for after you've just asked for millions to cover the alleged deficit. (Note students taking this course are strongly advised to concurrently enroll in Public Relations 101. PR 101 will cover what to say when you find that you had the funds you asked for all along.)

Wildlife Hygiene

The class's focus is on the care and feeding of the native species that inhabit the subway. Topics include the nutritional and exercise regimen of pigeons and rats. Do they thrive on Twinkies or whole wheat bread? Is yoga the secret to keeping a pigeon's head rhythmically bobbing? Is it Lipitor or all that high speed scampering around that helps rats maintain proper cholesterol levels? For both species, would sunglasses help reduce the glare of train headlights?

If You See Something, Say Something

Aside from the obvious unattended knapsack, when should you say something if you see something and to whom should you say it? For example, if you see someone with purple hair should you alert your fellow passengers? Should you point it out to the person whose head it is accessorizing? Topics include unusual hairstyles, unusual clothing and unusual children. Students will receive training in identification of and proper etiquette in advising others of their discoveries.

Musicology 101

Students will attempt to recognize songs, ravings and related noise through the portions that transcend individual headphones. Course 201 for advanced students will focus on identification by observing head bobbing, weaving, etc. Course 301 will concentrate on ascertainment by charting and miming the gesticulation of the entire body.

Religion on the Train

This is a survey of various techniques enabling religious interaction with your fellow passengers/ministers. Special emphasis is placed on situations where you are alone or face to face with another individual who is screaming at you that Jesus is coming. Should you inquire if He'll be on the next train? Maybe He's delayed due to congestion? Further, for that matter, does Jesus use a Pay-Per-Ride or Unlimited MetroCard?

MetroCard 101

In this course you will learn how to distinguish the MetroCard from credit cards, library cards, Social Security cards, playing cards, etc. The course will also cover design and color scheme of the MetroCard, alternate uses of the card, such as nail cleaning and proper storage of used cards.

Special Laboratory/Second Avenue Subway

The SAS (not to be confused with the Scandinavian airline) is, like the trains most passengers wait for when they're in a rush, quite a ways off with a completion date of 2015. This being the case, students will be asked to design and implement new features for the SAS. There are several areas of potential exploration. One will be the development of the bar car. Problems surveyed include whether both wine and beer should be included and, if so, should they be accompanied by a complimentary brown bag? Additionally, should there be a cafeteria car with little old ladies adorned with hairnets serving lumpy mashed potatoes, peas that belong in a shooter and leatherized meatloaf? Students will also be asked to develop GPS systems for the SAS, just in case.

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Features -- July 2010 -- Mid Month Issue