Dancing in the Street

Whirling Dervish

There is something strange about the air in Manhattan.  At least, that’s what I tell myself each day when I encounter the odd dancers. For the most part, they are tourists who appear during rush hour (8-10) when people are trying to get in their offices.  They are sauntering up and down the sidewalks, generally stopping at strategic locations bracketed by pay phones or newspaper vending machines on one side and the ubiquitous trash can on the other.  They create a dam to bring the flood of Manhatanite speed walkers almost to a halt as they stand in place and slowly perform pirouettes, their eyes heavenward, a slow motion version of the whirling dervish.  Oblivious to the gaggle of obviously annoyed business clad pedestrians, they start to gather up in these odd spinning clusters.  I have seen as many six of these individuals suffering from this strange malady in a group.  Usually they come out of it on their own, but sometimes it takes a rather assertive local to get their attention to bring them out of their trance.

I have talked to many of my friends about this phenomenon.  We can’t completely agree to what the cause is.  I have proffered up the idea that maybe they are disoriented due to the very tall buildings as they are from a rather flat place.  I’ve been told that this doesn’t really work, because they have seen people from Toronto or Chicago where the buildings are just as high.  One of my friends said that its caused by the rush of people going back and forth, the dancers become mesmerized by the motion and disassociate from their consciousness.  His justification for this has to do with the lack of these dancers at times when the sidewalks are not crowded with people.
I’ve been waiting to read a study in the New York Times where some starving professor gets a grant to study these oddities.  So far, I have never seen this article, so if you have some pull, give that starving professor a call.


The trip to the train station

Old Timey Trolley

I’ll post a picture when I get home tonight of the actual Trolleys, but for now, I’ll just talk about them.  Our “shuttle” to the train station transformed from the smallish white vans to full blown tour bus things shaped like Trolleys about 3 weeks ago.  I thought something was wrong when I was waiting for it to arrive, and this giant garish green looking thing pulled up.  If I hadn’t recognized the driver, I would have waited for it to drop off its load of tourists and the real shuttle to come along.  Anyway, that’s what I was waiting for today.

Well, the silly way we go back and forth to the Train station isn’t as fun as the people that I ride with.  There are two of the trolley things, and they come by generally every 10 minutes or so.  Obviously, since the schedule starts at 7, by 9 in the morning, they are NOT in that beautiful 20 minute rhythm that has them coming and going punctually.  Not only does the rush hour traffic try to detour around interstate blockages through the area, but invariably road construction starts around 8:30 and the police are diverting traffic to ajoining blocks.  This has been going on for the last year, so I am never surprised that I have to wait a few minutes.  Not so, my erstwhile cohabitators.  They love to complain and moan about how irregular the buses are and how with proper management they could fix the issue and get an extra 3 minutes to sleep.  I will interject here that I have heard my elderly relatives discuss iregularity in same terms but their cure is prune juice.
The funny thing about this is the amount of hurry everyone is in.  The trip to Manhattan is a minimum of 45 minutes.  The trains leave every 10 minutes or so.  If you plan, you can generally always arrive early to your destination, just taking into account that the maximum wait time for a trolley is 20 minutes.  There is no need to rush, just go to bed a half an hour early and WOW, you arrive at your destination with a minimum degree of fuss.  For the record, I live a 15 minutes walk from the train station, so based on the above statistics, if you always wanted your schedule perfectly, you could just walk to the station.

Commute to Manhattan

IMG 0077
I just like puppies
I have worked from home these past two days so I haven’t has the opportunity to interact with any of the interesting people between here and Manhattan. However, I figure I can talk about the commute. In general, it’s not too bad. 44 minutes from Stamford to Grand Central (GCT) according to the schedule. Generally speaking, it’s about that long. But finding seating, that’s almost impossible. What I find insane, though, is the number of people that HATE for anyone to sit next to them. They come up with all sorts of strange ways to try to reserve a second seat. The worst is the guy that I saw get on the train, and then pour water on the seat next to him so no one would sit in the “wet spot”. He did it so casually, like it was a total accident, but I had seen him sitting next to a wet seat before.

And they are totally CRAZY about noise. They will yell to the person next to them, you can hear the conversation from one end of the train to the other, but GOD FORBID you take a cell call and tell someone, “I am on the train, I will call you back.”. You get shushed and told that you have to go the “Vestibule” to take your phone call. I’ve even gone to the “Vestibule” to take a call, and been told, “You need to keep it down.”. This whilst they were having a conversation so loud, I could hear it in my teeth.

This preoccupation with noise is actually kind of funny to me. All of these people work in one of the noisiest cities in the world, surrounded by people, and whole group of them are complaining about noise. I am like, go live in the country if you want quiet. When people are around, they make noise, and if you are surrounded by people, you will hear noise. Just put in your headphones, listen to your own noise, and quit trying to regulate me. The same people, make an insane amount of noise trying to regulate others. Not only the shushing and complaining and whatnot, but also the visual noise, the nasty looks, the glaring, the gestures. Sometimes, it looks like some horrible choreographed modern dance for terminal insomniacs.


3am Nose Biting sessions

Someone will have to explain to me one day why puppy (Zorra) thinks its a good thing to wake me up by biting the end of my nose. Anyone who tells me that dogs can think would have to wonder if she has a death wish. I come so close to sending her into orbit each time she does it.

Ok, back to sleep. Her mom has finished feeding her and she is already out.

– David Tyler

Location:Henry St,Stamford,United States

Crazy dogs and Peaches

The DOGS are CRAZY!!  I bought some white peaches, not even ripe yet, from Fresh Direct today.  I got one out and peeled it (I don’t like the skin much), and had three dogs begging.  I thought they were just being silly, so I gave them each a piece.  They woofed the pieces down and came back for more. Anyway, for the record, Long Hair Chihuahuas eat peaches.  They don’t like bananas, though.  I gave Mimi a piece of banana and found it later with my toes under the sheets at the end of my bed.  You can imagine what I thought it was.  I won’t be giving her bananas again anytime soon.

– David Tyler

Location:Henry St,Stamford,United States

Door Guardians

I want to steadily click this!

These are the strangest people I met when I first came to New York. It really doesn’t matter how many seats are on the train in question. There could be none, it could be empty, it doesn’t matter. They just stand there, on each side of the door way. Not only do they make everyone have to go single file on and off the train, but they seem to be as a group, anti-social. They don’t like to make eye-contact, just stand there staring straight ahead, not even at each other. (They seem to come in pairs.). The door guardians totally impede the flow of people on and off the train, especially at rush hour. You have to combine this with the self-entitled old retired ladies that line up directly in front of the door and will not move until they can get on the train and rush to the nearest seat. It’s an impasse, evil old lady versus the door guardians.

There are other strange people on the train at rush hour too. Backpackers and people with double wide multiple baby strollers do not make a whole lot of sense either. The backpackers come in pairs, usually male and female (might be part of their mating ritual), and perform pirouettes in the center of the train generally knocking down others without backpacks. The baby stroller types incessantly apologize for blocking doors or rolling over people’s feet. They make you think they just get on the train for the express purpose of being a nuisance. They can’t get up and down the stairs without help and never seem to use the elevators. Often times, the “babies” are fully ambulatory and don’t need the rolling monstrosities of aluminum tubes, plastic wheels, and brightly colored fabric. They can never collapse, regardless of how they were made, as they are always full of random stuff that the caretaker believes that they need to fill it up with, babies not included.

– David Tyler

Location:New York