F'ing train

I am recently moved (I had pictures up for a while but they died along with the old server, which no one is interested in hearing about anymore), and while the new pad is the same distance from the Borough Hall/Court St. station as the old place, my closest station is now the Bergen stop on the F. It's right around the corner. I am not happy about that.

Now, okay, my new place is exactly the same distance from the normal trains (2/3/4/5/R/M [well, the M is not normal]) as it used to be, so I really should be indifferent. But the F station around the corner is just so alluring, so ostensibly convenient, that I really can't leave well enough alone. I have reached a point in my life where I actively have to consider how I can get places on the F train, and as I mentioned, I am not happy about that.

This has been my life-long conception of the F: it is a bad train, and taking one's own life is a viable (and cheaper, given the Metrocard increases) alternative to riding it. This is what I think now that I have started riding the F: this is a bad train, and I want to kill myself.

It's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes the F so eldritch. The cars are definitely part of it; they are clearly the oldest active (and I use the word "active" lightly) subway cars on any line, and they are uniformly dimly lit, brown interiored, concave-doored (try leaning against them) monstrosities. When the price of faux-wood paneling skyrocketed and the amateur porn industry had to stop building sets that looked like creepy basements and rec rooms from the '70s, they segued to shooting scenes on the F. The ambiance is, if anything, more in keeping with the amateur porn aesthetic, and Lord knows that while the cameras might elicit some double-takes, the actual action would not--and I speak from personal experience here (really!).

In addition to the state of the cars, the trip that the F train provides is worthy of scorn. It starts out in Coney Island, which means I can now make it back to visit my parents with considerable ease (yay?), but from there it makes the most excrutiating series of local stops imagineable, in all sorts of neighborhoods that don't even exist above ground (Fort Hamilton Parkway? Park Slope? Right.) except as excuses to make my trips longer than they have to be. Then you get to Manhattan and have to deal with the nonsense of the Lower East Side cluster of stops, which really make sense because I'm sure there are scads of hipsters who are eager to... ride a couple more stops in Manhattan and then go to Queens. I am not going to talk about the Queens leg of the F, because some things are better left unexperienced. Many times the F train will simply decide that Kings Highway will be its last stop.

When heading back from the midtown office today, against all the better judgment you'd think I'd have given my feelings, I walked out
of my way to Rockefeller Center and hopped aboard the F train. It wasn't crowded, as who would ride the F if they didn't have to, and
there were enough functioning light bulbs to allow me to finish up this week's New Yorker. When we get to 34th St. the conductor
advises everyone to get on the B express train that was across the platform, as "there is totally another F train right ahead of us and
you have a good chance of catching it at W4th St. if you take the express." Compliant, I shuffled across the platform and then
disembarked at W4th St., waiting for the promised F train. An unmarked train pulled up and I boarded, until at the last second I realized
it was a V (I'm not even sure that the V is technically a train) and quickly jumped off. The next F to arrive brought
with it the same conductor who encouraged the original transfer; I turned the volume up on my iPod and wondered whether anyone's ever garrotted themselves with headphone cords.

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