Et sous mon ciel de faïence, je ne vois briller que les correspondences…” —Serge Gainsbourg

“What about that woman you wanted to punch in the face?”

This is a question a friend asked me, facetiously, not long ago, in reference to an episode in which a woman made me so mad, I wanted to punch her in the face. Yes, even yogis have these feelings! This woman (who was dating a friend of mine) and I were standing on a New York City subway platform, and somehow the conversation turned to the subway. When she declared the NYC system to be the greatest in the world, my ears pricked up.

“New York City’s subway system may be good, but it’s not the best. Paris’ métro system trounces New York’s in terms of modernity, cleanliness, and efficiency. I’ve seen people texting and emailing on their mobiles while underground in a métro tunnel, and I’ve never seen that in New York. It’s so wired.”

Her response? “Well, that’s not surprising since Paris’ tunnels are not as deep as New York’s.”

(See why I wanted to punch her in the face?)

“Abbesses in Montmartre is very far down in the ground, and the elevator to get to the street takes forever. I’d say it’s a pretty deep tunnel.”

(Never mind that the depth of tunnel argument has nothing whatsoever to do with demonstrating New York’s superiority over Paris.)

“The subway is 24-hour. The métro shuts down early,” she said.

I had to agree.

But she continued contradicting me, throwing out statements of feeling, rather fact, to defend her position. And then she rested her case on one sentence, a sentence that makes me super crazy (all Zizanie-style) because it is not based on reason. “ New York City is the greatest city in the world.”

My response? “Well, it’s definitely one of them… but not based on the subway, that’s for sure.”

France’s transports en commun are not perfect -- which big cities have systems that are? -- and the fact that they do not operate 24 hours a day is a huge inconvenience for those of us who commute at odd hours. So give NYC two extra points in that category because taking the subway home at two in the morning is still a better option than hunting down a Noctilien bus in Paris.

As a yogi, I am always asking myself “What is the lesson here?” and this story has me wondering if the lesson is to keep my mouth shut :).

Le poinçonneur des Lilas 1959 par jaydooy

Is there anything more elegant than Duke Ellington playing a tune about the A Train? No.

And just to show, you know, that I love all underground transport systems equally, a classic from The Jam.