Keith Collins might be an angry nerd, but he isn’t bitter toward love, just love found on a subway.
So many stories come out of Philadelphians’ SEPTA woes. But this Valentine’s Day, SEPTA must have been sick of hearing about the hammer attacks, stabbings over iPhones and transit police shootings. So, to lighten the mood a bit, they asked to hear your SEPTA love stories.
That’s right – the beloved people who run our fast, efficient public transportation system here in Philadelphia put together a Valentine’s Day contest. Since there are undoubtedly so many whose love first blossomed while packed like sardines into a hollow metal tube and engulfed by the lovely aroma of urine, this contest was necessary to sift through to find the very best love stories.
Appropriately, the contestants with the best stories will be stuffed into the Market-Frankford El and whisked through the most gorgeous section of West Philly on a subway train covered in the most awesome Valentine’s Day decorations imaginable. And I’m sure that at least for this occasion, the train will smell significantly less like armpits than usual. Afterward, the train will unload these lucky souls into a champagne reception, where the best of the best couples will be reveled and toasted. Because honestly, what could be more romantic than being toasted by a room full of SEPTA teamsters? Nothing I can think of.
In its infinite ingenuity, SEPTA named the contest “Moving Love Stories.” Get it? Because love stories are moving, and SEPTA vehicles move. Well, they move as long as the union isn’t on strike, and there isn’t a “snowpocalypse.” They move as long as all passengers have paid an ever-increasing amount of money for the off chance they’ll actually find a seat aboard a SEPTA vehicle. They move, but they might be a bit late.
All right, so maybe the contest should really have been named “Love Stories that are Unreliable and Expensive but Sometimes Moving.” Or how about, “Love Stories Dependent upon Whether the Transport Workers Union Local 234 Are Satisfied with Their Wages and Benefits”? But the best title I can think of to really capture the essence of this contest is, “Women Who’ve Met Men Aboard SEPTA and Weren’t Completely Creeped Out.”
Seriously, do we really need to be reassuring Philadelphians that the bus is an appropriate place to strike up a conversation with people they find attractive? Or stand awkwardly close to them on the subway? Or relentlessly hit on them on the Regional Rail? Sure, what everyone needs is a lot more insane people hoping to find love aboard SEPTA.
This really is the message being sent. They don’t want us to think about what SEPTA is in real life. They want us to think of it as the new coffee shop. They are saying, “Hey, if you’re having trouble finding a date for Valentine’s Day, now is the time to ride SEPTA. You might just meet someone who won’t try to sell you a pirated copy of Avatar.”
Keith Collins can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.