At first we thought it was some sort of lucky malfunction, but we’ve now confirmed that the maddening, recorded subway announcement, “We apologize for the unavoidable delay,” has been immeasurably improved by cutting the word “unavoidable.”
We’re not sure if this represents a change in the way New York City Transit views the universe. There was something depressingly fatalistic about the notion that every delay is unavoidable. It added metaphysical injury to the insult of being apologized to by a machine.
Mark Groce, a spokesman for New York City Transit, didn’t get into the metaphysics with us.
“We stopped using the word ‘unavoidable’ so that we can give out more information,” he said. “The conductors now explain what the delay is.”