I just cracked up when I saw this post over at Scott Adams blog (the guy that does the Dilbert cartoons).
Just an excerpt:
To ride the subway, you must purchase a card with a magnetic strip. You learn this by observing other people “in the know” swiping their cards as they enter the turnstile. There are many options for what type of card you might want for particular purposes, and no apparent posted instructions. Luckily, you can ask for guidance from a helpful person who is behind thick glass. This transaction involves mumbling, rushing, condescension, the supposition that you are a moron, much evidence to support that assumption, and eventually the exchange of money for a little card that may or may not have some application for riding the subway.
It's possibly the worst designed system in the world. I experienced pretty much all of what Scott is talking about when I first moved to NY.
I even get lost after 4 years of using it! And I have been with 'natives' who have managed to get lost.
If you're new to the city, NY has this way of making you feel you're the butt of some cruel joke. I think Scott is just finding this out.