Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Train that Time Forgot

Nothing special or unspecial about the start to my morning commute. LJ started waaing at around 5:45, I had him playing in his crib by 6:00, he got bored of that by 6:05, and I was out the door at 6:25.

I knew something was amiss when the conductor called every stop from 110th to 79th on the 1 train incorrectly. I mean, he wasn't that far off (like when the automated announcement ones go totally haywire and start spewing names of upper Bronx stops while you're between Union Square and 23rd St, sending most of the riders into a fear-induced panic...)-- he was merely listing stops in the wrong direction. Every time!!!
"Next stop 116th... I mean, 103rd!"
"Next stop 110th... I mean, 96th!"

It was clear (to me, anyway!) that the underground ozone had a few tricks up its sleeve this morning. I chose to ignore the harbinger and soldier on.

I snagged a B train at 59th, while the other suckers crammed into an A. Downtown B is always a winner-- ain't no stepchild to the D, like y'heard. Stepped off at W 4th for the last leg and my known nemesis, the F.

W 4th platform was somewhat jammed up, but not much vim or vigor. It's just too early for people to really bitch. That said, I watched three motherf#$king V Trains drag by over a 15 minute period with no F trains at all.

If the F is becoming my nemesis, the V is the F's putrid manservant-- utterly powerless but ultimately demoralizing. The V is the appendix of the great NYC Transit System, or possibly its left male nipple.

Anyway, I must have waited 20 or so minutes for a damn train that actually goes somewhere! The F finally shows up, pretty packed and pretty late. No fanfare, no explanations, and no matter... we were just going to be late today.

This boring little travelogue is trying to capture the mysterious transit phenomenon where no single moment defines your extended trip, but your lateness is undeniable. No one or thing to blame, but you just lost almost a half hour of your time when you could've been watching Seinfeld, or playing Scramble, or even screwing. We lose enough of our lives on these god-forsaken tunnelboxes-- do we have to lose even more in ways we can't even explain? Where was I exactly, and what was I doing? What should I do next time I fear something like this might happen again?

Take the 2 or 3 train, like I did this afternoon. Nice & smooth, except for the guy built like Albert Pujols that crammed into half a seat, splitting a pair of quiet tourists apart for the time being.

Departing time: 6:25 am
Arriving time: 7:45 am
Route: 1 to B to F
TOTAL TRIP: 1 hour 20 minutes


Joey Pants said...

Throw in a little anxiety and it's pure Kafka.

jcdoe said...

im loving these lee

jcdoe said...
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