September 30, 2008

A(nother) Train Story, or - A Tale About Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome Incurred on Today's Trip via NJ Transit

Today I spent much of the day thinking about The Lost Year.  

Or more specifically:
What on this green Earth could have possibly possessed me to commute FOUR HOURS every single day for almost a year on a completely horrendous train line filled with the most obnoxious specimens of human nature ever to breathe air?

Some highlights to incite pity from the masses:

9:05 a.m. - Board train.

9:10 a.m. - A bevy of six guffawing senior citizens sit behind me and proceed to screech and scream their way to Newark.  Apparently, their already-poor hearing must subsequently result in my hearing loss.  

10:25 a.m. - I transfer trains in Newark and stand in the vestibule between cars.  

10:27 a.m. - I am joined by a middle-aged tattooed couple that clearly had a bit too much experience with brain-altering substances in their youth.  (And probably in the present day.)  Hence their heavily delayed speech patterns.  They slur their way to Secaucus, peppering every other sentence with a drawn out "Maaaannnn," and then gallop off into a drug-addled sunrise.

10:57 a.m. - The conductor makes the following announcement:  "If you are traveling with small children, the elderly, or the intoxicated, please take them by the hand and watch the gap between the train and the platform."  Laughter ensues.  I'm grateful for this man's early morning train humor.  
11:00 a.m. - Arrive at New York Penn.  Walk 30 blocks.

12:00 p.m. - Interview (aka point of trip)

12:30 p.m. - Meet old coworkers for lunch.

1:30 p.m. - Subway back to Penn Station.  Wait for train.  Wait.  Wait.

2:07 p.m. - Board train.

2:30 p.m. -  Arrive in Newark.  Wait for train.  Wait.  Wait.  Read.  Read.  Wait.  Board train.  Wait.  Wait.

3:06 p.m. - Train leaves.

3:25 p.m. - I determine that the "woman" sitting across from me is almost assuredly a man in drag.

3:35 p.m. - I'm 98% percent sure that one of the many screaming children on the train experiences some gastrointestinal distress, the result of which wafts throughout the train car for innumerable minutes.

3:37 p.m. - Finish book.  Bored.  Jittery.  Anxious.  Bored.

3:45 p.m. - Mother:  Kids, quiet down or they're going to kick us off.
Kid:  How can they kick us off?  The window isn't even open!
Mother:  Honey, we don't need to see your underwear.
Kid:  But what's so wrong with it?  

3:48 p.m. - Conductor announces that we are being held at a stop signal.  We wait.  Again.

4:30 p.m. - Finally arrive home, twenty five minutes late.

Just another day in commuting hell.  

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