Commuter Chaos on the Metro-North Akin to the Titanic (Or Not)

Because I live in the Northeast and therefore operate under the assumption that the world revolves around the tiny little bubble that is the tri-state area, I’d like to go ahead and assume you are aware of the train situation going on between Connecticut and New York City right now.

But if my assumption is wrong and you actually are unaware, then:

  1. Can we trade lives? I’d love to not have to be in a tumultuous, codependent, and borderline abusive relationship with care about the Metro-North Railroad for once in my adult life.
  2. All you really need to know is that there was like… an issue. Or something. I actually don’t really know what the situation is myself; all I know is that there are very few trains running.

Though I stayed home for two out of the first three days of “COMMUTER CHAOS,” I did go into the city last Thursday. And needless to say, it was a bit of an odyssey.

After learning via the news that the early rush hour trains were a disaster, I decided to adopt a wait-until-the-rush-is-over-and-just-take-a-later-train strategy. (My need for sleep, coffee, a quick workout, some “me time,” and a bagel also factored into this decision, but that’s neither here nor there.)

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You can’t really tell here, but even the ticket machine was freaking out.

So. I got to the station at about nine in the morning, and y’all—it was bad. There were news crews and reporters lurking around every corner. People were angry and crazy and yelling at Metro-North employees with things like, “But I pay three hundred dollars a month to ride on this Godforsaken railroad!” and, “Please sir, can you just help me?”

It was all very Titanic.

Frankly, I was surprised when the Metro-North workers didn’t jump up on railings to scream “WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST, I SAY!” while a string quartet cried in the corner and Kate Winslet jumped a lifeboat because she was a total idiot in love. It’s a good thing this wasn’t actually the case, though, because if it was then I can’t say for sure that I wouldn’t have “pulled a Billy Zane” and grabbed the nearest orphan while jumping to the front of the line to the next Grand Central express train and demanding, “Let me in. I’M ALL SHE HAS!” — and I’m pretty sure that’d be really damaging to my karmic inventory.

Anyway. In the midst of all this drama, I heard through the grapevine (because the schedule screens were broken, because of course) that there was a train to the city leaving soon from Track 4, so I promptly made my way to the platform and stood as close to the edge as possible, because I’m that guy.

As I waited, I noticed an NBC reporter bouncing around and unsuccessfully trying to get various commuters to talk to him as they went all Christina-Aguilera-in-“Beautiful”-DON’T-LOOK-AT-ME on him and cowered into themselves. Then my eyes met with his and he declared to the crowd, “This guy looks like he wants to talk!” and I proceeded to totally prove him right.

I’m a little fuzzy on the exact exchange, but here’s how my memory of it goes:

  • Reporter: How angry are you with the MTA? Isn’t this ridiculous? The trains could be down for three weeks! Are you infuriated?
  • Nic: Um… I’m optimistic! Wait. Should I be looking at you? Or directly at the camera? Or, like, down? OR UP? AM I DOING THIS RIGHT?
  • Reporter: Just look here. [He points at a thing.] You’re optimistic, really? How is that possible? Aren’t you late to work? You must be very frustrated.
  • Nic: Well, yeah. I’m going to be late… I’ll be happy if I make it in by noon. But really I think we all just have to deal, you know? It could be worse.
  • Reporter: Thank you. [Unspoken: You and your lack of outrage bore me.]

When I finally got to work – two hours late, mind you – I marched in confidently, convinced of the fact that I was the only Connecticut commuter to brave the wild and actually attempt to come in that day. But then I went to the desk of the first commuting coworker I could think of, and he was just like, calmly typing away on his computer.

“Oh, it wasn’t so bad,” he said to me after I asked him what his deal was. “I left at six this morning and drove to White Plains, parked at an obscure lot, walked ten minutes to the station, and took the Harlem line to Grand Central. In fact, I got here early. How about you?”

I stuck twenty pins into my mental voodoo doll of him and responded, “IT WAS MADNESS. IT WAS BASICALLY THE TITANIC!” and then I went all, Where the hell were these high-strung emotions when the reporter was interviewing me? on myself, and then I had a coffee and quickly became optimistic again. Because I realized that the Titanic was actually a legitimate tragedy, and the Metro-North is just an a-hole.

I think that’s called perspective?

P.S. My interview ended up airing on the five o’clock news, but sadly, I missed it. I did talk to a few people who saw it, though, and they confirmed that I didn’t have a double chin, so I’m going to consider the whole endeavor a win.

 

 

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And Then I Fell in Love with Two Strangers at the Same Time and It Was This Whole Thing

So the other day on my commute into the city for work, I was kind of involved in a sordid ménage à trois.

It started off innocently enough, with a single Twitter-documented romance:

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And then it quickly became a soap opera. But I’m getting ahead of myself, so allow me to backtrack for just a moment.

After I sent that last tweet, I quickly assigned my new love interest an imaginary identity in which:

  • he moved to Connecticut from somewhere in Ireland when he was a child,
  • eventually got his MBA at Columbia,
  • now works in finance,
  • and, while on our train ride together, was en route to the city for a job interview with a company that’s trying to schmooze him into leaving his current six-figure gig,

because he’s that sought-after.

As his book rested on my knee, I may or may not have had a (totally awake) dream sequence involving us going into the train bathroom together.

This proved to be a big mistake, because:

  1. it was really just wrong on a number of levels, and
  2. those bathrooms are tiny and disgusting, so
  3. there’s a good chance he would have dropped his inhaler into the toilet while we were consummating our relationship,
  4. and then the fantasy turned into a nightmare when it ended with him having a post-train-sex asthma attack and was forced to save himself with a disgusting train-passenger-waste-infected inhaler, and
  5. it was all my fault.

Sometime around #4 is when I realized that I really need to save me from myself. (Are post-train-sex asthma attacks even a thing? If you’ve ever dated someone with asthma, please share your thoughts below, as I’d like to be prepared for what my future holds with Irish Job Seeker.)

Anyway. What I didn’t mention in the above tweets is that I was actually sitting in the middle of Irish Job Seeker and another suited businessman of about thirty whom I will refer to as Sexy Elbow Man, because he happened to fall asleep with his elbow digging into my left side — and that’s when I fell in love with him too — and I think I need to stop telling this story right now, because I can’t decide if it’s making me look like the creepiest person ever or just the most desperate (I think creepiest is winning so far, but not by much), but it’s definitely not making me look like someone who should be allowed to exist in society unmonitored.

Regardless, I think you’ll agree that between Irish Job Seeker’s book on my knee and Sexy Elbow Man’s elbow in my side, the whole thing was pretty much an intense train-threesome.

Who knew I was into that?

P.S. While I’d like to think these men kept touching me because I’m irresistible, my low self-esteem is inclined to believe that it’s probably more so because my fatness takes up so much space that they simply couldn’t make a single move without inadvertently making contact with some body part of mine. But whatever, I’ll take what I can get at this point.

P.P.S. Judging from that last sentence, it looks like most desperate is the winner!

P.P.P.S. “Winner” is definitely not the right word. There are clearly no winners in this blog post.

P.P.P.P.S. …except for Irish Job Seeker. He’s obviously at a high point in both his personal life and career, having train-threesomes and being schmoozed by competing employers and all. He is a winner.

P.P.P.P.P.S. I just remembered about the post-train-sex asthma attack, and we’re back to having no winners.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. I’m finally done.

 

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