This week, I spent lot of time riding the train between New Jersey and New York. It went like this:
Monday, 6:30 a.m. – catch the morning express into Penn Station, then a cab (for only 10 blocks) to attend a conference for work: 3.5 days of sessions on healthcare compliance law. At once fascinating and tedious.
Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. – walk the 10 blocks down to Penn Station to jump on the afternoon express back to NJ to make Jacob’s band concert.
Wednesday, 9:17 p.m. – make it to the platform at the Jersey station exactly one minute before the evening express departs for Penn Station, followed by a 16 block walk back to the hotel.
Thursday, 12:37 p.m. – As I find an empty seat on the express back to Jersey, the conductor announces we are on time.
Thursday, 12:43 p.m. – The conductor announces that only one tunnel is open on this side of Penn Station, and our train is number 3 in the queue.
Thursday, 12:53 p.m. – The conductor is still apologizing for the delay.
Thursday, 1:01 p.m. – The conductor announces a technical issue with the train.
Thursday, 1:15 p.m. – The conductor walks through the train, directing all passengers to disembark (?) and move from Track 4 to Track 9. A train is waiting for us there, he assures us.
Thursday, 1:18 p.m. – Bottleneck at the entrance to Track 9. Apparently, the train that was waiting for us decided to leave anyway.
Thursday, 1:20 p.m. – A NJ Transit official tells us to go down to Track 9 – another train is there, waiting to take us to New Jersey.
Thursday, 1:21 p.m. – The conductor of the waiting train closes and locks the doors without letting us on, yelling through the closed door that the train is “going to the yard.”
Thursday, 1:23 p.m. – We are directed back to the waiting area, where we are told to catch the 1:37 p.m. train back to Jersey.
Thursday, 1:25 p.m. – We are waiting impatiently for the track listing to show on the screen. The 1:37 is listed as ON TIME. We are cautiously optimistic. Except for that one guy who might possibly be homeless – he has been yelling at every NJ Transit official he can find, saying all the things the rest of us are thinking. I silently ask the universe to bless this man for venting my frustration for me.
Thursday, 1:31 p.m. – Still waiting for the track listing.
Thursday, 1:32 p.m. – Track 14! Track 14! Mad rush.
Thursday, 1:34 p.m. – 3 minutes to departure. The entire crowd bottlenecks again on the platform. The doors to the 1:37 are not open. NOT. OPEN. I believe I see someone stamp and dig his foot like a bull.
Thursday, 1:35 p.m. – The doors open. Mad rush to find seats.
Thursday, 1:38 p.m. – The train is moving. MOVING.
I have never been so happy to get home.