Friday, September 21, 2007

Yesterday, My Train Seemed To Be So Far Away

Yesterday I actually managed to catch the 8:01 to Brooklyn for the first time this week.

I should have missed it, and was settling down to listen to some mindless thing on the radio1 when I became aware that the crowd on the platform (which I could just see) was too big and too far west to be the crowd for my train, and a wild hope surged in my breast.

Yes, once again the 7:55 to Penn Station was late and had held up things nicely so I could actually catch the train I wanted.

Of course, it wouldn't be the LIRR if they didn't take a mild inconvenience (admitedly to my advantage that day) and turn it into a debacle. The train was almost 25 minutes late by the time it wheezed into the station.

The kid on the tannoy kept morale at the requisite levels during the wait by giving us infuriating updates, in which he laboriously calculated the exact lateness of the trains2 but carefully avoided giving us any hint of how much longer the delays would last. This is for customer convenience.

Finally the 7:55 rolled in. Since it was disabled somewhere in the region of three inches from its starting point, it had already boarded one and a half times it's capacity of passengers due to the preponderance of commuters waiting at the stations east of Wyandanch. Many hardy souls decided to use it anyway, and it was with mixed concern3 and amusement that we who waited for the next one watched the friendly kicking, biting and swearing of the commuters once they clawed their way into a carriage.

The trains behind the 7:55 were, of course, late, but not intentionally. They were waiting so closely behind the Train of Delayment and Misery that they could have easily given it a much-needed push. Unfortunately, the commuters left on the platform didn't have much faith in the 8:17, the train behind my own beloved 8:01, so they pushed, clawed, kicked and bit their way on board the Brooklyn train, showing all the manners of a street riot in progress.

One ruthless, rowdy and foul-mouthed jackass even had the nerve to challenge me for my seat. I soon took charge of the situation though, repelled the cursing swine and claimed my seat. In this I was assisted by the people in the adjacent seats, who had absolutely no wish to share that person's space. No-one wants to run the risk of being thrown-up on, and if you ask me the LIRR should ban women in their third trimester from using peak trains.

What a wonderful start to the day

  1. Is there anything more mindless than morning shock-jock radio? Perhaps a rock...
  2. Which we could do for ourselves since the LIRR's way of doing this is to tell you the train is two minutes less late than you can clearly see it is by the time on your watch and the lack of anything remotely train-shaped in front of you
  3. That the damn thing would break down again before it got to the double-track section, thus crippling the system (again)

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