Where does the good go

Subway Chronicles

I was running late for work this morning.

I woke up on time, but then, I realized I was in the midst of a dream about the muppets trying to save an old movie theater in the town and they had JUST figured out the human guy, who they thought was an ally, was REALLY president of the company trying to takeover the movie theater! THEN: I assumed there would be a fun group number with Animal on the drums, so I went back to sleep. That was a mistake, and not ONLY because I don’t know how to write awesome drum solo songs, so how would one appear in my dream, but also because it now meant that…

I was running late for work this morning.

Luckily, a bus came very quickly AND as soon as I got to the subway station, I could hear a train moving on the tracks. I bounded down the stairs, crossing my fingers that it was a train pulling into the Manhattan-bound side, and not one on the Brooklyn side (or, more devastating, one pulling OUT of the Manhattan side!)


The train was coming in on my side! The last car of the train slid into place in front of me. EVEN BETTER, I saw a SEA of orange-backed seats! THE CAR WAS EMPTY.


An empty car during the morning rush hour means one of two things: Bum or Out of Service.

Sure enough, I noticed the letter on the window was a green G, NOT my usual orange B or yellow Q. I was sad panda.

But then, in the time it took for me to observe all these things, the doors actually opened. But NOT for the empty car in front of which I was standing.

I followed the lead of the passengers around me and hotfooted it down the platform to the second to last car, noticing a solitary figure seated in that last car, whose doors did not open.

I made it to the first set of doors on the other car and squeezed my way past the teeming masses of humanity. I wiggled myself into a spot next to a pole at the back. The conductor announced that the train was, in fact, a B train, and advised us to stand clear of the closing doors. The train pulled away. At the next station, the same thing. All the doors opened, EXCEPT the last car. I stared inside and the solitary figure, a middle-aged Chinese woman (and, well, since she *looked* middle-aged, she was probably a hundred and four) She was standing now, worried. I overheard some of the new passengers, who had squeezed into my car, saying that she had been waving her arms at them when the train came into the station.

“I think she’s stuck in there,” a well dressed African-American woman said.

I peeked back into the last car. Sure enough, the Chinese woman was pulling on the car’s back door. But those don’t open anymore. Safety hazard.

I watched her, thinking that, in a way, I would love to have a whole car to myself for the commute to work. I would put my feet up and play Angry Birds Star Wars with the volume ALL the way up! NOBODY COULD TELL ME NUFFIN! But then, I imagined the moment when I realized I couldn’t get out. That the doors no longer opened. I would panic. Probably cry. My stomach started to hurt with the fear of it. It’s like a modern day Twilight Zone tale! The only people who know her plight were too far in the back of the train to alert anyone who could help. She’s going to have to pull the… FUCK.

And just like that, I turned on that 104-year-old Chinese woman. IF SHE PULLS THE EMERGENCY BRAKES THE TRAIN WILL BE STUCK HERE FOREVER. I’LL BE EVEN LATER! AND I HAVE TO STAND! At least she can put her stupid old woman feet up and chill until help comes!

GAH!! How’d she even get in there?! The train pulled into the next station. I needed her to hold out for two more stops. MY STOP. I could get out at Atlantic and transfer, but I’d rather wait for Dekalb.

I spied in on the old lady. She was sitting again.

The train pulled into Atlantic. She was standing again, trying to get the doors open. I should just get out now. She’s GOING to pull the cord! But… I’m sooo close. ONE MORE STOP. I hesitated long enough, for fate to take the choice out of my hands. The doors closed again.

She wouldn’t be so foolish to pull the cord between stops, would she??

I waited and watched. The train moved forward steadily. I watched. I waited.

The darkness of the tunnels gave way to the dim station lighting. I MADE IT! I pushed my way out of the train to the platform paydirt! Whew.

My second train was pulling into the station. I jogged down the platform to get closer to front cars.

I got on, found a seat, and loaded up Angry Birds.


Hope that old lady gets out.

11 Responses to “Subway Chronicles”

  1. Pdov Says:

    I love your honesty, glad you made it to work on time. I was late 15 minutes, despite not Chinese woman trapped in a cable car. Oh, urban living.

  2. Pdov Says:

    *not having a Chinese woman in a train car. Not sure why I wrote “cable car.”

  3. Anonymous Says:

    I wrote “cable car.”

    Because in your head, you live in the 1920s. And possibly in San Francisco.

  4. VinNay Says:

    The chinese woman in question is named Bu Hao. She went missing in 1905 after entering the old 9th Avenue Line. Bu Hao is seen from time to time riding alone in inoperable train cars. It is unknown if she is still alive, or if this is simply an apparition of her former self, but rumors state she can exit a train in old City Hall station, and it is there that she now sustains herself on rodents, vermin, and a very weak 5-10 game frequented by city officials.

    The best way to see her is to take the number 6 train, which uses the old City Hall station as a loop-around.

  5. alceste Says:

    So, Dawn, when exactly did you go the full-on sociopath route?

  6. Chris Berez Says:

    Wait, how did she even get in there in the first place if the doors weren’t opening? Did they just put the car out of commission without checking to see whether there was anyone in there?

  7. Dawn Summers Says:

    @Chris My guess is it was some kind of electrical glitch. Our subways suck sometimes.

    @Alceste WHHAAATTT? I didn’t trap her in there!

  8. Pdov Says:

    Cable car does sound more romantic, less dirty and dispiriting as those orang-y train cars. Those west side (1,2,3 & A, C) trains are so depressing, like a 70’s relic that one is forced to use without ever being cleaned. #bleh #worsttrains

  9. notoriouslig Says:

    It’s all fun and games until that old lady is your mother (and calls to blame you for what happened to her)!

  10. alceste Says:

    Antiscocial behavior? Check. Lack of social conscience? Check. Ergo, sociopath.

  11. Dawn Summers Says:

    Those questions smack of cultural bias and racial prejudice.

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