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Piss Scat Away!

March 22nd, 2002 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Bye bye New Jersey Transit and your train cars filled with nail clippings, papers and passengers who have seizures. Bye bye Piscataway Corporate Gulag and your prison food!

Our group celebrated our liberation by getting some pizza and champagne. We toasted freedom. For six months we’ve worked in a windowless warehouse of a room in the middle of nowhere. Come Monday, it will all be in the past.

Luck never lets me by scot free, though. Yesterday was by far and away the worst transit experience.

In the morning, the sadistic dispatchers who delight in creating congestion on the platforms at Penn Station placed the 8:09 to Trenton and the 8:11 to Dover on the same platform. Double crush to get down the two narrow stairwells, but at least we were all going down. Usually the bastards put a train that’s unloading on the same platform as a boarding train, creating an angry mob of people shoving their way up the stairs while a desperate mob pushes their way to a train in a four minute window of opportunity.

Since the dispatchers were easy on us, the conductors decided a tag-team was in order. After being careful to board the train that was labeled “Trenton” and finding a seat on the rapidly filling train the conductor comes on the P.A.

“This is the train to Dover. The train to Trenton is on the other side of the platform.”

The exodus begins. Our trainload of people begins to pour into the other train, which is full of ignorant fools who think they are going to Dover. We’re kind enough to enlighten them to their folly, but now those people have to worm their way out the train while it fills up with more people from the faux-Trenton train.

Keep in mind in two minutes the train is going to close it’s doors. There’s a certain tension in air.

The P.A. comes on again.

“Your attention please. This is the train to Dover. The conductor on the other train made a mistake. If you’re going to Trenton, you need to be on the other train.”

Who’s conducting the trains, Moe, Larry and Curly?

The second, more panicky exodus starts. The whole process was like shuffling a deck of cards, but with two piles of people instead of cards.

But this couldn’t compare to the problem I’d have coming home. I was on the platform to catch the 5:10 into New York. Heading home early for a change. Feeling good, feeling fine, feeling groovy. Alright, not groovy, that part is a lie.

The train is late. No big deal. No announcement, which is unusual.

When we get an announcement, twenty minutes later, it’s not good.

“The train is delayed due to police activity. We will inform you when the situation changes.”

Uh oh. An hour goes by. At this point, four trains were have supposed to come by, so the platform is packed.

Turns out someone decided to take the NJ Transit express to the great beyond, and leapt in front of a train a station stop or two before ours. Tragic, yes, especially since the person decided to do it during rush hour.

I finally get on a train, an hour and half later than I was supposed to. The train is packed to the rafters, like a giant sardine can with wheels. The cherry on top of this commuter sundae nightmare is the woman who gets on at Newark with five kids, one of whom is having a Chernobyl style temper tantrum. Top of the lungs wailing and screaming and shouting and stomping of feet for the next ten minutes. As crowded as the train was, in five minutes, everyone within a five seat radius had taken refuge somewhere else, probably taking their chances on top of the train.

I will not miss my commute. And I bet you won’t miss my commute either.

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