So my driver had the flu this past weekend, which means I had to take the train for the first time in a decade. I left Manhattan on the Metro-North line, headed up to Connecticut to shoot a delightful little independent film starring a villain who gives covert vasectomies to yuppies in their sleep. Guess which part I had. About an hour into the trip, I heard a notice over the conductor intercom that I recognized from my last train trip, ten years prior! It struck me, because I could not believe that after all this time they were still saying the same stupid shit:
"Only the front four cars will make the next station. If you are in one of the rear two cars, please make your way forward to exit."
What the fuck?!?
A train car is a self-contained, microcosmic universe. You sit in it, you look out the window, and you watch space-time fly by. Nobody has any fucking clue which car they in. Asking me if I am in one of the rear two cars is akin to asking me if I am living after one of the final two Big Bangs.
Would it be so hard to display some kind of index indicating your car's order in the chain? Or is it entirely necessary to subject us to the metaphysical angst associated with trying to intuit this information and translate it to appropriate action?
I think you can guess what happened. We approached my stop in Stamford. I did not see anyone stand up and hurry forward. So, to avoid the crushing embarassment of unecessary and inefficient car migration, I remained seated. Predictably, my car did not "make the station." I did not run forward, yelling at the conductor to hold the train. I sat motionless, sullenly examining my hands for external signs of my soul's slow, welcome death. Sadly, I remain immortal. But isn't this really what life is all about? A series of such small battles to salvage one's ever-fleeting dignity?
I got off at the next stop, crossed the platform, and caught the next inbound train back to my stop. I walked triumphantly onto the platform and prepared myself for a long day of snipping yuppie ballsack.
[Image courtest of user Gespür für Licht at flickr.com]