Muffled Messages Miff Commuters

metro newspaper subway changes

I think my train luck has run out. For months I’ve  avoided NJ train issues, such as delays in and out of NYC–I get alerts on my phone when there is problem and lately I have had plans after work so it never affected me. Until Thursday.

My 6:20 pm Dover train was “ON STANDBY”at 6:15 pm, which typically means the train is arriving but the track number is unknown. We all stood watching the board, patience waning as time slowly ticked away. Some sighed, others mumbled to themselves angrily. Behind me, a man’s wife kept calling his mobile to complain about his poor parenting skills from the night before. He replied sharply in a whisper, “I CAN’T talk about this NOW! I’m waiting for the train and it’s coming soon!” Nice dodge, sir, but was the train really coming?

At 6:30 pm the board read: “6:20 Dover train – DELAYED,” and a woman yelled, “Delayed? Really? NO SHIT!”

Then there was an incoherent announcement: “Everyone, the trains are delayed. PATH trains are accepting NJ tickets…[muffled voice] bus transfers at Hoboken [muffled voice] take entrance…” The announcement had gone to shit.

Ugh! All I wanted to do that night was go home and work on my book. My husband Chris was working late that night, so I knew he wouldn’t be able to pick me up from Hoboken and I didn’t hear what buses were available to transfer me to South Orange. The station became a beehive of activity as people ran in different directions, trying to decide where to go or from who to get more information.

So where did I end up? The bar at the Hyatt Hotel across the street from Chris’ office in Jersey City, downing dirty martinis until he was done with his meetings. I ate “firey” buffalo wings (which I regretted the next morning) and ended up bombarding a quiet businessman sitting next to me with a million questions because I wanted to know why/how he chose his hotels when traveling on business (market research for my job!). Later I learned he was a visiting VP at Chris’ company–yikes!

The next morning I read the Metro newspaper while I walked to the office and what’s the second story I read? “Announcements on [the NYC] subway get clearer” for the first time in 15 years! Was the universe mocking me? For the first time in months, I longed for a cramped, rude, delayed subway ride to work.

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