Murphy’s Law on the Metro North

The Second Essential Truth

It was unseasonably warm in New York City today, over 65 degrees and just miserable outside.  It wasn’t raining, it was spitting.  Everyone was in a miserable mood.  The sun may go down early in late fall but if it was just a day so grey it makes Seattle look appealingly sunny,

I was coming back from the Bronx when Murphy’s Law hit: due to the wet weather, the signals and switches had malfunctioned.  We, the riders of the Metro North light rail system of New York City and the suburban environs, were going to be stuck for a while.

At first, no one paid any attention.  Then, as a minute slipped into twenty, people started to swear underneath their breath and scream obscenities against the MTA out loud.  The crew of this train was smart.  After we had been stranded for five minutes, they were nowhere to be found.  This is one of the joys of living in New York; one of those things that give us our special utterly annoyed all the time temperament. The art of getting ahead in New York is taking these bile raising incidents and making them into entertaining stories for your friends.  So not being able to locate any conductors was the just the price of the story telling business.

As twenty minutes turned into an hour, bitter laughter broke out.  The fifty or so people in the car were now in an open debate about the possibilities of lynching any MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) member.  “So I guess when they raise our fares next month, we can expect more delays like this.  Get me a rope,” one businessman in a blue pin stripped suit said.

It wasn’t the actual delay that was bothering me but the platitudes one of the conductors kept calling out over the train’s loudspeaker.  “We’re having switch problems in the Bronx.  We are extremely sorry for any delay this may be causing you,” he kept saying, over and over again.  When we hit an hour and fifteen minutes, I was looking for some piece of metal to stick in the damn speaker.  I can’t stand empty apologies or platitudes, especially when they are coming from someone who obviously doesn’t give a shit.

As I was breathing deeply, trying to control my anger, a young lady dressed in a brown suede coat finally had enough.  She walked over to one on the conductors and started screaming.  “When are we going to move?  I want to get back to Harlem.  I’ve had a hard day at work and I want to get home to my family!”  I smiled when I looked over at her.  She was giving voice to my utter displeasure.

The conductor wasn’t amused and reminded her to watch her behavior.  “I can have you arrested, miss,” he told her.

“Fine.  Call the police and arrest me already.  At least I’ll be off this fucking train,” she screamed.

A few minutes after the screaming started, the train was finally cleared to move through the broken signal light.  When we arrived at 125th Street, the lady in the brown suede coat was finally able to get off the train.  She was promptly arrested by the NYPD.

Your ever rising fares at work. 

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