Thursday, January 3, 2008

Why Hello!

I'm already disappointed with this blog. I guess it is a good way to start as this blog will serve its purpose as a place for me to rant and vent in my struggles of commuting. I really wanted to name this blog "The Waiting Room," but the URL was already used here and here. I was thoroughly upset by the latter as it clearly had good intentions of becoming a blog, but only ended up as a title and one line of "Hi this is a blog. surprise surprise." I also thought of "The Waiting Area" and "Journey to Work," but one was taken and the other was an idea inspired by Wikipedia (my fellow librarians are all rolling their eyes). Anyways, "Journey to Work" sounds too upbeat anyways. Oh and what do you know, "Journey to Work" is being used as well. At least this blogger started off with a good idea, but just never went through with it. Hopefully, I will not be daunted by the task.

So I guess I should start by introducing myself and the reason behind this blog, which I doubt anyone will read. I came to this realization (while stuck in the express bus lane into NYC) that I've been riding buses and other forms of public transportation for a decent part of my life. But mostly buses. There was the obvious grammar school and high school bus rides (the elementary school was right up the hill), but then there were the two hour Adirondack Trail rides to and from Albany during college breaks and vacations. There was the Albany city bus rides when I needed to go to the mall or to the Greyhound bus station downtown. Then eventually I turned into a regular, official New York City commuter--just like Dad. I thought that it wouldn't be bad. That I would become robotic and adapt to the commuting frame of mind. I think overall I have, but I have also developed certain anxieties from commuting. After having too many dreams of slashing bus tires, I decided to switch to the train, which I thought would be less stressful and more enjoyable. It turns out that with my Irish luck, it doesn't matter what form of transportation I might take, every so often the unexpected will happen.

Yesterday, for instance, I had an example of ping pong commuting, where you are forced to transfer 2+ extra times than normal. The day started out fine and CBS had mentioned some train and Path delays, but it wasn't until my train had reached the Essex Street train stop and a fellow commuter got out while screaming at the train conductor:

"The Path is down! My friends are stranded in Hoboken."
"Well, I haven't heard anything!" he said. "No one has called me, so fine, get off!"

And a few stops later...

"Path Train service is suspended from Hoboken due to a fire."


I had debated about getting off at the Secaucus Junction, but the North East Corridor line was delayed and everyone going to Hoboken was getting off at this stop. I then decided to try the ferry, but the waiting line was outrageously long, I had to pay five bucks, and I had no idea what subway station was closest once I got into Manhattan. I overheard other passengers mentioning that the light rail was free; however, we had to transfer at Exchange Place and then take the Path to the World Trade Center.


I was already late for work, so I decided to take a chance. While waiting for the next light rail train, I lost all feeling in my toes and cheeks from the freezing cold weather. Before we even reached the next stop, a message came over the speaker system:

"Path trains are now working."

So much for the light rail (which is surprisingly quite nice). The crowd and I all gathered and walked to the Newport/Pavonia station and there we waited for the next available Path train to 33rd street. Of course the train that came was already packed from Journal Square and I had to wait for the next one. Through pushing and shoving, I managed to make it to the city where another transfer awaited. As most customers cringed and groaned, I could only laugh. And I laughed even louder when I got to work, exactly on time with frozen toes and purple cheeks.

And that is my intention for this blog. To laugh at the phenomenon of commuting and hope that fellow commuters can share in the laughter. Or at least vent along.


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