Yesterday, it was snow, sleet, freezing rain and locusts falling from the sky (“I’m shoveling Margaritas,” one Brooklyn maintenance man told the Times), and the train was all of two minutes late.
Today, it was sunny and clear, though butt-cold. And what hell awaited me on the 8:17. The train pulled up at 8:21 — not unexpected on the heels of a Nor-easter. We were going slow past White Plains and Scarsdale, and probably on course to be a bit late.
But that was OK. I had a two-seater to myself. I had the papers, the iPod and the new BlackBerry.
Then we slowed to a trickle somewhere between Fleetwood and Mount Vernon West. Then, at 8:52 — when we’re usually pulling into 125th — we slowed to a dead stop.
“We’ve got a switch failure,” said the conductor. “There are a couple trains ahead of us, then they’ll let us go. Should be 5-10 minutes.”
People called work. People shuffled. Other trains flew by. Why hadn’t their switch failed?
The conductor came on four minutes later. “They’re on the scene, working on the switch failure,” he said. “We’ll keep you posted.”
I got a little nervous. I hadn’t realized there were fix-it guys involved. I had no water. I had no food since I’d eaten my “emergency” granola bar a month ago and never replaced it. I was done with the Times (though saving Sports for lunch…spring training!) and half done with the Journal. I should’ve saved the Money section, instead of throwing it out. Why hadn’t I packed an emergency book?
At the stroke of 9, the man came back on. “The switch failure has been…uh…solved,” he said. We started moving.
It was a crawl the rest of the way, along with another dead stop under the 153rd Street sign in the Bronx, when I actually thought of busting through a window and walking.
We got in at 9:41. That’s 36 minutes late; even by Metro North’s generous “on time” standards, that’s just plain late.
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