Val-Hell-a

The 6:33 was chugging along to points north. I had the express pleasure (or was it the local pleasure?) to have the Missus and Little G in tow, after Missus visited with a friend in Gotham.

We were pulling out of Valhalla when a rider came bursting through the door.

I’ve seen this a few times. As any regular rider knows, those wishing to exit in Valhalla and Pleasantville must not be in the rear two cars, as those doors don’t open. In fact, I can almost recite the conductor’s speech by heart.

Apparently, the message never reached this guy. He was a young man, maybe 30, in chinos and a green polo shirt, hair closely cropped atop an increasingly crimson face, a finger still holding his place in a paperback Harry Potter book.

He bolted to the closed door, put his face on the window, and watched Valhalla inch away. He screamed for the conductor and swiveled his head around for some sort of emergency switch.

Someone pointed to the ceiling, where some mystery Mission Abort button resided. Like a kid trying to reach a Nerf ball stuck in a tree, the man leapt repeatedly, finger extended, trying to hit the button. Within seconds, a young Asian conductress entered the car. The man got in her face and gave her what-for: announcement never came, he had no idea, yadda yadda yadda.

Slowly, she shook her head. No, the train was not backing up so the man could egress at Valhalla. He grew redder. His voice grew louder. She shook her head again and walked away.

The man saved his best blast of unintentional comedy until this part. He took four steps to the vestibule, stopped in front of the door, cocked back his fist, eyed the ideal target, and shot a right cross at the waist-high metal handrail strip.

The pre-meditation of his movement struck me. Punching a wall is a spontaneous act, or at least should be. But this man, this reader of Potter, this misser of Valhalla station, painstakingly prepared for his flash of anger.

It reminded me of Yankee washout Kevin Brown, who after yet another putrid performance, retreated to the clubhouse tunnel and had the uncharacteristically good sense to punch a wall with his left hand, thus breaking his non-pitching hand.

As the train ambled toward Hawthorne, we debated offering him a ride back to Valhalla, then decided he was sort of a jerk.

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