Like a tired old New Haven Line train, Trainjotting is back on the rails again after a brief setback.
Indeed, we’d been “hacked” for about 48 hours, as a rogue web outfit took over our site. I thought the guilty party may have been Metro-North, so I could not detail the commuting woes amidst the recent blizzery, or some Egyptian renegade outfit, as the hacking took place a few hours after I posted something on an Egyptian national winning the Grand Central squash tournament.
But it was neither. Nor was it the snow, which we seem to (rightfully) find the culprit for everything else in our lives these days. (Lost AdSense revenue during those two days, if you’re scoring at home: about 8 cents.)
As you can see, Trainjotting now features the generic template offered up by our web publisher. Maybe it’s a good time to (finally) redesign the site.
So what happened while we were hacked? I wisely worked from home yesterday, but the trains out of Grand Central late last week and early this week were absolutely packed, a result of the railroad running six instead of the usual eight cars, due to trains knocked out of commission by the ice and snow.
This morning, as I was contemplating what sort of icy misery the sidewalks would pose, my neighbor across the street offered me a ride. Overheard in the heated waiting bubble on the platform today, a pair commiserating (coblizzarating?) about the weather:
Woman: How the hell did the pioneers ever deal with it?
Man: They drank. They drank a LOT.
Metro-North has this new trick they do in the morning. When a good 100 commuters are packed in the heated overpass, the train comes about 30 seconds before its scheduled time. As the commuters make their way out of the womb-like overpass into the arctic morning, the train honks its horn and cruises by, suddenly in express mode. The train that actually stops comes about 10 minutes later.
I’ve seen this every day since last Thursday, and finally got wise to it by Tuesday.
Speaking of Tuesday, that was an interesting commute. I was walking to the station when I saw a car stuck on the side of Broad, at the top of Heartbreak Hill. A teenage boy was trying to push it out, as his mother worked the wheel.
Since pushing cars out of the snow is one of the most fun–and gratifying–activities one will ever do, I told them I had about two minutes to spare, knowing my train would be late. As we pushed, I asked the driver lady how she got into the ditch.
“It was him!” said she, a brassy brunette of 45. “He was going to pick up a girl for school, and they don’t even have school!”
The kid looked sheepish. Young drivers, what are you gonna do.
The car wasn’t budging. The lady suggested taking a floor mat out and sliding it under the wheel for traction. A man in painter’s pants, with a European accent, emerged from nowhere and told the lady she was going about the wheel work all wrong.
“I have a cast on!” she explained, raising her casted right arm for proof.
The bohunk took the wheel. Me and the guilty kid pushed. Seconds later, the wheels found some traction, and the car was sprung.
Smiles and thank you’s all around.
I grabbed my bag and my umbrella and headed back onto the road.
Virtue rewarded. I got to the bottom of Heartbreak HIll and found a neighbor in her white minivan. She said she’d seen me earlier, but couldn’t stop along the slippery slope of Heartbreak Hill. She offered a ride to the train. I climbed into the warm van.
Moments later, I was huddled in the warmed overpass, waiting for my train, determined not to fall for the barrelling, honking express that had duped me the day before.