We had to take both an earlier train in the morning yesterday, and a later one in the p.m., due to having to attend a Revenue Generating Event (RGE) for work yesterday.
Getting up for that 7:29, which is surely a matter of course for many commuters, was pretty harsh for us. But we saw a few unique things, such as the elementary school bus stop right at Hawthorne station. A little Hispanic girl kissed her wee brothers and mom in the tiny park space at the station, then boarded the bus at Elwood. Who knew?
The 7:29 was every bit as jammed as my beloved slacker-esque 8:16, perhaps more so. Many of the culprits are the Fordham Prep boys– clean cut Irish-Americans with maroon school sweatshirts pulled over Oxford shirts and loosely knotted neckties.
A pair of them shared the five seater with me. One lamented having to read “Inherit the Wind.”
“It’s like…so hard,” he moaned, listlessly leafing through the paperback. “Like, every other line.”
The conductor, for her part, opted for poesy instead of prose.
“Remember, it’s December,” she said, reminding riders to get a new monthly if they hadn’t already. “December to get home.”
The conductor on the ride home was less cheery. I will redact the train time so as to not get the guy in trouble, but what he did seemed pretty darn obnoxious.
It was seven minutes before departure time. I was in the second car from the back, I think. I had a seat.
I’d seen the conductor before–perhaps he was my regular evening guy when I was working slightly longer hours. I always thought the guy looked and acted drunk. Yesterday, the stubble was a few days old, the tape around his glasses was thick, and the countenance was wobbly as ever.
He entered the little conductor area by the folding 1 3/4 seater and shut the door behind him–the door that is perpendicular to the aisle, and blocks everyone in the aisle from passing through the cars.
A man approached and rapped on the door, which is marked with a large “Do Not Block Door,” about getting through, as the rear cars were full. The conductor told him to pass through out on the platform. The rider rolled his eyes and retreated.
With departure time a couple minutes off, a group assembled at the conductor’s closed door, not wanting to risk missing the train by exiting and passing on the platform. The conductor would not open the door. They gave up, heading back to the jammed second car to stand.
Our car filled up, with a half dozen people standing in the vestibule on a train that, for the most part, was not that full. On every train I take, dozens of people board on the rear just before departure, then make their way through the cars until seats open up. Yesterday, they were blocked at the second car.
Finally, 22 minutes after we left, and somewhere around Bronkers, the conductor emerged from his lair and freed up the bottleneck. Locking up the folding 1 3/4 seater so you can use that space is one thing, but the entire general area?
Maybe he had official business in there, I don’t know.
Either way, I’ll be happy to return to my normal trains–and conductors.