ornate line
Commuting Suicide: Volume XXIV


Wednesdays are matinée days in the city. That means that the population of the city increases as little old women from the suburbs make their way into the city for an afternoon of Jersey Boys. They are fearful of the city, they don’t understand its nuances and shortcuts. It’s as if they travel into the city hoping to cheat death a little. These women assume a day spent in Manhattan is like living life on the edge. And of course, they don’t drive in, as they assume driving in the city is equal to wrestling cougars. No, they take the train. They take MY train.

My commute is two hours long, one way. You could fly to Florida in less time. It’s a horrible experience, and each day I spend on Metro-North knocks a year off my life. As such, I try and make it the most pleasurable experience I can. I’ve even developed a comfortable routine.

But each Wednesday, that routine gets destroyed faster than Lindsey Lohan at an all-you-can-snort cocaine buffet. Ednas, Beverlys, and Betsys swarm onto the train, clutching their pocketbooks for fear that the investment banker in the Italian suit sitting next to them will mug them. And they take up all the seats. All of them.

At this point, I have a choice. I can stand for the ride, thus subjecting my perfect legs to the scars of varicose veins, or I can sit on the floor in the dirty vestibule. I usually opt for the latter, as I consider sitting an investment in my future as a leg model. But this is only half of it.

Most days, the loudest the train will get is a very dull murmur with intermittent folding of The Times. But on Wednesdays, the entire car is walked, in grating detail, through the trials and tribulations of the Women’s Over 50 Aqua-size class. These are the same women who consider themselves cosmopolitan because they eat at the Olive Garden in Times Square.

As I sit on the floor, wondering what substance will stick to my pressed khakis once I stand up, I marvel at the spectacle. These women, these “Wednesday Widowers,” they never realize that they’re the interlopers. They don’t belong. They have screwed up the rhythm. And yet, they look at me with a complex confusion of disgust and wonderment as they see me sitting on the floor watching The Rock on my laptop.

“Why is the man sitting on the floor?”

“Why does he keep giving us dirty looks?”

“I hope the terrorists don’t feel like attacking the city today.”

Wednesdays make Thursdays feel so much better.

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This reminds me of a family trip to "Amish country". My mother could not figure out why my sister and I were cringing every time she got out the camera to take a snapshot of some "quaint" cottage, or "darling" group of people. She made my dad slow down our rental van to get a close up of a buggy. No, she's not a tourist, she's an out-of-town-photo-terrorist! America beware!! And yet, my sister and I were the ones who "didn't know how to travel" because we didn't want our picture taken with the poor amish kid just trying to yoke his horse. Anyway, I hear those picture machines steal your soul.

said spacegrrl on June 7, 2007 3:26 PM.

I just stumbled upon your blog and got the much needed belly laugh during my work day. I passed your stories off to my coworkers and they were snorting in laughter. We write for a small weekly military paper and have trouble sometimes "waxing poetic" for our stories, so we are amazed you can recreate such fun stories based on the same topic. Good work!

said Kristin on March 4, 2008 7:08 PM.
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