It was a Sunday morning, and my niece Kristen was playing basketball for Queens College at Madison Square Garden. It was a big deal, and the whole family was going. Jim had worked at the firehouse the day before so we decided I would take the train into the city and meet everyone there. I woke up at 7am, bright and early, not realizing I was about to have the kind of day that made me wish I had just stayed in bed.
The plan was to catch the 8:37am train, giving me lots of time to get to MSG. I got to the train station with plenty of time to spare, congratulating myself for being so alert on a Sunday morning. On the platform, I heard an announcement that the “8:37am train to NYC is running 10 to 15 minutes late.”
Since it was cold, I got back in my car instead of staying on the platform and as soon as the door closed, I realized something. I had left both our tickets on the kitchen counter! OMG!
I immediately pulled out of my spot, intending to drive home, grab the tickets, and make it back in time to catch the train. After all, the train was running 10 to 15 minutes late, right? But even in my panicked state, I realized the math didn’t add up. The train station is 15 minutes away from my house. By the time I got there, ran inside, grabbed the tickets and drove back, there was no way I was making that 8:37am train.
I resigned myself to taking the 9:37am, which would make me half an hour late for the game. I called Jim (on my bluetooth – hands free driving!) and told him what happened. I would take a picture of his ticket and maybe they can scan that so he can get in on time. So I got home, grabbed the tickets that I had left so conveniently in plain sight on the kitchen counter next to the coffee pot so that I wouldn’t forget it, took a picture, texted it to Jim, then got right back into the car because I was not going to miss the 9:37am.
Got to the train station and the 9:37am train pulled in right on time. I thought to myself, I’m good, no problem. Settled down for the hour-long train ride and we went one stop, the doors opened to let people in, and then stayed open. After a minute, I heard this announcement, “We are being held here momentarily due to some fire activity a few stations ahead.”
Okay, no problem, a few minutes delay is fine. But after 10 minutes, we heard this announcement, “Due to a fire on the tracks somewhere between Chappaqua and Valhalla, we are being held temporarily at this station. We will keep you posted.”
Ookkaay. How long is temporarily? But that’s fine, I’ll still make most of the game. I started reading my book, thinking that this train car smelled pretty bad. Half an hour later, we heard, “Due to transformer fire in Hawthorne, we are being held here indefinitely.”
Ooookkkkaaayyyyy. That’s not good. Indefinitely doesn’t sound good. We had now been held here, one stop from where I started from, for 45 minutes and the smell I had noticed earlier seemed to get stronger. As I texted Jim, the fireman, to ask how long it takes to put out a transformer fire, I glanced at the guy across the aisle to see if the smell was coming from him. He looked clean and not smelly though, but I was now definitely getting whiffs of throw-up.
As I waited for Jim’s reply (who by the way, was now in the game as his mom had an extra ticket), I decided to slide over to the window seat and away from the possibly smelly guy. As I shifted my weight over, I happened to look down at the seat next to me and realized immediately where the smell was coming from.
I shot out of my seat and into the aisle so fast that everyone around me stopped talking and looked at me. Someone asked me if I was okay and I replied, I just realized I am sitting next to old throw-up.
Everyone around me groaned and eeewww-ed so loud that the entire train car got up, thinking something had happened. I moved myself to another seat. Texted Jim, told him I was sitting next to old throw-up, and he texted back, That sucks. Maybe it’s not meant to be. You’re not going anywhere with a transformer fire.
But I was determined to make it in. After another half hour, they next announced that they may possibly send buses to drive us to a station that was running. I called my mom, and she said she would pick me up and drive me to White Plains, so I could catch an express. So I got off the train, taking 3 of my fellow passengers with me, and waited for my mom.
On the way to White Plains with me driving, we missed an exit and ended up taking the long round-about way. Finally made it to White Plains, only to get stuck in a one-way loop and circled the train station twice before pulling in. The plan now was to catch the 12:02pm express (yes, it is now almost 12pm!) that gets into Grand Central at 12:30pm and maybe I could still make the very end of the game.
Got to the platform, only to be confronted with the announcement that “the 12:02pm train to NYC has been canceled.”
I’m starting to think I should have stayed in bed. I had to wait for the next local, which wouldn’t get me into Grand Central until after 1pm, when the game would be over for sure. I should have just called my mom to pick me up at this point, but some stubborn part of me wouldn’t give up. I had every intention of going to the game and I’d gotten this far, so I’d wait for the damn local and go into the city.
Jim texted me, I don’t think you should bother coming in – it’s getting ridiculous now. But I got on that local train, which stopped at every single stop along the way and pulled into Grand Central right as I got a text from Jim, The game just ended. Kristen’s team won!
I should have stayed in bed.
But all was not lost. I did get to see my college roommate Melinda, who lives in Texas and I haven’t seen since my wedding 5 years ago. I happened to see from Facebook that she was visiting NYC that weekend with her oldest daughter Sienna. It worked out that we could meet up briefly and it was great to see her and meet her daughter.
Moral of the story – put your tickets in your purse the night before instead of leaving them on the counter in plain sight because guaranteed, you will miss it in the next morning. If I only had my tickets with me when I went to catch the 8:37am, I would have bypassed the fire activity that happened later, and been at the game to cheer Kristen on.