Staring real hard at the embroidery on the shirt of the blond guy sitting in the end seat of the crowded PATH car stopped in the middle of the meadowlands for no apparent reason, it seemed to read C Drive Technologies. We Make It Happen and on the sleeve it read HP Internet Stew, or something.
It was 625 and we had been on this car about a half hour. We were stopped about 10 minutes or so, so far. And we weren't moving.
Looking out the window, it didn't look like we were going anywhere. We had about a half dozen tracks on each side of the rails where we waited. It would take TV's McGyver to get us out of this one.
Gram has golf clubs embroidered on her horizontally striped blouse. The three and five clubs have numbers on them. Pop has flowers on his shirt like he was from Florida or Hawaii Five-Oh.
They both wore K-Mart blue jeans. And when they spoke to each other it was with a Southern accent.
Gram looked like Central Casting sent down an actress to play a sweet grandma who would treat the kids to milk and fresh baked cookies. Even though she looked like she was tiring, her old blue eyes sparkled as she stood next to Pop.
Pop leaned against the advertisement between the last seat and the door. He held onto the rail and Gram. With a rugged tan and his yellow-grey hair slicked back, he looked like Nick Nolte at 80.
The rail cars lurched forward like a hiccup on New Year's Day.
We strained to hear anything from the conductor a dozen cars away and then the car stopped again.
The train moved and we soon saw the Harrison Station on the wrong side from usual. We were on the outbound track heading in. The blond guy unfurled his body from his nap and clambered out the door.
We parted a path like the Red Sea and Gram and Pop sat. They breathed a sigh.
So did some of the folks around me.
We disembarked onto Platform C instead of Platform H as usual. No one knew where the stairs were and we followed the leader like the dazed lost sheep that we were.
People are not like homing pigeons. You put them in some place strange, change their routine and they get messed up, lost.
They follow the unofficial leader of the flock who may know the way to the ground or the main concourse lobby.
You end up, then, following the crowd and breaking off when your turn comes along just like a homer with a strange flock on race day - each bird in the flock on his own way home.
No thanks to the PATH folks we figured our way down and out from high Platform C.
Aha! I saw the bookstore and realized this was not too far from the subway stairs and another leg home.
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Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission. Updated May 2008
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