In five years of using public transportation to get from northeastern Essex County to the Hudson River at Jersey City, I've seen a few things that stand out ...
Jackson Wanna Be . In the mornings on the PATH from Newark to Exchange Place, there was this old black man with head phones singing to the Michael Jackson song "Remember." This guy must have thought he was in the chorus - because he would be bopping along silently and then shout out "REMEMBER!" Then be quiet again. He kept singing his part when it came around again on the CD. And the funny thing about it was that each time he sang out, everybody around him was surprised. I haven't seen this guy in a while.
Lady Who Fell In Puke . One night going home on the PATH, a woman came in from the station and slipped like a Keystone Kop onto the floor on some vomit left by a previous passenger. The woman laid there, on the floor, in the slop, not moving. Finally someone pushed the CALL button. The train pulled out of the station anyway. By the time we got to Journal Square the conductor showed up and they helped the lady off. They asked for a witness to tell them what happened. The witness stayed at the station to give a report. The conductor asked which CALL button was used so he could de-activate it. We headed home.
Footloose Lady . One morning boarding the PATH in Newark, the train was about to leave when a woman came dashing to the car. She fell and it turned out her foot was caught in the gap between the car and the station railing. When the cops came we all had to get off the train. The woman laid there on the ground. Embarrassed, I'm sure, with her foot caught there. I thought we should have all gotten on the train and leaned the other way and that would have opened the gap and she could have pulled her foot loose. But nobody asked me. We all just stood around and watched. When they finally got the woman's foot free, they found a chair for her to sit in. Before we could board the train, someone from PATH came and measured the gap between the car and the railing. We finally got on the car and headed to work. No one ever heard anything about the woman or her foot.
Mr. Tourette's . A few times I found myself on the same car as an older man who seemed to be talking on the phone. With earpieces these days, you never know whether or not someone is talking to himself or has a person at the end of the line. Well this guy is talking in a normal voice, and not too long, and to the annoyance of most of us around him, he begins to talk in vulgarities. His talk would make a drill instructor blush. And you can see the people around him don't know what to make of him. Is he on the phone to a 900-number or what? So he goes on for a while and nobody says anything to him. But you could see people are embarrassed by his talk. They try to move away from him. I haven't seen him in a while, but I could simply be on a later PATH car than he rides regularly.
The two-hour round trip each day from northeastern Essex County to the Hudson River at Jersey City using ...
1 - Automobile (a four-cylinder little red wagon)
2 - NJ Transit Bus
3 - Newark City Subway (Lightrail)
4 - PATH.
... provides plenty of time for reading (all of Stephen Ambrose's books) listening to music, people watching, or 'just resting my eyes'.
At lunch I sit on the bank of the Hudson River and watch the NY Waterway ferries make waves.
Copyright © 2005 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved.
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