The doors to the subway train open and a waft of 8 day unwashed vagina attacks my nostrils. My eyes immediately dart around the train to identify where the smell is coming from and sitting in the corner is a small black man whose skin has begun to whiten from lack of hygiene and a life of riding subway cars to keep warm. My watch shows 1:02 a.m. and I have spent the last hour and a half in the underground labyrinth that is the New York Subway System.
I spent a lovely evening with a beautiful redhead named Lola. Saying that makes it sound tawdry which just goes to show you how quickly you jump to conclusions. It is the night before I leave New Jersey and I rode into the city via the Path train into the World Trade Center hole and boarded the E train to 42nd street for my date. Being in Jersey gave me the opportunity to hook back up with Lola after our brief meeting in Dallas.
We took in dinner at Etc. Etcetera and, thoroughly stuffed, made our way to see “Mary Poppins” on Broadway. In between renditions of “Step in Time”, “Spoonful of sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” (how impressive is it that my spell check has that as a word and corrected my spelling?) Lola and I made friends with a Brazilian who was taking in the show. I think we picked the perfect Broadway to see too. If you were in the audience and looked up to see kids enjoying themselves, “ooohing” and “aahhing” as Mary flies across the stage you would have been looking at us. We jumped with surprise, sang with the songs, and bobbed our heads up and down in time with the music. No two 20 something’s could have been happier.
After the show we headed to the bus terminal and as we went inside discovered a bar that was housed within serving drinks to travelers as they waited for their bus. As we sipped our beer in wait of Lola’s chariot, we were serenaded with karaoke as small white guys sang songs better suited to large black men or sopranos. You sure hit that high note, Mr. Blanco.
I saw Lola off and began my travel back to Jersey City. Knowing the trains ran off hours I anticipated a wait but was confident that I would be able to make it back to my hotel. I rode the E train in so I planned on backtracking on it and getting back to the World Trade Center. As I stood in the tunnel at 42nd street station I learned what Purgatory must be like.
I will start by saying I had 40 blocks to travel. The train ride to Times Square took about 15 minutes. I stood waiting for the E train and was disappointed time and time again. As I leaned over the tracks to watch for the small light at the end of the tunnel to grow brighter, the A on the train kept dashing my hopes. After 30 minutes on the platform I began to worry that the train would never come. Using the map I planned an alternate route and jumped on an A train to 33rd where I knew of a Path Train that ran from the City to Jersey.
I scrambled around Penn Station in a panic. My phone said the Path train stopped at 11:00 but I couldn’t find it out until I had exited the signal blocking tunnels. Stuck on 33rd, I rushed back to the Subway and decided I would just ride the A and get as close to WTC as I could and walk. It was past midnight by this point and exhaustion was setting in along with a mild need to urinate. I jumped on the A train but only rode it one stop when I decided to jump off and double check the map to make sure that I was heading the right way. At this point the voice of God, or maybe it was just an intercom, at that point I starting to get delirious, said,
“All E bound trains are being serviced off of the F line. Please ride the F train to Commerce for service to World Trade Center.”
I had just spent over an hour waiting for a train that didn’t exist. At this point I held back tears and went down a level to wait for the train that I hoped would bring salvation. I turned my phone on to record my thoughts.
“It’s just after 1 o’clock in the morning; I am now waiting for the F train on West 4th street. This marks an hour and a half in the subway with about a mile and a half covered.”
As I rode the F train with the human embodiment of rotten eggs, I prayed that I would make it home. My urgency at needing to pee was building but there was not a chance in hell I was stepping foot in a Subway bathroom. I made it to the WTC at 1:30 a.m. and the only real bit of luck I had appeared. I had arrived just in time to get on the Path train that would take me home. My second recording held more hope that the first.
“It’s 1:33 in the morning and I am on the Path train to New Jersey. It took me 30 minutes to get to the WTC so I could get onto this train and I lucked out to find it the first time. I was afraid if I didn’t it would have been another hour and I would have cried.”
As my feet screamed in protest I rode the train into Jersey City. I had entered the Path train in Jersey City near the office I was at. However my hotel was a good 10 block from the office and I got the great idea that I would just ride the Path to the station near my hotel, thinking it would save me about 8 blocks. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The train I was on dropped off on a different station than the one near my hotel but this didn’t become apparent until I had exited the train, popped out topside, and found nothing looked familiar.
I pulled out my phone and with the use of Google Maps, located my hotel and started the 12 blocks towards it. My urge to pee went from a want to an absolute need and I was forced to stop between two parked cars in a dimly lit street and urinate. My fingers were so cold that I thought I might recoil at the touch and we myself but in this one thing I was fortunate.
I arrived at my hotel at 2 a.m. and finished packing before collapsing into bed and embracing sweet exhaustion.
That is all,