The commute home was a relatively quick one. I punched out of work at 5:06, which is about normal time to punch out for a 5:00pm finish to the work day. It takes a few minutes to get from working on the loading dock on the first floor to the punch clock in the second sub-basement. And as always I make sure to get my jacket and bag out of there first.
There is usually some kind of banter going on in the locker room, sometimes in Spanish, sometimes in English. If I understand, I try to jump in if I have 2 cents to add. Today the banter is in English, but it’s about some guy talking about his girl, and I don’t know the guy well, so I let it be. I grabbed my stuff and left after saying a few goodbyes.
After punching out I waited for the elevator to take me to the first sub-basement, which came quickly enough. Usually it takes about 3 minutes for the elevator to show, but it showed in less than a minute this time. A truly happy thing. I walk through the guts of the building filled with hundreds of millions of dollars worth of art, some beautiful, some uglier than sin, depending on the piece and the eye viewing it. The cut through here cuts a minute or two off of my walk to the train, and the art is better looking than the traffic and people above ground.
I climb the stair out of the building after hitting the button to the door that separates my building from the other buildings in the area, the one that locks the door so only people with access can get in. As I hit the stairs I reach for my iPod and get ready to start up my music. Black Sabbath We Sold our Souls for Rock and Roll is my music of choice for the run home. After getting to the second set of stairs I kick the music on, turn it on shuffle to randomize the music.
It starts on song 1 of the disk, Black Sabbath anyway. I don’t mind. I am somewhat surprised by the sun. I have been traveling home from work in darkness for so long I forgot I could see the sun when walking out of the office from work. It’s nice to see the sun. I don’t see it enough. I get out to the street just as the light changes, and have to wait for the light to change to cross 6th avenue. It feels like forever when I’m trying to get the train home. Actual time? 2 minutes. Tops.
I race across 49th street heading west to grab my train listening to a very young Ozzy Osbourne beg for mercy from Satan. My feet move faster than the beat of the song, as fast as I am capable of moving. There are people moving faster than I am though. I get passed by one or two people.
That never used to happen. I’ve lost a step, but I still make it home, so I’m not worried.
As I make it to the train station, the rarest of things happens. The train actually arrives when I do. It is a rare enough event, there is usually a wait for several minutes, which to any traveling New Yorker is an eternity unto itself. But the train is here. So I get on. The 1 train is packed as usual. Stand for a few stops, by the time the train gets to 34th street there are a few seats open, and I grab one. And a prized door seat at that. Talk about luck!
I wedge my bag between my feet, break out my kindle, which is giving me advice on how to not write shitty, and immediately fall asleep. Several other Sabbath songs play while this is going on. I don’t remember which ones off hand were playing from the point where I got on the train to the point where I grabbed a seat. I wake up at each stop, as I always do. Read a few words, make sure my stuff is where I left it, read a few more words, and nod off.
It goes like this all the way to the next to last stop, Rector street. There I force myself to wake up enough to get ready to get my ass off of the train and walk up the stairs to the ferry. When the train finally enters South Ferry Station, everyone makes for the doors, and then has to wait as the conductor makes us wait a few seconds before letting us off. I happen to be in front of the crowd at the door, having gotten that prized door seat for just this reason, so I could be there first, or reasonably close to it, when the train gets to my stop.
As the doors open the crowd that rushes from the train trying to get to the ferry hits the crowd of people running from the ferry trying to get the train. Which is fun. I enjoy it the same way I enjoy getting my teeth pulled while I do my taxes, I.E. not at all. But most of us know what we are doing and I, like the rest, stick to the right side of the staircase. It makes for a faster, less stressful commute when everyone knows how to do this. But it’s not a perfect system and there are days where it’s a mosh pit.
Not today though.
It’s a pain in the ass in general because there are so many damn people in one space each one trying to get places quick. Nice to not have to mosh today, though. As I walk the stairs that get to the ferry itself, there is one man standing on the escalator. Tired. Beat. Looked like he was having the hardest day ever. And people were giving him angry stares for standing still on an escalator.
I tossed the moloich at him, smiled and made my way to get the 5:40 boat. With time to spare.
That is a happy bit of commuting. Hit the connections, no issues on the train, fast.
That’s it from here, America. G’night.