Monday, August 15, 2011

The five stages of waiting for the C train

I live right along the A/C line in Brooklyn, but unfortunately for me, the express A skips right past my local stop, which means I am forced to wait for the C at the dreary Hoyt-Schermerhorn stop. (That's spelled correctly -- I checked.) This maybe an urban legend but I've heard that living at an A stop actually adds twenty years onto your life. Even if it isn't, it certainly feels true.

Anyway, at this juncture in Brooklyn, the A and C run along the same track, which means that when I get off the express, I am forced to look down the same tunnel for my train. And this is when I go through the MTA's equivalent of the Kubler-Ross model for the five stages of grief.

1. Denial: You haven't been here so long, I tell myself as I pace the back end of the platform. Since I probably didn't look at the time when I disembarked from the A, I try to measure in iPod song time. It hasn't even been one song, I think. Remember, you didn't let that last one finish so it hasn't been more than 4 minutes. I promptly skip the next song halfway through to preserve this line of reasoning a little longer.

2. Anger: I feel this emotion coming on when I see lights in the tunnel and get excited only to realize that it is yet another A train. "Fuck," I audibly mouth. I just stepped off an A -- the next one should be a C! It is only fair that they should alternate. The pattern should be A-C-A-C.

Except that it's actually more like this: A-A-A-C. I feel my blood pressure rise as the A slides into the station and the conductor announces that the next stop will be Nostrand. It rises even higher when the train after that one is yet another A. It is not unheard of for this to happen a third time consecutively. God, why do you hate me so?

3. Bargaining: If the C comes within the next two minutes, I think, I will give a dollar to the next homeless person who enters my subway car between now and home. (Of course, I'm only taking a small chance that I will have to shell out because at this point in my commute, a homeless person has got only two stops to get to my dollar bill before I exit. Also, it's highly unlikely I'm carrying any cash.) I also sometimes promise to stop hating subway mariachi bands so much. I even offer to stop sticking pins into my mariachi band voodoo dolls.

4. Depression: At this point, I can no longer fool myself as to how long I've been standing and waiting. My iPod trick no longer works after more than twenty minutes of waiting. I start hating myself for not walking the twenty five minutes between the express stop and my apartment.

5. Acceptance: Fine, I think, as I run to the middle of the parallel facing platform. A G has pulled into station. You win, God. I'll take the fucking G home and walk two blocks.

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