Thursday, June 02, 2005

Railroadrage

The grief I am giving myself, in my own head, about finishing the discussion of my weekend is throwing a huge black cloud over everything else I want to write, which is mainly about how nauseatingly unfair life can be sometimes. Especially when you are a girl wearing pants and a skirt at the same time and you want to get home on public transportation, and girls who are wearing skirts with no pants under them and, worse, tube tops throw a big wrench (a big fucking floral-print wrench, with hot pink accents and a fun fruity scent) into the works.

But more on that later.

To finish up my weekend: I went to a barbecue at Kai's nursing friend (and now coworker)'s house, which was fun in a way that occasionally made me feel like the little kid allowed to sit at the grownup table at Thanksgiving. The majority of the nurses-to-be are older and married, which I suppose I shouldn't hold against them because it's not technically a character flaw. All the nurses and their spouses are great people, but there's a balance to married couple events that I haven't quite perfected. I always seemed to be on the wrong side of the metaphorical gender volleyball net. For example, when the women were doing something with brownies inside, I was helping put up a tent. Not that Kai wasn't around too--I just don't think there's any way to prevent feeling like a kid on your cool uncle's heels when you're 22 and hanging out with a bunch of married thirty-somethings. Not that I didn't have a good time. It's just weird.

From the barbecue to the Hot Dad's show, I traveled from the land of friendly twosomes to the kingdom of awkward spousal introductions. That's all I'm going to say about that. I will say, however, that I'm a little in love with the lead singer of the band, who is of appropriate age and marital status and everything (I think). I'm going to put our MetroNorth-forged friendship to the test and see if he can hook it up.

Which brings me nicely to the point of this post, and the root of my anger.

The MetroNorth. Nothing more than a fancy name for a few regular old trains, that run on regular old tracks to and from the great buzzing beehive of New York City. You drive to your station, you purchase a ticket, you board your train, and you are whisked to Grand Central Station or any number of stops en route. Or, perhaps, you wish to travel north from the city. In this case, the process is much the same; purchase ticket, board train, sit down, exit train at desired location.

Let's imagine you and your friend want to ride on the MetroNorth railroad from, say, Grand Central Station to--lemme just pull a station stop right out of the air, here--Beacon, NY. You purchase your tickets in the station. Easy. You investigate any number of up-to-the-minute monitors to find your track number. Simple. You board your train. Cake.

Prior to the train actually departing the station, though, maybe you second guess yourselves. But fear not! The MetroNorth has built-in, fail-safe mechanisms to insure you will reach your destination in both a timely and comfortable manner. Before your train moves so much as an inch, the stops it is making will be announced while you sit in the station, then again ten minutes before it leaves, then again five minutes before it leaves, then once every minute until the train departs the station, and then again at 125th street just in case you really, really made a mistake and need to get off while you're still in the city.

But how could that possibly happen? You are obviously capable individuals. You managed to secure tickets, you have disposable income enough to buy the gum you are cracking directly in your fellow passenger's ear, you have successfully dressed yourself in an outfit that one could safely bet you found on a Bratz doll, and you have even planned a jaunt into the country which you are discussing loud enough for the whole car to hear. (Not that we mind! We on the MetroNorth are happy for you!) A child could navigate the MetroNorth, so an adult like yourself should be able to get to Beacon with nary a hitch.

Still you fear you are not on the right train? Despite the fact that you are literate women who are probably at least a year or two out of college, who should no doubt be able to read a track number and then match that same number to the giant painted number next to an actual track? Simply question the man on your right. He is a fine, upstanding business man who will assist you (though he has not spoken to other commuters of your age and gender in the nine months they have been riding the train together) by stuttering out his bottomless knowledge of the rail system as he gazes, hypnotized, at your spray-tanned thighs.

Oh no! You have boarded the wrong train! Poor little lovelies, it'll be okay. In the event of a mishap as dire as this, just contact the conductor.

He will sit next to you, his blue polyester shirt blushing navy at the armpits. You will giggle at him, and adjust your tube tops. You will explain that the monitor DID say your train was on track 32, you SWEAR. You don't understand how everyone else got on the right train when someone so clearly made a mistake. The conductor will wipe his damp brow and say he'll see what he can do.

The MetroNorth cherishes its tiny, miniskirted passengers. Should you count yourselves among their fold, don't fret if you find yourself aboard the wrong train.

The conductor of your mistaken ride will arrange to stop the entire locomotive for you.

Please do not roll your eyes at the other passengers as you exit the train. They may be irritated that their own journey has been delayed by your divine and fragrant exit, but they're wearing both a skirt and pants at the same time, so who the fuck do they think they're kidding, anyway? Besides, their glasses are all fingerprinty and they probably don't even own foundation.

The conductor will usher you gently from your car to the stairs of unscheduled station stop, where he will watch you ascend like angels into the climate-controlled bliss of Croton-Harmon's waiting room. There, undoubtedly, a new railroad-employed admirer will herd you to your destination.

We hope you've enjoyed riding the MetroNorth.

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy Cacace, I wish to hurl superlatives at you! Your writing is the BEST! Your wit, the sharpest! So acerbic and snarky! Your humor is the finest!

Kathy Cacace, you are a respite and an oasis, for public-trans-commuters everywhere!

-- Ms. Texas

2:25 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Aww, shucks. If I ever marry an oil tycoon, then bump him off once he writes me into the will, then use the profits to buy that godforsaken railroad, and then allow only approved people to use it (of whom there will be about fifteen), you'll be on the list.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous mombi said...

please put me on the list (i'd love to be at the top of someone's list!). i can't guarantee that i won't use any powers of persuasion at my disposal to get whatever it is i think i want, however.

with the right conductor, a skirt over pants could be very powerful persuasion... maybe the next Hot Dad will be conducting the train.

2:41 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Don't worry, you've been safely on the list since the first potato soup day.

2:42 PM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

Yay! train post. I design trains and every now and then part of my observational research/ 'ethnography' is to travel and actually TALK to 'said folk' you mentioned. Knowing that I am so far behind on my sunless tanner trivia, this one would have stumped me.

One time an older Lady cussed me out because I wouldn't promise her that I would propose a "DJ BOOTH" in my next concepts.

4:25 PM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

Could you imagine the thousands of homicides that would result over the scuffle for who controls the music on a public train?

What trains do need are:

1. Foot rests on the back of every seat

and

2. Hockey-style penalty boxes.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Andy said...

Kathy, I love you the most and I want to see you now that I'm back in the city. I'll be here until June 14th.

10:54 AM  
Blogger Kunaxa said...

I love it.

Do you suppose the penalty box is akin to a 'PROBATION' (and windowless)zone? You get to send 'annoying' passengers (anyone who's deathly HOT, anyone who's sweating, anyone who smells and anyone who talks to themselves) to sit in solitude for the rest of the train ride. A two-way mirror might be nice too, that way THEY can stare at their sins and the rest of us can observe them.

4:24 PM  

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