the little engine that would

15 Nov
English: , spanning the Hudson River between N...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time to get back to “normal.”

I started going back to work last week.  Unfortunately, the trains were suspended so every single person who normally takes a train from NJ into NY was now boarding the bus I happened to be taking (or so it felt).  My commute suddenly doubled to three hours one way, exaggerated by the unnecessary, such as a bus accident and a 5 car accident (both in the same morning drive) and a queasy stomach.  The latest “water cooler” (metaphorically speaking, as we actually don’t even have one) chatter was of bus lines, gate numbers and hours spent in transit.

I kept a brave front and did my best not to complain.  People were (and are) dealing with far worse situations than an extra hour to get to work.  Clearly, the effects of Sandy are much more far reaching and having an impact in so many other actually devastating ways. It is only a matter of time, though, before the perspective you bring to a situation gets completely clouded by the self-absorbed nature of your own “worst thing I’m personally going through at this moment in time” and all else goes out the window.

For me, that day was this past Tuesday.  The circumstance was massive lines and throngs of hundreds of people outside the bus gates at Port Authority.  I waited for almost an hour to be able to get on a bus and, when I finally did, it was standing room only.  There are few things more awkward than looming over people on a bus, sweating through your coat and scarf (they are blasting the heat for your comfort, after all), as the bus lurches to start and stop and you grab on to the seat back of some poor soul to prevent yourself from tumbling to the floor.  All of this was compounded by the fact that 1- I was holding my breath and praying I did not vomit all over the people sitting around me and 2- the woman standing next to me stepped on my foot with all of her body weight (it was a complete accident and I’m not holding a personal grudge but it hurt like hell and, two days later, I am still in pain).

What felt like 7 hours later I sprung from the bus virtually gasping for air.  But, don’t worry – I still had a 20+ minute walk ahead of me to straighten myself out.  (I’ll save the story about how my husband came to pick me up and happened to drive by as I was walking behind a car so completely missed me and drove past me.  Well, that’s basically the story.)

I cried twice that night.  Once – when I got in the car and the release and stress of the past three hours was officially put behind me.  Next – when I happened to check out our town’s local website later that evening and learned that, miraculously and unexpectedly, our train would be resuming limited service the following day.

As for the next morning, as I stood on the platform at 6:30AM shivering…well, I’ve never been so happy to see that old hunk o’ metal rounding the bend.

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2 Responses to “the little engine that would”

  1. Zack November 16, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Very honest and thoughtful post. Well done.

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