I had to take a trip to Brooklyn this week for a meeting. I haven’t been to Brooklyn in a while. I used to be there all the time but not these days. It’s always a bit of a pain traveling into NYC. Traveling around NYC isn’t too hard, they’ve got subways, busses, taxis, and bikes, but getting into NYC is always a question. Should I drive or take public transport? Driving is almost always faster and I’m not at the mercy of a train schedule but it’s also more expensive and can be more of a pain in the neck. Traffic and parking are two omnipresent problems in NYC. I decided on the train as I usually do.

It was the 8:55 AM train from Nanuet that I aimed for so that meant I left my house at about 8:20. I parked and made it to the platform and the ticket machines at about 8:45. I remember a couple of years ago there was an option on the ticket machines to buy a MetroCard and I hoped it was still there. Since I would be taking the subway it would be nice if could get the card in Nanuet instead of in NYC but that option isn’t there anymore. That meant I’d have to stop at another ticket machine once I got into the city.

The train came promptly ay 8:55 and I got on board. One of the reasons I decided on the train was that I could get some stuff done. I had my small notebook with me and I planned on writing some pithy sayings for my “Message Tee” comic strip. How does one write pithy sayings you ask? You sit there and try to think of them. I don’t find it very easy to write them. Over the last two months I’ve been trying to write a hundred of them so I can pick fifty two of them for next year’s comic. I aimed for about twice as many as I’d need so I could weed the weak ones out.

Since those pity sayings are not easy to do I find it hard to make myself sit down and write them. I used to write them as I went on walks but for the last year I haven’t been walking much and instead have been doing dumbbell workouts. So I’ve been behind on them and the train ride offered me a good opportunity to get some sayings written. I was on the same train going into Manhattan just a week before and got some stuff written. I was getting some stuff written again this morning but then the train stopped and didn’t start again.

It was about fifteen minutes into the ride I noticed the train was no longer making any noise and the cars outside were starting to build up at the train crossing. I noted that the time was 9:07. I wondered when we would get started again. The conductors didn’t know what was going on. I saw some flashing police light ahead at the train crossing and wasn’t sure if there was a problem outside or with the train. I could see the cars outside start to turn around and go the other way. I was not feeling confident I’d make my meeting on time.

I’m the type of person who likes to be on time. I get places early to make sure I’m not late. Even though I knew this meeting was really more of a drop by to fill out paperwork and therefore my being a little late wouldn’t matter it still irked me. Plus it was too much of a distraction for me to think up pithy sayings. It took us until 9:30 to get rolling again and we seemed to be rolling more slowly after that.

I was still distracted by the fact that I would be late but I managed to get some writing done. It helped that I was on the train with nothing else to do. Plus if I had been driving I would have got nothing done so I was glad I was on the train. Eventually we arrived at Secaucus Junction and I switched to a train that brought me into Penn Station. That’s a pretty painless process as there are no stops between Secaucus and Penn and trains run pretty frequently between the two.

It was about 10:40 when I arrived at Penn and I quickly made my way to the A train but first I had to stop at the MetroCard machine. I like the old days when all I had to do was go to the subway booth that had a person in it, hand over cash, and get some subway tokens. Now I had to get into this amorphous line with people kind of milling around. There were three machines in a row and the one in front of me opened up so I stepped up to it. I still have no idea if I cut the line or not since there was no clear line but no one said anything to me. I think I spent about $6.10 for two rides. I had to pay a dollar extra for since I wasn’t refilling a card. After the two rides I’d still had a few useless dimes on the card. It all felt like a scam. The MetroCard has always felt like scam to me. Tokens were more honest. You knew what you were paying for and what you were getting.

I took the A train to Brooklyn, switched to the G at Hoyt-Schermerhorn, walked to my meeting and was out of there by noon. That might have been the only part of the trip that went smoothly. The next train from Penn to Secaucus was at 12:29. Could I make that one? It was a close call but the next train after that one was 1:41. I gave it a try. I hustled to the station and luckily didn’t have to wait too long for the G. I made it back to Hoyt-Schermerhorn and waiting across the tracks for me was not the A train but the C train. The local. Waiting for the express would probably not save me any time so I got on.

I checked the time and it was around 12:10. I had eight stops to go until 34th Street Pen Station. At an optimistic two minutes between stops that got me there three minutes before my train left. I was watching the clock at every stop as my optimism faded. When I finally arrived at Pen. It was 12:30 and I knew I had a wait. I had brought my pocket camera with me for just such an occasion.

I spent the next forty-five minutes walking around the streets of NYC taking photos. Usually that’s not a winter activity but I was there with time to kill and so I did. Not a bad way to spend some time. I eventually got a train to Secaucus and finished up my writing in the fifteen minutes at the station there. This left me the train ride back to Nanuet to listen to some music. All in all I lost a couple of races with time but that was okay. I got some stuff done.

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