Wednesday, April 30, 2014

My Recurring Dream, As Rejected By Newsday

Here’s a train story that’s sort of a train story.  It actually reads more like a “Wonder Years” episode, but I like it and thought I'd share.  Newsday rejected it, but I hope you enjoy it.

I am a baseball fan.  Love everything about the game.  Well, that's not entirely true.  I don't like Alex Rodriguez, never did.  I don't like huge multi-year contracts, because the players always crumble long before the deals expire.  I don't like the DH, because I believe each position player is supposed to take his hacks.  I’m not sure about instant replay, so I won’t comment on that.  But other than those things, I love everything about the game.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Mr. Whipple Wants Two Seats. Sorry, Pal.

On the train, found a two-seater containing a man in the aisle seat and an empty seat next to the window. I say, "excuse me," and the guy gives me a nasty look. I continue to make eye contact with him and finally he gets up. One seat per person, JACK. You don't get to stare me down because you want two seats. 

By the way, he looked like Mr. Whipple from those Charmin commercials of the 70s. That made his indignation even more amusing to me. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Is It The Quiet Car Or The Silent Car?

Today’s TheTrainInVain blog post comes from Marsh, our Metro-North correspondent.  What started as a post about the quiet car turned into a debate between us.  Once again, Marsh called me the Anna Wintour of blogging.  I wear that title with honor.

On October 17, 2011, the MTA launched a new program on Metro-North rush hour trains where one car would be set aside as a “quiet car.” It would be an environment free of cell phones, loud conversations, beeps, and buzzes.  The LIRR soon rolled out the same program.

I planned to tell a story of how I was unnecessarily “shushed” on the quiet car by a woman who possessed bionic hearing or had an object lodged in an unfortunate place.  

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Angry Feedback Catches Me Off Guard

I was pretty darned excited about having a story published in Newsday.  I felt like this hobby of mine might get some publicity.  People would learn of the blog, join and share their own experiences, and we’d all live happily ever after.  Well, I did get some positive feedback and high-fives, as well as some new followers, but did I ever get some wallops.  Some Newsday readers took offense and interpreted the piece as being insensitive to a person who may have been hurting financially. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I Scam, You Scam, We All Scam

Train scams are top of mind for me lately.  You may have seen my post about the man who hid in the lavatory to avoid paying his fare.  There have been stories in the news lately about people using credit card skimming devices on ticket vending machines to steal your money.  What a wonderful world.

This has me thinking about how scamming is just a fact of life.  People try to beat fares, and the commuter rail organizations want to extract your money.  The LIRR is quite good at it, but they don't call their methods "scams."  They call them "policies."  Let's look at a few.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rush Home Early Days On The Train

It's the first night of Passover, which means a mad crush to the commuter rails for "Rush Ahoma."  If you're leaving early to try to make it home before sundown, I wish you a safe commute and a joyous holiday celebration.  As Moses said, "let my people go.... home."

For those of you who are getting on a train but ride the rails only on special occasions, here are a few things you can expect to see this evening.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Train Hazards

I often write about the kinds of things that can exasperate us on the train.  But have you ever thought about hazards to your belongings and to your person?  Dangers exist!  We MUST face these things in order to be safe!  Forewarned is forearmed, so read carefully.  This is more of a public service announcement than a blog post.

Monday, April 07, 2014

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Come On and Take a Free Ride

Tonight, I caught the 6:01 train from Penn Station.  The train was short, which means that there were only 8-10 cars instead of the usual twelve, which means more people standing.  I was one of them.  Standing in the vestibule with several other men, we were outside the lavatory.  One of the men had a suspicious look about him.  He was looking around, like he was up to something.  Being the observant and curious person that I am, I started watching him.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Interesting Characters of the Third Quarter

In previous posts, I presented the interesting train characters of the first and second quarter.  They made up the first six months of a Long Island Rail Road pin-up calendar.  To refresh your memory:

January: Six Pack Guy
February: End It All Guy
March: Footloose and Fancy Free Gal
April: Medical Emergency Guy
May: Slither Around Everyone Waiting For Doors To Open Guy
June: Vicious Newspaper Consumption Guy

I realize as I write that the characters are mostly male.  I feel very bad about my sexist calendar.  I will try to include more women in the fourth quarter.  We are nothing at TheTrainInVain if not inclusive. 

And now, without further ado, here are the interesting characters of the third quarter.

The Sniffer

On the train, woman next to me is reading and has smelled her book several times. Perhaps it is a scratch and sniff book. If so, I hope she's reading about flowers and not deep into "50 Shades of Grey."

Scratch and Sniff Woman. That is a new one. Maybe she will make the Train Characters pin-up calendar I'm planning.