Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Simple Act of Decency On The Subway

Recently, I posted on social media about something I saw on the subway:

On the subway, standing next to an elderly man and a young man in a suit. Train stops and a seat opens. Young man sits down. 30 seconds later, he sees the elderly man and gives up his seat to him. 

Faith in humanity restored.

This post whittled it down to something simple, but there's more to it, for me anyway.  Let me explain.

Friday, July 25, 2014


Today, I spent many hours in the hospital visiting someone very close to me.  He had surgery to remove a malignant growth.  Tonight he is home and well on the road to recovery.  I'm very grateful for the attention and good care he received from top quality doctors and nurses.

Why do I post this on TheTrainInVain, you ask?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Don't Let The Blog Bugs Bite

Some folks have told me about a technical glitch they've seen on this blog site.  It happens when you use an iPhone to open a blog entry from a browser like Safari or Chrome.  When the post appears it will be small and hard to read, requiring "pinch and zoom" to see the text.  When you pinch and zoom, the site refreshes the screen with the second most recent blog post.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

There Are RULES! The Non-Functional Walk

As I got off the subway and made my way to the LIRR one recent evening, I walked down a crowded hallway at my usual breakneck pace.  I have tunnel vision when trying to make a train, and will pretty much step over anything and everything, like OJ Simpson (without the murder rap) in the Hertz commercials.  Catching my train and not waiting another 15-20 minutes at the Penn Station rat hole for the next train is important.  When anyone who is able-bodied gets in my way, I get angry.  In other words, someone perfectly capable of following the RULES who does not follow the RULES is a RULES VIOLATOR.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

LIRR Strike Averted!

After my rant the other day about Andrew Cuomo living in an ivory tower, I'm going to give the New York Governor his due in averting a workers' strike.  He realized he made a misstatement, got involved, and led both sides to a solution.  With his leadership, the job got done.  Well done, Governor.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Monday, July 14, 2014

How The Heck Am I Going To Get To Work?

This potential strike is looming heavily.  As the two sides continue to pout and stand on opposite sides like 5th grade boys and girls at a dance, I realize just how royally screwed 299,999 fellow commuters and I will be when these selfish jerks strangle the entire region.  I wonder if they've even given a moment's thought to how much damage this strike is going to cause.  It's not just the commuters.  It's the ancillary businesses.  The taxi stands, coffee shops, newspaper and sundry shops.  Everyone loses.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

The Secret Stash

Earlier today, I took the subway from downtown Manhattan to 34th Street to connect with the LIRR and make my way home.  The 8th Avenue side is currently a dungeon, as they’re doing a lot of construction for the build out of the new Moynihan Station at the former Farley Post Office site.  The new Moynihan Station will likely be the most beautiful train station that I’ll never use.  It has a majestic staircase on 8th Avenue that will cause endless inconvenience and frustration for travelers with bags, but I’m deviating from topic.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Thursday, July 03, 2014

When a Scam May Not Be a Scam

In an earlier post, Another Fare Evasion Story, I explored some train scams that riders pull to avoid paying fares. One of those scams was relayed to me by a colleague who I gave the moniker, "Yahska."

Yahska told me that he'd seen a passenger get on the train, whip out a seat check card that indicated his ticket was already taken, and put it in the little slot in front of him.  It seemed a pretty effective and clever scam.

Now I'm not so sure it was underhanded.

When I got on the train this morning, the number of travelers was pretty light.  It is the Thursday before July 4th weekend, and many people take an extra few days around the holiday.  I had my choice of seats.

As I got comfortable, I realized I'd sat near a small group of older folks who were very chatty.  At first I thought nothing of it.  A few minutes later, the conductor checked tickets and put a seat check card in front of me.

Soon though, their conversation became annoying.  They complained loudly about everything.  I had to move.  Quiet is golden in the morning.

I collected my stuff and instinctively grabbed the seat check card.  When I got to my new seat, I put the seat card in the slot in front of me.

Is it possible that Yahska saw something similar?  Did he see a man relocate when he couldn't take his previous seat accommodations anymore?  We'll never know.  But if this were a trial, my scenario would create reasonable doubt in the prosecution's story.  This juror finds Yahska's defendant innocent.

Happy commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

The Chatty Subway Conductor

Anyone who regularly takes commuter or subway trains knows that conductor announcements vary.  Sometimes, a conductor is just going through the motions and you can barely understand a word he says.  Sometimes, a conductor makes funny comments.  Sometimes, a conductor is hostile and yells at passengers.

And then, sometimes you get a conductor who is super chatty.  Recently, I was making my way from the LIRR Atlantic Terminal in Brooklyn to Downtown Manhattan on the subway.  The conductor was so chatty that I took notes on my iPhone to remember his comments.  In a span of about 6-7 stops, he said a lot.  Perhaps he had a script in front of him.

And Now, Deep Thoughts

Earlier today, I was on the train, seated near the center where people sit in seats that face each other. There were several hearing impaired folks, and they were having a lengthy conversation in sign language.  

If they were in the quiet car, I wonder if another person would have walked over and "SHHed" them in sign language.