I said it would never happen to me, but life had other plans I guess. Being a kid born and raised in Brooklyn, New York I would have bet my current house that I would have never moved to New Jersey. It’s not for me. The vibe, the space, the people and above all, the commute. Unfortunately for me, I fell victim to a quote that my mother frequently used as I grew up …
“When you make plans, God laughs.” Ain’t that the truth.
Fast forward 33 years of my life, I’m married and have a baby on the way. This all prompted a move to the suburbs. I was no match for my wife and I sure as hell don’t want to be stuck paying a nanny bill in Brooklyn Heights, which is probably the equivalent to another mortgage payment. It’s time to grow up, get a big ass house and use the excuse of “priorities” to justify my move from a 15 minute commute to New York City from luxurious Brooklyn Heights to a 1 hour + commute from Clark, New Jersey.
Now, before I totally shit on the Garden State, I will say that I f’n love my house … when I’m in it though. It’s way better than having an expensive one bedroom where my wife and I have no personal space and have to battle over who gets the living room TV. I’m over it.
Speaking of being “over” something, let’s get to the point of this blog – I’M OVER NJTRANSIT, YO! Straight up over that shit. It hasn’t even been 2 weeks of this new commute and I’ve already experienced a damn near 4 hour commute home because some random ass bridge decided not to work. I’ve never seen so many people scramble in pure misery in my life. Not to mention, it’s too cold not to wear a semi-heavy coat, so not only are you packed like a bunch of sardines in an underground tube, but you’re sweating your fucking balls off while you do it. Everyone stinks. You got the crazies still claiming their territory on the train and everyone is pissed off.
So this was my day …
It first started with a text from my wife’s cousin, Donna, who has the inside track on all things NJ Transit. She loved sending me this text more than she loves her children in my opinion:
From there I broke the news to my wife. “Hey babe, there’s 60 minute delays on the train.” She didn’t believe me initially because it’s a scientific fact that all wives think their husbands are wrong or are misinterpreting something. Naturally, she confirmed my discovery, didn’t apologize for doubting me and then gave me, a foreigner to NJ Transit lines, a game plan. That game plan was to take the PATH, which unbeknownst to me, is in fact, the 10th circle of hell. This was shot shortly after confirming the game plan provided by my illustrious and very pregnant wife.
Upon entering the PATH I immediately knew something was wrong. The lines were far too drawn back. Initially I had thought someone had jumped on the tracks to end their commute prematurely or maybe a homeless person was taking a dump on the 3rd rail, but it was neither. Essentially, I was late to the party or in layman’s terms, I was royally fucked for the foreseeable future. Train after f’n train passed me by. I even tried to position myself by the average spot of where each train stopped so I was right by the door, but even then I couldn’t get on due to NO ROOM. It started to get dark. The subway may have had lights, but the hopes and dreams of the commuters among me were as bleak as the New York Mets franchise.
NOT ONE … NOT TWO … NOT THREE … NOT FOUR … NOT FIVE … NOT SIX … NOT SEVEN … BUT EIGHT death carts passed me by. And of course, being a dude from Brooklyn, I had no idea if Journal Square or Hoboken got me to the right connection on the PATH. As it turned out, none of that mattered because after the 7th train I didn’t give a royal fuck what direction I was going in as long as it was forward. There was even this one guy that would always stick his head super far out the tracks to see if the “train directly behind us” was actually directly behind us. As miserable I was at that moment, this guy cheered me up because you could tell that with every train that passed that he started to question his life choices more and more. He probably went home and divorced his wife on the spot.
After I got on the Hoboken Train I got stuck in the middle of the cart. There was an older lady in front of me so I forfeited my position to allow her to hold onto the disease ridden poll so that she didn’t get stomped out like Mufasa in the Lion King as we entered the tunnel to NJ. While this was very noble of me and a testament to my upbringing, it put me at a major disadvantage. Ya see, I’m not tall. At 5’7 I was left alone in the middle of the cart with only my superior center of gravity to keep me in place. In a last ditch effort, I was able to put my right hand to the upper right of the cart where the map section is located. This didn’t last long because I have large triceps due to the fact that I lift bro. I swiftly had to abandon this as my interior delts started to fire up and after many minutes I was regulated to bending my knees slightly and concentrating on my core. This was my view …
Below is the woman I sacrificed myself for. As for the dude, this guy was talking to his friend the entire time. His friend claimed that he was going to the gym once they hit Hoboken. I call bullshit here because he indeed did not look like he even lifts.
After using every muscle in my body to not fall on the fine people of NJ behind me, I landed in Hoboken. Again, I had zero idea where to transfer, but I honestly didn’t care as I was relieved to be off that train. My first thought was to record a message to my wife letting her know that I was okay and in good spirits.
After getting off the train I followed signs to NJ TRANSIT and of course, this was completely wrong because I needed to transfer to the PATH train heading back to Newport. At this point I was completely defeated. I asked a Conductor/Security Guard what the fuck I had to do and he gave me well thought out directions. I repeated them to myself so that I could build up confidence that my hell night would soon be over.
After boarding this empty train like a loser I completed my trip to both transfer stops and FINALLY met up with my wife at Newark Penn Station. She was as beautiful as she was the first time I saw her and on our wedding day. At that moment I had a moment of clarity where I reminded myself why this commute and this move to New Jersey was all worth it. I’ve never been more adamant that the decision we made to buy a house in New Jersey to raise our family was the right move.
I then entered Newark, Penn Station.
… and just like that all those warm thoughts were thrown straight out the window and into the abyss. This was absolute hell. I had never in my life witnessed a scene of mass chaos due to transit delays quite like this. It was pure, unadulterated anarchy. You had bums, suits, mothers, fathers and children fighting for survival. In that moment I could only think of one thing, The Titanic. This is what it must have been like when the unsinkable ship was heading straight to the bottom of the Atlantic. It didn’t matter if you were rich or poor, we were all the same in that moment, just a bunch of losers who could be living in New York City instead of New Jersey.
If my wife wasn’t with me, I totally would have pulled a Cal Hockley and grabbed the first kid I saw (I’m kidding, it was in the movie … relax) and pushed my way to the front of the line for the train heading to Rahway Station. Here’s the clip …
“I HAVE A CHILD! I HAVE A CHILD! PLEASE … I’M THE ONLY THING SHE HAS IN THE WORLD!!”
Unfortunately for me (this is a trend), I didn’t have a kid (yet), but I did have my pregnant wife, so we did the next best thing which was to get on the closest train we could that went in relatively the same direction. That was the Cranford Train, which is the town over from us. We used her pregnancy card to get a prime time spot and the Conductor didn’t even check tickets, which was the least he could do for a group of people whose day was completely ruined.
Finally, we arrived in the town over!
Here’s Cranford, which again, is not my town.
After that we went downstairs to hail an Uber. After 4 minutes of waiting we got a 4.9 Star Rated driver, which brought my spirits and confidence up.
He was kind and was ever so curious about our travels after I informed him of our journey to require his service.
Uber Driver: Where are you coming from?
My wife laughed at that joke, which was honestly the best part of my day because very rarely does she find me funny. It takes a lot for her to give me credit, so this was a big win. In a way, it made the 3 1/2 hours of hell worth it.
After arriving to our car, we got in and drove home in shame. We laughed. We cried. We cancelled any plan we had planned for that evening. We didn’t care though, because we were home. Home. Sweet. F’n. Home. Follow my journey of misery on INSTAGRAM @yourcommutesucks
At least today started of well ..
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