I Survived The Commute Of November 15th, 2018.

I survived it, but this blog is not just about me, it’s about all of us.  You know how the Marines have that slogan, “The Few, The Proud, The Marines“?  Well, we have our own slogan now and it goes a little something like this …

The Many, The Miserable, The Commuters“.

It was a commute that will live in infamy.  I could hear the cries in the distance and by a distance, I mean Twitter and via Direct Message on my Instagram.  People were suffering.  Distress signals were being sent across the tri-state area.   Commuters were jam packed, ass cheeks were touching and deodorant was fading away at a rapid pace.  It was as if time stood still and refused to budge and the only direction it was moving was backwards … delays … delays .. delays.

I’m not sure who to blame here.  It would be easy to look at the jabronis over at NJTRANSIT, The Port Authority and the LIRR and point the finger, but before we get to those assclowns, I think we need to start at the beginning and where this commute from hell started – the weather forecast and those good for nothing meteorologists.

Snow flurries?  Only a few inches?  WHAT DRUGS ARE YOU ON, BRO?  You smokin’ those funny cigarettes while staring at the green screen?  What kind of technology did you use exactly to determine this?  You using one of those toy magic 8 balls to do your day-job?

Will there be a lot of snow tomorrow?” – Meteorologist

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Morons.  Confidently telling everyone that it would only be a “coating”.  The fuckin’ audacity.  I WORE RUNNING SHOES TO WORK.  You know where they are now?!? IN THE FUCKIN TRASH CAN, THAT’S WHERE.  These people should have to work outside today.   Turn the heat off in their office.   Let them freeze.  Have them sit in New York Penn Station during rush hour with a sign that reads “I Predicted 1-3 Inches Yesterday

… but I’m not gonna blame them entirely.  Not gonna do that.  Now that I think of it, at least the weather is unpredictable.  You can only PREPARE so much.  It’s not like the weather straight up lied to your face like those clowns of NJTRANSIT did.  You wanna talk about just being a complete embarrassment, look no further.  These idiots actually sent out a Tweet that said they were prepared …. Ummmm … GET THE F’ OUTTA HERE HOMIE, THE MINESTRONE SOUP MY WIFE MADE ME IS ICE COLD BECAUSE OF YOU!  I seriously had to show the tweet to my co-workers and have them pinch me to make sure I wasn’t dreaming … I mean, JUST LOOK AT THIS RIDICULOUS STATEMENT.  Unless this poor fucking guy in the photo was the ONLY person working yesterday for NJTRANSIT, then you’re straight up sitting on a throne of transit lies …

So first things first.  Whoever wrote that tweet or thought it would be a good idea, hit the bricks, pal.  It’s a wrap for you.

Folks, if yesterday was NJ TRANSIT being “prepared to manage the first winter weather storm of the season” then what happens when they’re not prepared?  Are we talking end games here?  The apocalypse?  Independence Day without Will Smith?  Is it gonna be like the Big Bang when the Dinosaurs got wiped out?  If we’re being honest, I bet the Dinosaurs wouldn’t even put up with that shit.  They’d welcome the fucking Asteroid.  Hell, there were a few times yesterday that I was rooting for a comet to crash right into the Atlantic.  Give me a 30 foot tsunami and a quick death. At least then I wouldn’t have to get on the train and listen to a conductor at the Port Authority advise people to take the train instead because “there are delays there too – but better delays“.  Yep, that’s a new term, “better delays”, a positive spin on being delayed.  You can’t make it up … and yes, that’s an actual quote sent from a fellow commuter to yours truly.

From my perspective, the actual events really started around 3:30PM.  Everyone in my office sprinted to the window like Usain Bolt to take boomerang videos as if they’d never seen snowfall before.  Idiots.  “OH MY GOD IT’S SNOWING!” … shut up, go back to your desk and crank out some excel.  The one exception to this was an Australian girl that had never seen snow before in her entire life.  Like ever, ever.  I told her that I had a similar experience when I saw my first homeless person taking a shit on the Subway Platform right before my eyes.  Welcome to New York City!  You’re gonna love it.  Cuz now you’re in Newwww Yooooorrrrkkkkkkkkkk……

Just like clockwork as the snow started to fall so did NJTRANSIT’s service.  Minute by minute, alert by alert we got told that there was gonna be delays for whatever amount of time.  I knew right then and there that I personally needed to determine a course of action.  It was either leave the office RIGHT THE FUCK NOW or I’m going to wait it out and leave after the anarchy ensued.   As it turned out, it just so happened that yesterday I had a work event planned.  Now typically I’d bail because I’m half a decade older than almost everyone who was going and it takes me 48 hours to recover from 3 drinks, however, in this case I figured it was in my best interest to go since I’ll be a Father in a few weeks and I’ll be locked away like Leonardo DiCaprio in “The Man In The Iron Mask“.  I was determined to make it out and make it out I did …

 

Now, remember those cries I mentioned hearing before?  You know how I said this blog isn’t just about me, it’s about all of us, well here’s the proof.  The cries started to really get loud as I crushed my 2nd vodka soda in the span of about 15 minutes.  My phone would not stop vibrating.  It was Twitter alerts, tags, text messages you name it, everyone wanted to share their story … like my old college friend, Lauren …

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My poor friend, Lauren.  She’s an innocent as they get, but today she was guilty.  Guilty of commuting during a snow storm and her sentence was a 4 hour bus ride to a part of NJ that I didn’t even know existed until she texted it to me.  Her bus got stuck in the snow, she couldn’t drive her own car home and had to take a surcharged Uber on a ride of shame.  Imagine that, you leave work at 2:30PM and get home at 9:30PM.  7 hours of nothingness.  She could have watched an entire Netflix Original Series, but instead, she probably just sat there like a loser refreshing Instagram and watching the same IG stories multiple times like a crazy person as her phone’s battery dipped below the 20% mark.

Then we got my buddy Steve who lives by me in NJ.  His description was detailed and precise.  He left early due to the snow and took an express bus by Port Authority standards that only lasted a little under 4 hours.  Get this, when the dude got to his next train it was ALSO delayed and after 5 hours of commuting he still wasn’t home …
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Wait a minute .. did you all read the last part of that?  They did WHAT?!

So I guess along his journey it was brought to his attention that there were people stuck on a bus since 2:15PM.  Not only that, but these poor fucks had to help SHOVEL OUT THE BUS after it got stuck in the snow.  Yea, you read that right.  The passengers, that paid to be driven on the bus are now outside shoveling its piece of shit ass out.  But wait!  There’s more …  these lucky individuals soon got told later by the same bus driver that they had to GET OFF the bus they just DUG OUT themselves because it was “unsafe”.

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So let me get this straight, being ON the bus is unsafe, but standing outside in the cold and digging out a multi-ton vehicle when you didn’t even wear fucking snow boots is just fine.  The bus driver be all like “Excuse me Miss, I know you’re wearing stilettos and might not have the greatest traction, but can you push behind the back wheel and let me know when to step on the gas?” YOU … GOTTA … LOVE IT.  Remember folks, this was NJTRANSIT and the rest of the City being prepared, which apparently means at some point during any commute you may or may not have to dig out a bus.  But hey, at least they probably got a discounted ticket of 10% off their ride! Huge win for humanity.

Now at this time I’m still at the bar telling jokes which everyone has to laugh at because I’m their Manager.  Just as I’m approaching another punchline I get interrupted by what turned out to be a barrage of notifications on my phone.  Apparently those 30 minute delays have now become 60 …. mother … fucking … minutes.  At that moment I did the only logical thing and ordered a double vodka sodski.  If NJTRANSIT wanted to double the amount of time we’d be delayed waiting for these trains, I was gonna double my alcohol intake.  CHEERS TO 60 MINUTES!

 

After some fun with the co-workers reality started to set in.  My brother offered his couch at my former residence in Brooklyn Heights, but I declined.  I felt it would be a cop out.  I owed the people this commute and I was gonna do it by any means necessary.   I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but what I did know is that there were photos like this going around the internet …

AIN’T THAT SOME SHIT.  Like rats in a cage.  F’n cattle.  You’d think these people were on line to see The Beatles … nope, just trying to get home to eat some shitty dry-ass meatloaf, watch TV for 30 minutes, fall asleep, then wake up and get their tired ass back on the train the next morning.  Groundhog’s Day ain’t a movie anymore, it’s real life.

Now, it’s important to call out that before I left the bar I was able to narrowly avoid disaster by turning down one of the worst ideas of all time.  One of my rocket scientist co-workers actually made the suggestion to “Just Uber home, bro.”  At this point, the vodka was starting do the thinking instead of my brain, so I actually looked up how much an Uber would run me …

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Yea, ummm … that’s a hard sell to the wife considering we have that thing called a mortgage and a child on the way.  “YO BABE, FUCK DIAPERS, LET THE KID SHIT IN HER PANTS, I’M CALLIN’ A FOUR HUNDRED DOLLAR UBER!“.  After a split second of consideration I made the Executive decision to pass.  #Adulthood.

After that terrible fucking idea I immediately started to seek out more information.  The tactic I used was very reliable and way more responsible than the Uber idea and totally not influenced by my 4th vodka soda.

I was going to source help from the internet ….

The responses I got were actually quite positive and the PATH Train was widely considered the only form of transportation that wasn’t a death trap.  I quickly bolted for the door …

Upon hitting the streets I realized that I was pretty much all alone in the dark on the wet streets of New York.  Where was everyone?  Did I miss the eye of the storm?  Is everyone else frozen to death?  After a few more blocks my mind started to wander a bit and I couldn’t help but think about how much this day paralleled the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” starring Jake Gyllenhaul.  It was only a matter of time before I had to take shelter in an abandoned library and wait for Dennis Quaid to come rescue me.

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Me looking at my mentions on Twitter
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TO THE PATH!!! GET TO THE PATH!!!

I ran sloppily on slush to make the PATH train and arrived just in time to be pleasantly surprised, but even more so than that, I was relieved to not be the last person left on the planet.  In fact, I went from zero to 60 in terms of my confidence level.  I had actually done it.  While everyone was on their 4th hour of commuting, I was within my first and had the fast-lane to my bed.  To say I felt smart at that moment would be a gross understatement.  I was officially the Einstein of Commuting or in simpler terms, a FUCKING GENIUS!

I was on cloud 9.  I took that PATH and made a perfect transfer to the Newark bound PATH TRAIN.   There was some random dude sleeping and taking up an entire row of seats, but everyone collectively didn’t care because at the end of the day, if it wasn’t him laying there, it would have been one of us.  I may have even started sucking my thumb in the fetal position.

Finally, I reached my arch nemesis, Newark Penn Station.  At this point I’m like 0-3 when entering this place as I still haven’t been able to take my actual train home from there, and tonight would be no different.  Rahway wasn’t happening, but good ol’ Cranford was.   11:08PM Train was my rescue vessel and at 10:52PM I had time to spare to indulge on Newark’s finest cuisine.

The ONLY thing open was this shitty Pizzeria with the saddest selection of food I’ve ever seen.  I put my hood on to avoid being seen by someone I know as I approached the counter.  There wasn’t a plain cheese slice in sight.  No Sicilian, no chicken rolls, NOTHING.  All that was left was what was quite possibly the most disgusting slice of pizza I’d ever laid eyes on, a mushroom slice.  Let me tell you, there was NO way possible these mushrooms were cooked, sauteed or even washed.  They were straight up rubber.  Around that same counter a group of us losers huddled and stared at these sad slices thinking the exact same thing – Who was going to be the first to order this garbage?  ……

Spoiler Alert!!! …  it was me because I’m a leader among men and at this point I had no shame.  I ordered that mushroom slice with a smile on my face and told the dude working to not even to heat it up.  This wasn’t for pleasure, this was for fuel.  It was the last leg and I needed carbs.  The Summer bod can wait, because this is the winter of misery and misery doesn’t deserve six pack abs …

On the train I was still receiving the cries of fallen commuters along the way.  People were still stranded.  They were ill-advised and left too early.  As it turned out, leaving at 3PM didn’t mean you were “beating the rush”, it meant you were completely fucked.  If you didn’t leave LATE, your ass was getting comfy for 4 hours+.  Luckily for me, 15 minutes on this train blew by super fast which meant that only one obstacle was left in my way, which was whether or not an Uber Driver would actually be available during this time.  If I’m telling the truth, I had my doubts and a wife at home that wasn’t coming to get me, so there was slight chance that your boy was gonna sleep at the train station and probably get mugged at some point during the night.

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IS ANYONE ALIVE OUT THERE?!!?!!?

About 45 seconds of pure panic my ride was finally connected.  A tear came down my cheek.  It was an 11 minute wait that felt like 3 hours.  As soon as I saw that beautiful black car all I could say was “Thank God”.  As far as I was concerned, my Uber driver was God and he was guiding me to Heaven’s gate in a Nissan Altima.  Amen.

Just as we turned the corner of my block the clock struck midnight.  It was officially tomorrow and I wasn’t Cinderella, I was a fucking loser that lived in New Jersey.  I, Nick Buono, a man who had a 15 minute commute since 2012 had now experienced a commute where he left for work on November 15th, 2018 and returned home on November 16th, 2018.  An entire day had changed … as did my life and the lives of many commuters forever.

Big shout out to all who made it possible below …

“STARTED MY COMMUTE YESTERDAY …

….. ENDED IT TODAY.”

If you enjoyed this please follow me on:

Follow me on TWITTER: @commutesucks

INSTAGRAM: @yourcommutesucks

 

One comment

  1. Wow!! Amazing Nick. You have a way with words. Hope your website and stories become a silver lining for the everyday commuting misery. And yep here’s to commuters rising up!

    Like

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