Tuesday, March 16, 2010
No Ordinary Commute
By Mike Lauterborn
© 2010. All rights reserved.
May/June 2010 issue
For many of us who ride the train to and from Fairfield, the trip is uneventful – even mundane. Then, there are those other times…
It was mid-morning on Halloween and Fran, her husband and their two elementary school-aged girls were bound for a football game at Fordham University. They were running late and a little on edge knowing that they’d need to get home quickly afterwards for trick-or-treating. Initially unable to find four seats together, they started to move to the next car. Coming the other direction, a band of young adults dressed as Sesame Street muppets -- Big Bird, Bert, Ernie, Elmo, Cookie Monster and Oscar the Grouch -- quite suddenly burst into the show’s theme song, "Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?" Everyone in the car was immediately elevated to a different place and a cheery Sesame Street vibe resulted.
It was August 2003. Maryann had been in the city all morning and was returning home. Five minutes in, while still underground, the train lost power and came to a halt. She thought little about it as this was common and expected the ride to resume shortly.
“Ladies and gentlemen. There’s been a major power outage along the East coast,” the conductor announced.
The immediate thought was terrorism, though passengers just busied themselves chatting, awaiting further word. Ultimately everyone filed from the idle train to an emergency exit and the street.
They were in the East 80’s. With cell lines jammed, Maryann phoned her husband from a pay phone. He arranged an overnight at a friend’s apartment on the West side. In high heels, she made the 20-block trek to the 9th floor flat. Other stranded friends joined them and soon they were enjoying melting ice cream on a terrace and surveying the dark city, only the indomitable Trump “T” visible in the distance.
Snakes On A Train
It was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. The 4:54 out of Stamford was packed. Shortly after Amy boarded, two men and a young woman with a 'dog' in tow stepped on.
The woman was very pregnant. Amy offered her seat. They were headed from Maine to Colorado to tell relatives the joyous news.
Amy noticed the ‘dog’ looked stressed and offered some water. “He’s fine,” the woman said, “just edgy from the train and an elevator ride at the station.” She continued, “We’re saving him from being put down… as he’s half-wolf. And if you think the dog’s hot and bothered, that’s nothing compared to what the python in my bag is feeling.”
The ENTIRE car fell silent. “Did you say you had a snake in your bag?” Amy asked. “Yes, it’s a Ball Python. But don't worry, my bag is zipped… it can't get out.”
Amy recalled another commute wherein she saw a young man throwing up into a baseball cap while holding a bouquet of roses… but that’s a story for another day.
The pair are very excited about their collaboration, as their personalities and interests are very similar and they play off each other creatively. For Mike, C.C. will be invaluable in keeping him organized and managing his online-based extensions.