When the PA finally admitted that the Red Line was not coming, that all should pack onto the Brown Line-oh the looks that were thrown! If things were there to punch besides fellow annoyed passengers (the camraderie was palpable), oh the punches that would have been thrown. But, there were not, so the punches were saved for later, stored inside for the creation of hernias and aneurysms ten to twenty years down the road.
And we all shuffled stiffly onto the Brown Line, headed far past our stop, where we could find a Red Line going the opposite direction and backtrack to our desired stop. The train, of course, was packed-with people as well as tension.
One stop passed and the Brown Line train's PA belched forth more helpful advice. That the Red Line was now running, that we all could happily get off at the next stop, board an oncoming Red Line, and get to the stop where we so desperately needed to be. There was also an apology for inconvenience-an apology that mattered little to the crowd that would have surely crucified the PA, if only a PA could feel pain.
But, the stop came. We unboarded at the next stop to await the Red Line. We unboarded and waited and waited. And once more, the fists clenched and teeth gritted and eyes burned holes. And this time, the annoyance of our already familiar delay was perpetuated by the constant high pitched pounding of a drill into steel rails. A pounding that seemed pointless, but surely had some semblance of a reason (or perhaps these were mad men in hard hats pounding-hellbent on keeping us uninformed). A pounding that only stopped long enough to let the PA say, "Attention Red line riders," before it cut back in and drowned out all unannoying sounds.
And, it was at this point, that I smiled. You have to. Because the whole thing was ridiculous. There was a fear of standing too close to someone, especially when word finally leaked from the PA through the noise of the drill on steel that the Red Line was indeed coming, but that it was indeed running express, and therefore it would indeed be bypassing most of the stops we all wanted to get to, but that a following Red Line train would soon arrive shortly after-twenty minutes shortly after. Oh, the clenching, oh the gritting, the angry looks. You could feel the ravenous desire to turn towards someone near you and sink your teeth into their forehead.
It was madness. Sheer ridiculous madness. And I had to smile. Because I had somehow found a place to stand directly underneath a mad man pounding on rails with a high powered drill. How ridiculous it all was really-like we were all Atlas-that punching in to work was holding the world up-that if we were twenty minutes late, ten minutes late, five minutes late, or one minute late the world would fall. When, in all reality perhaps a phone wouldn't be answered, perhaps a number wouldn't be added, perhaps a hamburger wouldn't be made. How important it all was.
How ridiculous the comedy. Even the fact that we could be fired for this was funny. A dark comedy, to be sure. But, a comedy just the same. As if we had control over the situation. I have left fifteen minutes early and have arrived fifteen minutes late and conversely have left fifteen minutes late and arrived fifteen minutes early. As if we were paid enough that we could actually afford more than a two dollar train ride. Oh, the comedy. You have to laugh. This whole thing is ridiculous. If it's not conditional, our idea of being on time is just ridiculous. And if time is indeed money, I sincerely think that money is ridiculous as well.
Originally Posted On Facebook.