New York Transportation

Thursday afternoon at work we all started getting IMs, phone calls and emails from friends and family warning us that there was “something going on with the subways.” The story is old news by now, but the general idea being that someone might blow up some trains in the near future. Which, I guess, is always true. I had a lot of conversations with myself about how, really, this is different from any other day. But it doesn’t mean that I felt comfortable about my commute that night. Many of my coworkers decided to just hoof it home, but I’m about 150 blocks uptown, so that was out for me.

I did some clock watching, because I knew Damon was already on the trains. He has a long commute, which meant he probably didn’t hear the news and would be blithely riding uptown for about an hour. So I left him a message telling him to call me and just stayed put at my desk. I knew I’d feel better about getting on the train if he was already safely home. Of course, I got home myself without incident.

But Damon and I were talking about New Yorkers’ reactions. My coworkers who’ve lived here for a long time seen pretty unconcerned. It’s unhip around here to be worried about being safe. You have to be bold or you don’t fit in.

This came into play again last night. It was raining all day — anywhere from a drizzle to a downpour. Damon went out for drinks with some coworkers, one of whom fancies himself The King of Cool, had many many drinks. As they moved from one place to another in the dark and the rain, this guy (David) kept dashing across the street and then rolling his eyes when the rest of them hung back, looking for more reassurance that the crossing was safe.

Fortunately they arrived safely at their final destination. But aftewards when Damon was heading home to his train he wound up being an eye witness when someone else was not so fortune.

As he was nearing a curb at the corner, a woman dashed past him and into the street, against the light. It was dark and raining pretty hard. I’m sure she was trying to get where she was going as quickly as possible, considering the weather. A cab came around the corner and hit her square on. He said she smashed into the windshield and then flipped over the top of the cab and landed in the street behind it.

When he got home to tell the story he was wrecked. He said the woman had flown up in the air like in a sprawl, as if she didn’t have a bone in her body. This is the same thing that happened to Damon’s Dad all those years ago, so it was a terrible thing for him to watch it happen to someone else. Damon called 911 and as they waited for help (which came really quickly — all credit to the NYPD) she came around, although she was completely disoriented. Damon’s Dad and his family were not so fortunate. I don’t know what will happen to the woman, I hope she’s okay. I guess we’ll find out if the police call, they took Damon’s name and number as a witness.

It’s all coincidental, of course. But it’s been unsettling. Sometimes I really miss Ohio.


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