On the train home this evening, I sat next to a woman who after one stop, turned to me and asked, “Is this train going to New York?” Unfortunately it wasn’t. She had gotten on the wrong train.
It made me think back to a few times when I got on the wrong train. When I first started commuting to work, I got on a train in Brewster that apparently went express after a few stops and didn’t stop at White Plains. For the record, that was the first and only time I had ever been on a Harlem Line train that did not make a stop there. I was lucky enough to have a really nice conductor… he stopped the express train at White Plains just so I could get off. People at work joked around, if I looked more like my age or older (as opposed to looking like a 15-year-old or something) would he have still done the same thing?
Another time I got on the wrong train was when I was riding the Long Island Railroad from Northport station. Northport has only one track, so unless you are observant and notice the direction the train pulls into the station, you don’t necessarily know in which direction it will be heading. I arrived at the station exactly at the time my train was supposed to leave. There was a train on the tracks waiting, and my friend who dropped me off was like, “Run! You can catch it!” I ran my little ass off and did in fact catch it… Only to find out as the doors closed that the train was heading to Port Jefferson, as opposed to Penn Station. My train was late, and was waiting on an other track outside the station for this train to leave so it could pull up. I managed to get off at King’s Park, the next station…
I didn’t, nor do I even now know where the hell King’s Park is, but I knew I certainly didn’t want to be there. I think this was back before I had a cell phone, so I was looking for a telephone booth to call my friend for help. A scruffy looking old man stood in front of the phone booth. By the time I awkwardly got him to move away from it, I saw that the phone receiver had been cut off by a vandal, and there was just a wire hanging where it should have been. Yeah, that was a spectacular afternoon.