Tomorrow I will be celebrating the end of my eighth full month commuting to work by Metro North. In that time I have encountered many different people. Some I’ve talked to, others I just watch and observe. I might be a little crazy, but I give them sort of nicknames in my head based on their observed traits. Here are some of the people I see regularly:
Ginger: Apparently we both ride the same train every morning. Long before I knew this, I would always pass by her at White Plains train station every morning. She’d be going to the opposite stairwell, while I went down to the one closer to the buses and taxis. The nickname was derived from her red hair, although I’ve noticed that the shade changes from time to time. It does somewhat bother me that her nickname is really a falsehood, not something that reflects her as a person, but reflects the choice of hair dye color for that month. Anyways, she always smiles when she passes by me. One morning when the train car I normally sit in was full, I wandered back and discovered that we ride the same train. She told me that day that seeing me every morning wearing my cute cat hat makes her smile.
Embroidery Lady: She embroiders stuff while waiting at the train station. That is about it. The only amusing thing that I note about her is that her voice is a bit deeper and lower than I would have expected from her appearance. She has also told me that my cat hat is amusing, and she likes it.
Clipboard Lady: I see this lady in the White Plains train station in the morning. She stands in front of one of the display boards, and holds a clipboard. I wonder about the nature of the clipboard. What she is writing in it. Does she wait for the train and take it to work? Does she work for the MTA or someone else, and stand there to observe people and take notes?
Slipper man: I see slipper man take the train with me from Goldens Bridge in the morning. I tend to laugh at his shoes, because they don’t look like shoes one would wear to work, but slippers around the house. I assume that he goes to work on the train, but it is possible he does not. Either way, for him there is no Casual Friday. It is Casual Wednesday through Friday. These days he wears his slippers. He has several pairs, one being a completely obnoxious orange looking color. Other possible nicknames for him were Horrid Combover man, but I felt that the slippers defined his personality a little bit more.
Santa Claus Man: Looks like Santa Claus, so I imagine at least that is self explanatory. This man really freaks me out though. I at one point thought he was homeless, since I see him wandering around the train station often, sometimes pushing a grocery cart. It seems that he is not, however. He is the guy that I am certain I saw wearing no pants. I had to walk past him this morning on the way to the train station, and he grunted at me several times. If I ever disappear, or am found dead somewhere, this guy might be your first suspect.
Exercise Video Man: This man is totally doing it wrong. I sat next to him on the train one morning. He is a tad overweight, and had his laptop in his lap. I looked over and noticed he was watching an exercise video. On the train. I can understand watching movies and such, but what is the value of watching that, a video meant for you to participate along with? You’re doing it wrong, and you won’t be losing any weight that way, I’m sorry to say!
Juggling dude: I’ve been seeing him recently at White Plains station. I don’t think he is performing or looking for money at all, he just does these juggling sticks things to pass the time, assumedly until his train comes. For some reason I think he looks like Jimmy Wales. If you know who that is. (you probably don’t… he’s the founder of Wikipedia)
Blind lady: I most certainly don’t want to be mean or offensive when referring to this lady, because she is extremely nice. She has a very cute dog too. I really imagine it must be hard for a blind person to ride the train, but yet she does. She did actually mention that she fell off the platform in Brewster once, so she is very careful now. Shit, if I fell off the platform, I might be so afraid I’d never want to ride again! I do sort of observe her though, in case she ever needed any help or anything. One time when she was looking for a seat, the train is pretty busy at White Plains (where she gets on), and she was feeling around to find an empty seat, I think she sorta groped some guy who was sitting there. Guess that seat wasn’t empty.
Obnoxious Fedora Man: In order to explain this man, I must first tell a story. A story of the only time, within these seven months of travel, that MTA made me late for work. Our morning train, the diesel coming down from Wassaic, makes its last stop at Goldens Bridge. So by the time it gets to us, it is pretty full. The train all of a sudden stops in between Valhalla and North White Plains. Apparently something broke, and it needed to be repaired. So we were made to wait about fifteen minutes for someone from the repair facility to come and fix the train. Ten more minutes, and that person determined the train could not be fixed and must go out of service. They brought us up to North White Plains, and we had to disembark.
It was announced that another train would be on its way to pick us up. Now North White has more tracks than most of the other Harlem line stations, so people were unsure whether we should stay on the current platform, or go over to the other. One lady tried her luck and went over to the other platform. She was shouting across to her male friend/boyfriend/husband debating whether he should join her, or she should go back. Apparently Mr. Fedora man thought she was talking to him, and kept answering back her questions. Sort of like going into the bathroom and thinking the person in the stall next to you is asking you questions, when in reality they are talking on their cell phone.
Anyways, a train finally comes, though of course it was completely packed. Pretty much every seat taken. It was the most full I had ever seen a train. Just about everyone from my train was standing up in the aisle of this train. I just happened to be next to the couple, and they were talking about the “obnoxious” guy that kept answering and talking to her across the platform. I guess the name just stuck, in my head at least. The man used to wear a fedora during the winter, but does not anymore. But I still think of him as obnoxious fedora man.
To finish the story though, when we got to White Plains it was absolutely nuts. On a normal day you need to get up and in front of the doors beforehand, because those people are vicious and push their way onto the train, to hell if you are trying to get off. Now imagine a bunch of people confused because their normal train didn’t show up, others waiting for their normal train, and the train pulls in with no space whatsoever for any other body. No sitting room, no standing room. Oh yeah, and there was me, trying to get off. The conductor sorta had to push people aside while shouting “Move aside! Let the passengers out!” Oh well, I was late to work that day.
The man that is always there: His name is Gary. Gary Waxman. If you’ve ever been to White Plains station, you have probably seen him. He runs the news stand on the lower floor of the station. I can not remember a single time I have ever been in the station, and did not see him. He is always there. In the morning, and in the evening. When I need my morning Coke fix, I head right to Gary’s fridge. I’d certainly buy from him a bit more often, if he actually sold plain milk. He sells vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry flavored milks, but no plain milk. I like plain milk with my chocolate donuts in the morning. And I never have enough milk, because of a milk thief at work. But then again, that is a whole other story…