0100 hrs: While boarding the train in Grand Central, conductor (me) observes a severely inebriated male passenger trot toward the train. He trips over his own feet, goes airborne and belly flops onto the hard concrete platform. Conductor bites lip to keep from laughing.
0115 hrs: Train departs Grand Central.
0120 hrs: Female with a "Jesus-Christ is the real thing" T-shirt, tries beating the fare by using her father's monthly commutation ticket (she had strategically placed her thumb over the gender marker.) Conductor decides girl's T-shirt is ironic.
0125 hrs: A group of drunken Yankee fans board train at Harlem-125th St. Station. They're all around 40 years-old and sporting Yankee caps and shirts. They loudly discuss their team, as if they're members of the Steinbrenner family. "We're bringing up two new pitchers from the farm team," one says, and the others nod their heads in agreement. One, a foul mouth woman, screams :"We just picked up a f---ing catcher!"
0130 hrs: Something loud (maybe a rock) hits the train as we travel through the South Bronx. I call my engineer on the radio and ask if he hit something. He says he didn't. I return to collecting tickets and a concerned passenger asks if we hit someone. I calm his fears by saying..."I hope not."
0134hrs: A woman passenger complains that she's hungry and asks where she can buy a pretzel with mustard. I tell her that she just left New York City, the pretzel with mustard capital of the world. "They're kinda hard to find in the suburbs" I say. She sticks out her lower lip and pouts.
0135hrs: Male passenger offers me his McDonalds' french fries in lieu of a ticket. I decline, but tell him he might be able to broker a deal with the pretzel lady.
0140hrs: Male passenger with a heavy Spanish accent, complains that while in the lavatory, "That sommaofabitch" (now pointing to a drunk guy a few seats away) took his seat and drank his beer!" I briefly contemplate chastising the beernapper, but think better of it, and walk away.
0213hrs: A disheveled African-American woman boards train and says she doesn't have a ticket or money to ride the train. She wants to get to the shelter and asks if I could let her ride. My Catholic guilt kicks in, and I tell her to take a seat. Minutes later, I smell a strange odor... similar to an electrical fire or burning plastic. I look out the window for signs of smoke but don't see anything. I then check the heating vents which sometimes flame up. I see nothing.
0220hrs: Train reaches Stamford and the homeless woman thanks me for the ride. As she steps off the train, I notice that the burning plastic smell follows her.
0221hrs: I ask my trainman if he knows what smoke from a crack pipe smells like. "Yeah," he says..." like burning plastic."
0222 hrs: I realize I have a crazy job.