Sunday, September 28, 2008
A group of us were sitting around a table in the conductor's lounge, drinking coffee and decompressing by telling war stories from the previous week. Somehow the conversation turned to women (as it always does) and how many sexy ladies have been riding the trains lately. That's when one of the conductors said that he'd recently been caught staring at a woman's cleavage.
"How long were you staring?"
"How long is too long?"
"My wife says that I can stare for three seconds... five seconds if I don't have my glasses on. Any longer than that ...I'm a pervert."
Another conductor said he recently was standing over a buxom woman while she rummaged though her purse, looking for her ticket. He said she had a low cut blouse on and he couldn't help but stare down at her cleavage. The woman looked up, caught him leering, and said..."Honey, you're not gonna find the ticket down there."
09/27/08, Train 6500
A drunken middle aged businessman boarded the train with a "Leg Show" porno magazine under his arm. He staggered down the aisle, stopping occasionally to show the centerfold to anyone who would look in his direction. Finally, he spied a cute college girl and he sat down next to her. He began flirting with her and started flipping through his magazine, showing her the pictures. I could see she was disgusted, and after several minutes, she screamed:
"I'm a lesbian...Leave me alone."
"That's okay," he said, "I'm a lesbian too."
He then went into graphic detail, saying what he and lesbians have in common. That's when I stepped in, saying that the lady obviously didn't want to be bothered and that he should move his seat. He reluctantly agreed and walked back to the rear of the car, where he found a whole new group of people to pester.
09/28 Train 6537
A Stepford wife was sitting in a four seater with an aluminum foil covered sheet cake lying on the seat across from her. The train was crowded, but there were still some seats available. I didn't say anything at first, but by Westport the train was packed and we had several passengers who were standing. I walked by the woman and saw that her cake was still on the seat; "Mam," I said,"please take the cake off the seat. We're very crowded," I then pointed to the five people who were standing in a nearby vestibule.
I moved on and continued to collect tickets, but when I returned (some five minutes later) I found seven people standing, and the woman's cake still on the seat.
"Mam, please remove your cake, others would like to sit here."
"No," she said as if annoyed, "I asked if anyone wanted to sit here and they said no."
"We still have five station stops to go," I said. I'm sure someone will want to sit here."
She still refused to move the cake.
"Listen," I said, "Either you take the cake off the seat, or I'll have you and the cake removed from the train."
It was starting to drizzle out, and I envisioned her standing on the platform, cake in hand, while the song MacArthur Park played in the background:
Someone left the cake out in the rain
I don't think that I can take it
took so long to bake it
And I'll never have that recipe again
She finally picked up the cake and placed it in her lap.
"This is unbelievable," she huffed.
"You're unbelievably rude," I countered.
At Stamford, a young lady boarded the train and sat where the cake had been. She seemed happy to find a seat and I was happy that she found one. There's nothing worse than fighting with a customer about opening up a seat and then nobody sits there.
Monday, September 22, 2008
"Shriver!" I said. "I thought you looked Kennedyesque."
With that, the white guy ripped off his shirt, and displayed his muscular arms and torso. Nobody was impressed.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's hard now to believe, but back in the 80's, Grand Central was a glorified marble urinal for the homeless, and it seemed that beggars outnumbered commuters.
Remember buying monster sized pizza slices from Zaro's? Each slice weighed five pounds.
How about drinking at Lindy's, or buying a cup of coffee at Eclair?
What about the giant Kodak Colorama sign that towered over the east end of the GCT concourse? I used to get excited whenever they changed the photo.
Remember leaving your bags unattended and not having to say something when you saw something?
In more recent years there have also been changes.
Remember the Railfone? These phones were installed on our trains, but they charged users $2.00 a minute. A year after they were installed, everyone, and I mean everyone, had their own cell phone and the Railfone was obsolete.
With all these changes, it's comforting to know that some things stay the same:
Rocky is arguably the most well known, and notorious passenger on Metro North. He rides all three lines and all the conductors know him. I've known Rocky since he was a crazy, mixed up teenager. Back in the day, he used to dress as a male, but he slowly began to change. First came the Tina Turner wigs, then the platform shoes. He eventually graduated to hot pants with "boy toy" plastered across the back.
I remember him telling me of one memorable Thanksgiving, when he he "dressed up" for his grandmother. It nearly killed her.
He was on my train last week and I asked if I could take his picture (bottom) and post it on my blog. He agreed, but said that I was crazy to put a picture of a cross dresser on the Internet. He was dressed in a micro mini, a thong, and was wearing 12" stiletto heels when he said this...and I'm the crazy one!
Another old friend visited last week:
This is why my wife doesn't want me wearing my work boots in the house. You know, eggs, larvae, etc...
I was working a Stamford Local when a passenger spotted my friend here,"ROACH!!!" he screamed. I'm no Entomologist, but I was going to correct him and say that this is technically a water bug (at least this is what my New York co-workers call them), but then, after doing some research for this story, I found out that he was right, this is a roach- an American Cockroach to be exact. Not to be confused with the smaller, German Cockroaches, who also ride our trains. I think the passenger wanted me to kill it, but when the bug is big enough (two inches) to have its own zip code, I draw the line. Instead, I asked it to say "cheese" and I snapped its picture (above).
Here's something that hasn't changed in 35 years:
Hold on folks, the new M8's are coming in late 2009.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Later in the morning, my friend "Pat" stopped by to discuss building a new deck for me. Pat's a macho guy who's an army veteran, Police Sergeant, and part time builder of decks. He came over to survey the job and inspect the work site. Sometime during our discussion, he pulled out a tape measure and started walking past my gas grill. Bees have recently nested beneath the grill's underside and they began to circle Pat. He quickly retreated six steps back.
"You're not gonna let a few bees scare you...are you?" I asked.
I grabbed the tape measure from his hand and stoically marched past the grill and began taking measurements. While doing this, I bragged, saying that I'd never been stung by a bee before.
That's when it happened.
Like a mob hit, the bees (who I believe belong to the Genovese family) surrounded me in all directions. If Scorsese filmed it, the scene would unfold in slow motion:
An unassuming man puts tape measure to garage, when several yellow and black striped missiles cross the screen in formation. The man cries out in pain, then reaches for his right leg. Just then, a Sicilian looking bee attacks from the left and jabs his other leg. The man's body convulses, as another bee (played by Joe Pesce) stabs him in the hip. The man does a little girly man dance and runs for his life. His friend, who is standing at a safe distance, doubles over in laughter.
"Owwww!!! That hurt!" I screamed. My puncture wounds began to burn.
Before leaving, Pat watched as I carried a few more pieces of lumber into the wood pile. "Be careful back there," he said, "those weeds look like poison ivy."
"Ah...don't worry." I said. "I've never gotten poison ivy before."
I better keep some calamine lotion on hand.