"Excuse Me, Passengers, The Emergency Brake Has Been Activated" And Other Tragic Subway Realities

Whenever people are in town, the "you take this EVERY DAY?" question of my commute is inevitable. Yes, I do take an hour, door to door, to get to work each morning. But, while convenience is sometimes unclear, the good old MTA really does an excellent job at getting a massive amount of humans to and from their desired destinations. This does not mean that it's always a walk in the park. 

"Excuse me, passengers, the emergency brake on this train has been activated and we are under investigation."

Fabulous. Not only am I dealing with a commute from Hell, squashed up against some large man that has decided I don't need any personal space, but my conductor has uttered the sentence I always hoped I'd never hear. Sure, I'd been delayed thanks to trains ahead of me with a pulled emergency brake, but I'd never been ON the train with the issue. 

To make matters worse, since it wasn't my car that pulled the emergency brake, who even knows what was going on. Maybe some punk little kid decided to ruin everyone's lives. Maybe someone was sick. Maybe a woman was giving birth! Maybe we were all being taken down by the mafia. Maybe someone tried to jump in front of the train. I DO NOT KNOW. Needless to say, since the emergency brake had been activated while we were in between stops, we were under the ground, not coming up for air any time soon. 

Good thing I brought a book. And I don't have to pee...yet. 

90 minutes later, I'm realizing that no matter how not-claustrophobic you are, being stuck multiple stories underground can make anyone a little fidgety. As we began moving, it wasn't a cheer that erupted from the car, but a collective sigh of relief. Seeing a text from my coworker that warned us all to avoid the F train downtown because apparently, something had screwed up all downtown trains, I was happily able to report that I was sitting on the problem, and it had started moving again. 

"Oh, you wanna know how many women I've been with? OK LET'S COUNT." 

Dude, read the room. 

As a couple, whom I assume will be recently divorced by the time I post this, started screaming at one another, everyone on the subway car settled in, ready to ignore the scene, as New Yorkers do so well. Noses were buried in books, headphones turned up the volume, and eyes continued to star ahead. 

Then he started counting. 


In detail. 

For five stops. 

By the time we were about to exit Brooklyn, every single set of eyes on that train had thrown "ignoring the scene" completely out the window. We were, as a group, invested. 

He had slept with HOW many women? You go girl, scream at him. 

Oh, he should've left her a long time ago, huh? Seems valid, she's got her own problems up the wazoo. 

Dang, her son is in critical condition and he wouldn't let her see him? Cold. 

OH NO, SHE DID NOT! Cursing his family to a hospital bed is uncalled for on all extremes. 

Eyes were shifting back and forth between the parties in question, murmurs of agreements and "oh dangs" were heard throughout the car. When the couple finally got off the train, groups began to exchange looks and comments. Never before have I seen a train car so invested in a relationship that disrupted their commute. 

"Due to a situation at High Street, there are no trains going out of Brooklyn at this time...honestly, we aren't moving ANY time soon." 

Thankfully, unlike my emergency brake situation, this "we aren't moving" crisis happened at a subway station, doors open, inviting us towards freedom. While conductors usually end their delay messages with "we'll be moving shortly," this lady's very clear "we aren't going anywhere" showcased how dire our situation was. 

So it looked like it was time for a walk. 

The Brooklyn Bridge is about 3 miles away from the stop we were...stopped at. Since no trains were going out of Brooklyn, getting to work required walking across the bridge into Manhattan, then hopping on a train there. 

Thankfully, we were already past the snowy season. So off I took, grateful for my sneakers.  

"I'm sorry, passengers, but there is an A train at Fulton that has an investigation of a passenger that is being conducted by the police. We can't go anywhere." 

A few things. First, the train is packed, shoulder to shoulder. Secondly, my subway, at this moment, is in between High Street and Fulton Street. AKA we're going from Brooklyn into Manhattan. AKA we are stuck not only underground, but under the East River. 

If you think you aren't claustrophobic, try being stuck under water, in a metal tube with people you do not know. That's enough to drive anyone a little bonkers. Oh, and who knows what wacko is in front of you, causing NYPD to take time out of their morning to investigate. That's another dilemma entirely. 

And to think, this is the best option when it comes to getting from Point A to Point B.