It's just like the saying goes: "Sooner or later, you'll wake up in Connecticut."
You live your life scorning old yarns like this, convinced It Will Never Happen To You. But then you:
- stay up all night, reading and playing Scrabulous with people in other time zones;
- stagger to work the next morning for an early meeting, cursing the inconsiderate dolt who refused to go to bed the night before;
- get a late-afternoon train to Westchester to meet some business partners;
- plug into your eponymous mp3 player; and
- proceed to saw serious logs.
Before you know it, you're rustled awake by the dude behind you coughing his spleen into his Wall Street Journal. You blink quizzically at the unearthly name on the station stop, process the fact that you're SOL, gather your shit and scamper off the train just as the doors threaten to chop off your good hand. The one that works the remote.
The bracing night air jolts you into cognizance, and you understand that you must find your way to the southbound platform. You look for an over- or an underpass, but neither seems about. You're closer to the south end of the station, so you pace all the way down to the end to find nothing but razor wire and what you'll later learn is Route 95. You turn and break into a northerly trot, scanning the ground for a secret tunnel to freedom. You start gazing up at the tracks, anxiously. You know there's an egress around here somewhere, goddammit, but that train could come at any moment while I'm sitting here like a semi-conscious asshat. Don't be an idiot, you chastise yourself. Why must you always be an idiot like this? Why the constant idiotude? For heaven's sake, can't you for once just--
Say, is that a light up there?
Sure enough, the southbound train is careening toward the station, mockingly. Just listen to that engine: mocka-mocka, mocka-mocka. You perform a little elimination logic and sprint northward, squinting into the poorly lit parking lot.
Squint and sprint. Mocka-mocka.
Your head is on a perpetual swivel, searching for the slightest hint of a downward slope. But there is nothing. And you start hashing out plans for a silver lining. OK, you think. So I'll miss this train and wait an hour for the next one. Big deal. You consider texting Google to see if there's a good brothel nearby.
You are becoming resigned to your fate. Until. There, at the absolute most northerly part of the lot, way over there by the drooping birch trees. Is that a bannister?
You bolt like a motherfucker, singing the praises of the great lordamighty, until you see there are what you'll later learn to be 42 steps heading down steeply to a road below the tracks. You bound downward by twos, ruing the unshakable logic that every two steps down equals two steps up on the other side. You're galloping now like thoroughbred, albeit a thoroughbred with J&M captoes and a 30-pound daypack.
You hear the ties above you, rumbling and groaning under the coming weight. You reach the bottom, bolt left. The upstairs is 50 feet ahead.
Mocka-mocka. Mocka-mocka. MOCKA-MOCKA.
Up you go, three steps at a time, gasping like a scuba diver with a faulty pressure gauge. The train pulls in. You reach the top, flail yourself frontward, and hurl yourself inward, just as the doors close.
You find a seat, heaving sighs of gratitude to anyone, corporeal or otherwise, who might be listening. Your evening is saved. You place a call, explain the delay. It's no problem, they say. How funny, they say. If I had a nickel, they say. We'll save you a seat at the restaurant. God's in his heaven, all's right with the world.
Then you reach into your wallet and find no cash.
Your mind races. It's only three stops. Maybe the conductor won't reach you in time. Maybe if you hid in the john for five minutes, you might get through this unscathed, albeit reeking of a potent blend of 1) human stink and 2) industrial stink hider. You resolve to do what must be done, slip into the can, lock the door. You breathe through your mouth--your gasping, wheezing mouth--and crane your ears for the announcement of your stop. You stand for about three minutes, fretting about the consequences of detection. Another fare-jumper stowing away in the crapper. If I had a nickel.
Then, through the stink and the fretting, your station is announced. Or maybe it was, you can't be sure. It sounded like it, though. And you know what, fuck it. If it isn't the right stop, it's close fucking enough because it stinks like corpse's fart in here. You feel the train stop, throw open the door, walk as nonchalantly as you can down the aisle, out the door and down the platform. You read the station sign and are hit with another wave of relief. You've made it. You're a little giddy now, feeling a bit like Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton after that flying cow scene in "Twister." You think maybe you should blog about this.
Seriously, though. "Cos Cob" is lovely this time of year. You should go.