So I’m waiting—I kid you not—for, like, 45 minutes before the train shows up. And after a while it’s so crowded on the platform that people are actually pushing one another for space. Meanwhile, I have this idiotic couple pressed up against me and they’re loudly kissing right in my ear. And when the train finally comes it’s packed so full that I can barely squeeze on board. So it pulls away from the station and into the tunnel and I’m thinking this can’t possibly get any worse.
Then our conductor starts to make an announcement about delays or something but I can barely understand him because he’s mumbling like an idiot. And that’s when I notice that we’re now above ground, which is odd because this line doesn’t normally go over a bridge. Except I realize we’re not on a bridge—we’re on a barge heading out to sea. Then the conductor says something else, and this time I barely make out the words. He says, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are being held momentarily on a barge heading out to sea. Thank you for your patience.”
I’m like, Oh great. But I just assume we’re getting redirected around train traffic or they had to switch the routes because of construction. So I’m looking around, trying to figure out what’s going on, and I glance out the window to get a sense of where we might be. And it’s nothing but miles of ocean in every direction with a lone gull hovering outside the train car. So everyone is pissed. And—get this—there’s this one guy loudly sighing, like, these really exaggerated exhales. I’m thinking, Yeah, buddy. We’re all just as mad as you are.
Anyway, at this point the barge slows down and I wait for another announcement. Then this excavator thingy on the deck of the barge swivels around and pierces the subway car with two metal prongs. It lifts us up and starts holding us out over the side of the barge until the entire train car is dangling above the water. And the train is jolted by the jerking motions of the excavator arm, which causes this woman to spill her coffee on herself. So she gets all upset and I’m thinking, Why didn’t you use a lid, moron?
Then we’re hanging in the air for a few seconds while the excavator’s fork slowly tilts forward. And as the train is sliding out of the excavator’s grip we all start falling toward one side of the car. So I land on top of some guy who has this hacking cough. And he’s coughing all over me. Seriously. Doesn’t even cover his mouth. And the conductor gets back on the PA system and says, “This is the end. We’re all going to die. Thank you for your patience.” Then the whole train slips from the prongs of the excavator and plummets into the waves. And the guy is still coughing on me, like a total idiot.
So we’re beginning to sink and, of course, the air conditioning shuts off. Crazy, right? It’s like, what is our money even going toward? Then there’s this really awful fishy smell and I can’t tell if it’s the woman next to me or the fish that we’re surrounded by. But I’m pretty sure it’s the woman next to me because when I look at this guy reading a broadsheet who’s up to his waist in water he kind of rolls his eyes at me. You know, like, You smell that? And it’s actually a little reassuring because it seems like maybe there’s at least one other normal person on this train.
But that’s when, I’m not kidding, people start drowning. So now on top of everything else I’ve got this fishy-smelling woman whose face is turning blue and she’s clutching my jacket collar. Like, Jesus, lady, ever heard of personal space? So I have to pry her hands from my jacket and wade over to the portion of the train that isn’t totally submerged. But it’s super crowded over there, too. And there’s this idiot teenager wearing a backpack that keeps brushing up against me every time he pivots to keep his head above the rising water. It’s incredible. He has absolutely zero self-awareness.
Eventually I’m completely submerged and I can’t take it anymore; I decide I have to get out of there. So I start trying to pull the door open. And the guy with the newspaper sees me struggling and comes over to help. We pull and pull and finally get the doors open and then this shark tries to muscle his way into the train, like an idiot. And now I’m fuming because I hate when people don’t let you off first before they force their way inside. I mean, it’s just common decency, right? And of course this shark is totally clueless. He just uses his stupid, fat snout to wedge between me and the door and starts eating people.
Now I’m holding my breath and about to swim away when I notice this old woman still sitting on one of the benches of the subway car, with her hands folded neatly on top of her purse as if nothing is happening. So I kind of scan the car to see if someone is going to help her, but of course everyone is too busy in their own idiot worlds either drowning or getting eaten by the shark. I’m like, Okay, guess I’ll be the good guy here, and I swim back inside and extend my hand. So she takes my hand and we swim out the door and rise to the surface together.
Then this crew member on the barge tosses us a line so that we can climb up onto the deck. And we climb up and we’re standing on deck, watching the subway cars sink to the ocean floor. One of the crew guys wraps a blanket around our shoulders and hands us each a cup of coffee to warm up. So I’m like, What’s the deal? and he’s like “we’re using the subway cars to create an artificial reef for marine life. Thank you for your patience.”
And I look at the old woman who’s shivering underneath the blanket. Her wrinkled hands are gripping the mug of coffee really tight. And I’m kind of waiting there for her to acknowledge the fact that I just helped her off the train. But she’s just standing there with this serene expression, totally calm, as if nothing has happened. It’s that expression—you know?—that you see on old people who have lived in a city for so long that they always look numb. I mean, I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t even say “thank you.” She just stared out at the horizon, with this dumb smile on her face, contemplating things, like an idiot.
God, I hope I never get like that.