The off-peak trains offer ample opportunity to experience people who are not your standard commuters. Let’s call them the occasional, off-peak rider. There are the ones confused by peak and off-peak, some who wonder if the train is going to Grand Central (they all go to Grand Central from here and if this one isn’t, we are all in trouble), and many who feel the need to talk and talk and talk.
You may remember in Christmas Vacation when Clark Griswold gets his bonus. It is a metaphor for how I feel about extended talking on an inbound morning peak train, even outside of the quiet car. Those folks get down right nasty. Jelly of the month club all the way.
Lately, a slight schedule change has me riding a morning off-peak train, where the world I used to know is gone. Gone is the understanding that you have a few choices – sleep, read, or headphones – for the time we will spend together. This is lost on this group. But, they do know how to talk and talk and talk. And this morning, I was surrounded.
Some pearls of wisdom and key points of information learned on my ride in to Grand Central.
From the two girls that just met in the two seater in front of me:
– “I need to be able to drive to Target.” On not liking the location of her apartment.
– “I need to be near a Nordstrom.” the other girl who apparently has more money than Target girl.
– “The vanilla cookies aren’t very good, but the chocolate cupcakes rock.” This insight regarding the Magnolia Bakery and that stinks because I like vanilla cookies.
“I was the only skinny person in the Wappinger’s Olive Garden. You get that far north, yikes”. One girl oblivious that she was insulting most of the riders who boarded prior to her because of their weight or because they are in fact from Dutchess County or even both.
– “I took my 6 year-old camping at Bonnaroo.” Awesome.
From the family of three spread out across three seats because they had a suitcase. One suitcase.
– “95-100 in photography!” Mother reading off son’s grades from an email on her phone.
– “74-70 in earth science?” Yet another example of how we are failing to educate our youth in STEM related fields. Shape up junior because now all of the Hudson Valley knows.
– “I have no service. No, I’m on the 3G. Nope, no service. No, wait, 3G.” Seriously?
Here’s to you occasional, off-peak train rider. May your confusion level remain as high as the level of entertainment you provide all of us daily commuters.