Yesterday’s Horrible Commute: A Choose Your Own Adventure Story


Their trip home wasn't anywhere near as bad as mine.

This commute is different than other commutes. You and YOU ALONE are responsible for what happens on this commute. There are dangers, choices, adventures and consequences. YOU must use all of your numerous talents and much of your enormous intelligence. The wrong decision could end in disaster—even DEATH. (But probably not.) But don’t despair, all of the decisions you make will only affect your mood for the rest of the night, and moods can always be altered with the consumption of bourbon or pills or some combination of the two. Still, choose wisely, and good luck on getting through your horrible commute.

You work in DUMBO. You live in Windsor Terrace. It’s hard to count how many times you’ve told people how lucky you are with your commute, because it’s only 7 stops on the F and you don’t have to transfer and you don’t have to do what many of your co-workers do, which is go into Manhattan only to head back into Brooklyn. Life is good. You even leave work a little early because it’s only 12 degrees outside and you have big plans to make soup and enjoy your night at home. So you head off to the York Street Station at about 5:25 with as much of a spring in your step as you can muster in the frigid temperatures. You arrive at the station to discover that the F is just sitting there, waiting for you. Score! You hop on the last car and wait for the doors to close. They don’t close. The conductor’s crackly voice comes through the speakers: “There is a power outage at Church Avenue. There will be a delay. We do not know for how long.” Do you:

A) Immediately get off the subway. A delay of indeterminate length? You’re no fool. There’s plenty of cabs in DUMBO. You’ll suck up the extra expense because it’ll be worth it to get home quickly.

B) Decide to take the F going into Manhattan. Sure, you wanted to go home, but that might not be in the cards for awhile because you live in a part of Brooklyn that is only served by one subway line. Smart move, you. You go catch My Darling Clementine at the Film Forum. Victor Mature and Linda Darnell make everything better.

C) Wait on the crowded F train for about 20 minutes. Surely it will start moving soon! That always happens, right? You don’t want to be that fool who gets off the train only to hear the familiar “Stand Clear of Closing Doors” announcement. So you wait and listen to a grown man tell a woman that he had seen a Macklemore CD for sale in Starbucks this morning, but that he didn’t buy it because he’s already owned it for “like, at least a year now.” You think about what it is that you’re breathing in as you wait on this train. You die a little inside. You finally get off.

You’re above ground. You see a huge mass of people crowded at the corner, all waiting for their Uber cars to show up. You scoff. You’re not lost. You know how to get home. You will NOT resort to a cab. You don’t spend $112 each month on your Unlimited Metrocard for your health. You do it to be economical. You will make it home using your wits, not your wallet. Do you:

A) Call your friend who has a car, because maybe he will want to pick you up and then you can buy him a drink and it will be a good time for everyone. He is miraculously not busy and he picks you up and you go to Franny’s and have one of the apple-infused bourbon drinks and a good time is had by all.

B) Hop on a Citibike and brave the icy streets, heedlessly disregarding the fact that your neighborhood doesn’t have Citibike docks. You just want to get home!

C) Walk to the High Street A/C station. You figure that you can take the A/C to Jay Street, at which point maybe the F will be running again, or you can always take the R to 4th Avenue-9th Street and then take the B61 bus. Look at you! You know how to get around. Nothing’s gonna stop you now.

You make it through the biting winds and extreme cold to the High Street station. Did that long, icy walk suck? It sure did, but you made it. Now you just have to hop on the train and you’ll be fine. Unfortunately, once you descend back into the bowels of Brooklyn, you are reminded again that it is rush hour, and you watch not one, not two, but THREE A/C trains come and go without having any room for you on them. Do you:

A) Say to yourself, “Fuck this noise.” Then make your way back up the stairs and the escalator and breathe in fresh air and get yourself a cab. Just do it.

B) Realize that the rails are not your friend tonight. Acknowledge that it could be worse. Decide to walk over to Metrotech Plaza and catch the B67. That won’t get you exactly where you’re going, but it will be close enough. That’s all you really need right now. Close enough. My, how your standards have lowered in the span of an hour. Impressive!

C) Keep waiting for an A/C train to cram yourself into because you are—in this and all things, probably—a masochist. Take the train one stop to Jay Street only to discover that the F STILL isn’t running, even though people are waiting on the platform, because they are sheep. People are sheep. Feel contempt for them, but also recognize that you reserve the most deeply felt disdain for yourself. Transfer to the R.

You fight your way through the knot of people congregating by the bottom of the stairs on the ultra-narrow R platform. You walk along the very edge of the yellow safety stripe, remembering how you used to do that when you were a little girl because you liked to pretend you were a tight-rope walker. Pause for a moment to reflect on how stupid you were children are. Get on the miraculously empty R train. Feel like crying at how slowly the R train moves between stations. Finally arrive at 4th Avenue-9th Street and say a prayer to the MTA god (aka Lucifer) that the F/G is up and running again. Find out it is not. Do you:

A) Tell yourself that you don’t have that far to go and just walk home. Yes, it’s cold, but you are finally in control of your own destiny! And besides, you can stop at Talde on the way for a beer and a plate of Kung Pao chicken wings.

B) Get your ass into a cab immediately. It’s only a five- or six-dollar ride home from where you are now. Do not waste any more time freezing your ass off in the cold. Go home!

C) Wait for the B61 bus while your face and feet and fingers get progressively more and more numb. Keep waiting. Wait some more. See a bus! It’s out of service. Here’s another one! It’s loaded down with people and doesn’t even stop. Oh! One more! Also too full. Realize you’re a fool. See a cab. Jump in front of it, practically throwing yourself on its hood. Jump inside and beg him to take you home. Stop yourself before you offer to just give him all the money you have. This isn’t necessary. He doesn’t know what you’ve just been through. He doesn’t know that it’s taken you 2 hours to get to him when normally your commute is 25 minutes long. Stay cool. Tip him well because you want to build your good commute karma for the future. You can’t survive another night like this. You’re not strong enough.

You’re home. You love your home. You even love your kitchen cabinets that—if you’re being totally honest—you hate. You love everything suddenly. You order sushi. You’re not cooking. You’re not doing anything you don’t have to do. You put Une Femme Est Une Femme on the TV and you wrap yourself in a cocoon of blankets and you watch your movie and you go to sleep. You wake up in the morning. Do you:

A) Feel great and ready to greet the day! Yesterday’s commute sucked, but it’s statistically impossible for it to happen two days in a row, right? RIght?!?! Right. You feel good.

B) Double and triple check the MTA website before heading off to work. You will NOT be fucked over again. You don’t know if you can handle it. You’re just not strong enough.

C) Press snooze at least 8 times on your alarm. Burrow deeper into your blanket cocoon. Decide to work from home. Not just for today. But forever.

Follow Kristin Iversen on twitter @kmiversen

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