i had the weirdest train ride on wednesday night.
before the train ride was strange enough. i had been in penn station quite a few times before, but always during the day. it was always bustling, but never particularly weird. it was usually full of harried businesspeople on the weekdays, and full of confused tourists on the weekends. however, i had never been there really late at night.
however, it's a different story at 12:30 in the morning. it's full of...weird. there were loud drunks and quiet drunks. there were people so tired they couldn't walk straight. there were people clearly too perky for their own good, given the late hour. there were people who smelled funny...enough from that subset to make the entire waiting area for the train smell like an amalgam of all of their bad smells. penn station after midnight is surreal.
the train ran about ten, maybe fifteen minutes late, but it eventually left the station. most of the seats were taken; there were far more people than i expected on it. there were lots of loud people, lots of sleeping people, and various groups of people who all slept through their transfers in jamaica and were informed by the conductor that there would be no more trains to their destination until eight the next morning. this made them less than happy.
however, the real weirdness happened later. somewhere around seaford or so [almost an hour into the journey], the conductor went onto the intercom and made an announcement reminding the people on the train that there is no pugilism allowed on the long island rail road. there was no pugilism going on in my train car, but i would have been entertained to see what prompted that announcement.
a minute later, if that, another announcement from the conductor, "this is a reminder to all passengers that there is no fornication or fellatio allowed on the train." i don't even want to know, and i'm glad i didn't see.
then, we got to massapequa park--a mere two stops from our final destination. it was about two in the morning. the train stopped, the doors opened, people got on and off, and the doors shut again. but, the train didn't move. finally, they made an announcement about how there was a medical emergency, and the train was waiting for emergency crews to show up on the scene. this was odd. they tried to make it sound like someone had suffered an emergency on the train, but it was still strange because usually if there's an emergency on a train, the person will be removed to the platform with some people to watch him until emergency crews arrive, and then the train will go on its way.
the train just stayed there, and the conductor made the same exact announcement every few minutes--with no new information, save replacing "crews are on their way" with "crews are here" when they arrived, and occasionally adding admonitions to the passengers not to crowd the scene of the emergency. they never told us what was wrong. we sat in the car, kind of clueless, intermittently wondering if it was pugilism, fornication, or fellatio that caused the problem.
we still don't know what actually happened. there were no articles in any papers about people being run over by a train, and none of the lirr advisory emails described the problem in detail.
they eventually told us to get off the train, and that a new train was on its way to pick us up on the other side of the platform. eventually the new train showed up--around three in the morning. it was a diesel engine, not run too often on that branch of the long island rail road, and had double decker cars. this made me happy, and even though we were only taking it two stops, i insisted we ride on the top level just for awesomeness' sake. that ride went without incident, and we ended up being no worse for the wear except for massive lack of sleep.