Today I had the opportunity to make a little side cash by stuffing press kits at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. I brought along my fabulous gal-pal Lauren and we made a day of the mindless work, raking in $400 between the two of us in just five hours. I like to think that we were paid so much for venturing out into the worst Nor-Easter in the last 25 years in these parts. I walked all the way from my apartment to the Waldorf at 9:30 a.m., and while it was raining, it wasn’t torrential. By the time we left around 4 p.m., the streets were flooded and if I’d had an inflatable boat of some sort, I could have used it to row home.
Lauren insisted I take the subway back and she pointed me to the correct entrance and told me exactly which direction I needed to go to get back to my ‘hood. It goes without saying that I have taken this specific subway line at this spot for nearly every Wednesday night since I moved here (Bible study), but I still haven’t and probably never will master the public transportation system.
After I swiped my metro card and saw the little digital reader deduct the $2 fare, I trudged through the long underground tunnel to get to my train. Did you know it rains in the subway, too? What a leaky, dirty mess.
Finally, I arrived at the train platform and heard Mr. Subway Train Station Man, encased behind [probably] bullet-proof glass, shouting into his microphone that no trains were running and we’d have to find an alternate route. Seriously? I was miffed that I’d wasted $2 and now I was going to have to walk home in the blusteriness anyway. I exited the train platform and marched up to the glass-encased, gold-toothed subway man.
“I need a refund, sir,” I said firmly yet politely.
“There are no trains running,” he snarled into the microphone from behind the glass.
“Yes, I heard you. That is why I need a refund. I just came from the other platform to get here and now found out that no trains are running. Can you please refund my fare?”
“There are no trains running. You have to go find another route,” he growled again.
“Yes, I understand. But I just spent $2 and I did not take a train ride, and there was no sign indicating that the trains were not running.” I admit I was beginning to sound a little irritated.
“You got here so you took a train and you don’t get a refund!”
“I did NOT take a train and there was no signage indicating that the trains weren’t running!” At this point, I was still put together, still buttoned up, but growing ever agitated. Then Mr. Subway Train Station Man’s idiot Subway Trainee decided to get involved.
“The.trains.aren’t.running.” He said in an ultra-slow motion, low pitched voice... condescending in a way I was just not trying to hear.
“I SPEAK ENGLISH, BUDDY!” I yelled. Passersby stopped and stared. A turban-clad man came over and tried to tell me to settle down.
“Don’t get angry with them,” he said.
“Don’t tell me what to do!” I sneered at him. “I JUST WANT A REFUND!”
I think it’s safe to say that I have maybe never been that mad in public, normally that’s a side reserved for intense sibling arguments. And get this - I never did get my refund, because I realized I was outnumbered 3 to 1 by large, ticked-off subway workers and perhaps the MTA needed the $2 more than me. Like mom told me after, it’s not worth getting arrested for $2. But you can’t say I’m not thrifty!
Anyhow, after all those shenanigans, I practically had to swim home anyways, muttering to myself about how I’m never taking the stupid Subway. By the time I walked the 1.25 miles home, my jeans were soaked all the way up to my thighs, there was water sloshing around in my shoes and despite the umbrella [which kept collapsing on my head], I had mascara smeared in the corners of my eyes. Nor’Easter 2007, baby. That’s my story.
Oh the wind is lashing lustily
And the trees are thrashing thrustily
And the leaves are rustling gustily
So it's rather safe to say
That it seems that it may turn out to be
It feels that it will undoubtedly
It looks like a rather blustery day, today
Winnie the Pooh
Meet Austin’s Glitziest New Downtown Hotel
4 days ago