I had a very exciting evening cut out for myself. I was going to give my second guest spot at a particular club. Warm, hearty laughs inside, chilly drizzle outside. Cozy, fun, and a great opportunity for stage time.
I left the house with an hour of travel time for what should be a 45 minute commute. In a perfect world, I would have shown up early. In New York City, I have just kicked sand in the bully's eye. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority doesn't like its naps interrupted.
After pacing the platform for ten minutes, I went to the booth to get some answers. The man leaned forward in his chair to realize his second calling as an interrogating officer.
"Let's go over this one more time. You want to go uptown."
That's right. I have to be there soon. Where is the train?
"I'll tell you where you have to be. Right here, until I get some answers."
"We can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way..."
He finally revealed that the local train was inexplicably and unusually running express, bypassing my stop. I would have to exit, take the train the opposite direction to an express stop, and then take it back uptown. But it may switch to local again, slowing me down. I went above ground and tried to jog twelve blocks to a station where I would have other train options. I called the club and warned them I was running behind. I had 38 minutes to get my spot, or an additional 8 minutes if I used the time slot after mine. At this point I was watching the clock like a hawk. On a rock. With a sock.
8:53 I catch the Q. I am sweaty. I am panicked. The train stalls. Don't STALL! GO!
8:55 We are back in business. How bad was the wait? Take two minutes to brush your teeth with a pumice stone.
8:58 Train stalls on Manhattan Bridge I am thinking, I have 24 minutes before I lose my second chance to perform.
9:00 Back in business. How bad was the wait? Spend two minutes inhaling the aroma of a package of baloney.
9:05 Stalls between Prince and 14th Street (WHY?)
9:10 Stalls between 14th and 23rd (WHY ME?)
9:13 Stalls between 23rd and 28th. (Oh, why not?)
9:14 Stalls after moving a few feet. I have no way to call the club underground, but it is pretty clear I am missing the 9:22 spot.
It is one thing to have to skip movie previews and another to be late to work, but I had a deeper level of disappointment. It's like the train missed my little league championship for a business trip. With its secretary.
By 9:17 a full on delay was declared. "Attention Ladies and gentlemen hmmmshrmfmf smoke on 5th avenue hmmshrmfm punctuality is for nerds mdmgsjdfhth I have to do my sudoku." I threw in the towel. The train inched towards 34th St and shut down completely. I called the club from above ground and apologized for the drunken uncle that ruined my prom.
I was able to head back down town towards the East Village to catch Matt Ruby's Flying Carpet show. No stage time, but Jesse Pop and Matt McCarthy made me forget my troubles. Then I ducked out briefly for some dumplings down the street and got monsooned upon.