Ted Berg is one of the more engaging sports/pop culture writers out there. Ted works for the Mets channel SNY and blogs about sports and sandwiches (he’s really into both) at TedQuarters.net.
I got to know Ted a teeny bit because he was on my platform and my train each morning, and I recognized him from clips on the SNY website when I was prepping to interview Ralph Kiner.
I even had a virtual sitdown with Ted to discuss commuting out of/into our fair burg. I thought of Ted yesteday when the stairs to the platform at Hawthorne station reeked of urine. Human urine.
Well, Ted doesn’t live in our burg anymore, relocating back to Manhattan.
It’s not a new post, by any means, but commuting doesn’t change all that much, now does it?
You see the same people literally every single day on the train platform, and hardly anyone ever acknowledges anybody. It’s bizarre. I mean, let’s forget about learning each other’s names because we all know we’re not planning on sitting next to each other and chatting for the whole commute. But we’re not even going to smile and nod? I see you every day!
Ted also disputes the notion that time spent on Metro-North is nice, quiet, tranquil Ted-Time.
My commuting time is absolutely not my own. It belongs to the lady who eats broccoli on the morning train that smells up the whole car, and to the huge guy who crams himself into the middle seat on the ride home then splays his elbows so I have to do all my reading and unwinding with my gut spilling over the armrest.
If that time — and it’s about an hour and ten minutes, door to door — were my own I could be doing so many more awesome things, like watching TV or playing the guitar or even reading and actually unwinding in the comfort of my La-Z-Boy.
Besides that, you learn to live your life on Metro-North’s schedule. If you don’t leave the house by 8:09, you can forget about that 8:16 train. Leave before 8:07 and you can stop in the deli for coffee. Make it to the first crosswalk before you see the train and you know you’ll catch it. Make it to the second crosswalk and you know you won’t have to run. Stand near the back of the train so you can exit at Grand Central North. Stand about three cars from the front on the way back so you can get off by the stairs.
There’s some grotesque pleasure in mastering the commute, but it’s the most pathetic of accomplishments.