Monday, March 16, 2009

Subway Excitement

We had planned a trip to visit Bob and Pauleen, a couple of mentors who have been involved with More To Life for some time. They live in Breezy Point, on the opposite end of the A-line from where we have been staying in Harlem. Originally, the trip was scheduled for late morning on Sunday, and so they had sent us detailed instructions about the trip, down to specific times to catch the A-train and transfer to the shuttle train that would get us the rest of the way. It was a well-planned venture.

Then, Kara and Konrad brought up the idea of visiting the cloisters, which would take a few hours to really enjoy. We had wanted to give Konrad a chance to go with us, so we thought Sunday morning would be the best opportunity. So, we contacted Bob and Pauleen to let them know that we would be traveling out to them a little later. No problem.

After the concert Saturday night and the subsequent celebration(s), Sunday morning got off to a slightly later start than originally intended. We took our time with breakfast, we visited with Kara and Konrad, we started getting our things packed up for an overnight stay in Breezy Point. And we realized that we weren't going to be seeing the cloisters that day. No problem. Konrad can see them anytime, and Joy and I were alright seeing them on Tuesday. This had the added benefit of giving us somewhere other than the East Side to be on St. Patrick's Day. So instead we had a leisurely morning, bought tickets for a concert on Wednesday, and double-checked our plans for the subway trip. We knew exactly what we needed to do and when we needed to do it.

So, off we went to the subway. We went to the correct A-train platform and waited to a train with the correct destination. It didn't show up. Other A-trains came and went, but none with the designation for which we were told to watch. There was a variety of signs posted regarding subway work, but we weren't entirely sure how to interpret the information. We asked for some assistance from the kind subway attendant (which involved leaving the platform, asking the same question five different ways, and paying again to get back to the platform). We were frustrated with each other. We were frustrated with the New York MTA. We were frustrated with all the people who had "misled" us. And then we got on a train. It wasn't the "right" train, but it was at least going in the direction we needed to go.

Then we started listening. A few people on the subway were having the same confusion we were, and the conductor's announcements indicated that there was a break in service in the middle of our journey due to signal work. Our brains kicked in, and we consulted the subway map on the wall. We worked out a couple of transfers and started making much more purposeful decisions. It's amazing how quickly we could choose not to be frustrated once we had a little information we could act on confidently. In fact, the information wasn't really what was missing before. It was the confidence we had lacked. Once we found that we were on our way.

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