As I zipped along in the underground confines of the Q train yesterday, the subway car began making odd noises. About every 30 seconds or so, the train would make a horrible groaning sound as if the side of the car was grating against the wall of the tunnel.
My friends, if you’ve ever ridden on any form of public transportation (and I certainly hope you have, unless you are fabulously rich and can afford those things I’ve heard speak of called “taxis”), you know that irritating, delay-causing, and exceedingly odd occurrences happen each and every day. So my subway car making a horrid noise was not cause of any alarm or concern.
But it did get me thinking…
How in the hell subway drivers train to become a subway driver?! There must be some sort of class, note taking, hours of simulated driving, an exam they must pass. They MUST have a training period.
BUT, as in most jobs, there must also be that terrifying and nausea-inducing first day, in which the little baby bird of an employee must leap (or be shoved) from the safety of the training nest and ACTUALLY perform whatever task they have been hired to do.
What I want to know is how many times I have ridden on a subway that was conducted by a driver on their very first day. Does this explain a myriad of strange occurrences throughout my time as a dutiful subway rider?
I think back to the other day when, rather than the typical automated voice droning the stop and subsequent instructions for being a courteous rider, a person with a strange, high pitched, circus-announcer voice came over the intercom and made announcements.
“Laaaaaadies and Gentlemeeeeen, this is LEXINGTON and 59th!!!” He screamed excitedly, as if nothing so thrilling had ever before happened in his life.
“Pleaaaaaase step out, step out, step out of the car quickly! And make room for our new guests! New guests, new guests, kiiiiiiiiiiindly move to the interior of the car, say hello to the other passengers, and away, away, awaaaaaaaay we go!”
…This strange man was making the N train sound like a ride at the fair or a jaunty square dance rather than 20 people too many squeezed against each other like extremely uncomfortable sardines.
Could this be because it was this odd man’s first day? Was he so incredibly excited to finally be fulfilling his dreams of driving the N train that his enthusiasm was spilling out and over the intercom?
And could this explanation account for just yesterday, when the train inexplicably honked its incredibly loud horn over and over again, causing me to think “Who the hell are you honking at?! We’re on a singular track! I surely hope you’re not honking at ANOTHER TRAIN, sir or madam, because if you are, we are all about to die!”
But perhaps this was simply a fresh employee, being initiated into some secret subway drivers’ club by honking the horn and casually terrifying unsuspecting passengers!
I began to imagine the inner monologue of the inexperienced man driving the Q train I was currently on, awkwardly and continually scraping the side of the train against the walls.
“Oh…oh shoot. Sorry! Sorry. Dammit,” He would think, as the train emitted its shocked groan of discontent.
Swear pouring from his brow, he would nervously overcorrect and scrape the other side instead, all the while thinking, “I’m TRYING here! But this subway track is absolutely NOTHING like the one in the simulation! I think MAYBE these tracks have been updated since they developed the driver training in 1987!”
This is all just a theory, dear friends, and once which I’m sure bears very little merit. However, the thought of it entertained me until the conclusion of my ride, and I felt the amusing need to share my theory with you.
What do you think, subway riders of the world?