25 minutes later, we got in our Uber and inched downtown on 5th Avenue towards Union square.
We caught every light, and almost collided with a speeding car when the driver ran a red light.
It would’ve gone right through us if our driver didn’t have that automatic break feature.
We cared for about two minutes.
It was nice to see all the high end department stores lit up with mannequins dripping in jewels and couture right off the runway.
We got to our destination, said goodnight, and I headed down to the Q train.
3 minutes later, the train came. Unheard of for early AM Sunday morning.
Everything’s coming up roses!
“This train…..on the bridge…..not Brighton beach.”
I did what every New Yorker does when there’s an announcement in the subway.
I looked around to see if anyone looked like they understood what the fuck it was he was mumbling about.
One short spikey haired bleach blonde woman did.
We all looked at her. She did her job.
“It’s going across the bridge but it’s not going on the Q line.”
“What the fuck!”
We all went into New York City underground crisis mode.
We were no longer strangers. We were now a squadron. Car 63, Stillwell avenue bound Q.
“Is it going to Atlantic Barclays!?” A guy asked our leader.
“It has too. It’s probably switching to the R, but the R stops there.”
She was good. Much better than me scaring the shit out of my Jersey bound co worker.
“…..water on the tracks….. not Dekalb…”
“He said there’s water on the tracks, so we’re skipping Dekalb Avenue.”
The squadron commiserated.
“Awwww, is thewe watew on the twacks!?”
“This shit wouldn’t happen in Manhattan!”
This ride was turning into a shit show but actually kind of nice now that we had all United.
We got to Atlantic Barclays and broke formation.
I stayed behind hoping it was a mistake and the conductor would say he was kidding and the next stop would be mine.
I stepped out to see what was going on on the platform.
There was a pre pandemic rush hour amount of people, looking around, disoriented, some had formed there own squads, studying subway maps and looking things up on there phones.
I found the only remainder of mine, maskless but I didn’t care, I just wanted to go home.
“They’re saying the Q is on another track!”
I looked around and realized we were in fact on the R track, and the Q was across the terminal.
I pointed him toward the stairs and we made our way there with countless others.
About 7 minutes later, we got to the Q platform. There was an announcement.
“The Q train is running on the D line due to water on the tracks”
I couldn’t take it anymore so I walked toward the Long Island Railroad platform/Exit.
Now, 2AM, I climbed three staircases, alone.
I got to the deserted Long Island railroad platform . Deserted except for the man passed out on the floor.
I moved quickly past him, sure he would wake up any second and push me onto the track.
He didn’t and I followed the many exit signs until I finally came across the actual exit.
That was about 5 or 10 minutes of sheer panic.
When I got outside it was of course raining.
I couldn’t make out any street signs. Unlike Manhattan, Brooklyn is not a grid. It’s many short or colliding streets. This one becomes that with no warning.
I called an Uber. $44.00, normally $17.00 or less, but fuck it!
My GPS said I was on Felix and Hanson. Never heard of them. Had no idea what was up or down.
I had no idea if my GPS was correct.
My Uber was 5 minutes away. The wind was picking up, so was the rain.
I got a message that he had arrived. Where? No idea. They’ll only wait a few minutes if that.
My phone was at 33%. Hopefully enough to call him.
“Hi, where are you?”
I looked across the street. Atlantic Terminal. I looked down the street. Atlantic Terminal. I looked up the street. Atlantic Terminal Barclays Center.
“I’m in front of, Buffalo Bills Wild Wings and Men’s warehouse?”
“Ummm.. I’m at Atlantic Terminal.”
I heard horns honking. He must’ve been blocking traffic.
“Do you hear me honking?”
“I hear it through my phone.”
I moved toward Atlantic Barclays and stopped in front of Citibank and Chucky Cheese.
“I’m at Citibank and Chucky Cheese.”
“Citibank? I’m at Citibank. Do you see me?”
I looked around, nothing.
“Oh God! There’s multiple Citibank’s!”
“Yes! YES! I’m going toward Atlantic Barclays!”
I was actually running toward it.
“Do you see me? I’m flashing the lights.”
I saw him! I started flailing my arms.
“Do you see me? I’m waving! I’m by a big truck!”
“Thank you! Thank you!!!”
I got in and on we went, deeper into sheets and sheets of rain water, multiple flashing lights, and cop cars blocking the entrance to the Verrazano bridge to Staten Island.
I thought of the woman at 96th in her $200 Uber only to find the best way home for was blocked.
30 minutes later of a normally 10 minute ride, I made it home.
I MADE IT HOME!!!
And I’m never leaving again!