A few Saturdays ago, Paul and I went to our first black tie gala for my job. I straightened my hair, he wore his wedding suit…it was so fancy.
We left Tiniest with my parents.
The event was downtown. I suggested taking Uber. “No!” says Paul, “Why waste money on Uber when we can just take the train?!”
So the train we take. And we’re a little out of place, but whatever.
Halfway there the train comes to a SCREECHING halt. “Hope we didn’t just hit somebody,” I say to Paul under my breath.
After about 3 minutes of sitting there, the conductor comes over the loudspeaker: “There has been an incident, please do not try to exit the train.”
“Oooooh no, that is not good,” I tell Paul. “If the train really hit someone, we are going to be here a long time.”
People start to get irritated.
Suddenly a dude sitting across the aisle from us with a cane starts going, “What the…what…”, gets up, and limps to the front of the car. And starts yelling.
Our train had hit someone. And our car stopped right in front of the dude it hit. You could see him out the front windows. So of course everyone runs up to look.
I didn’t look. My new friend in pink and I stayed in our seats.
“Is he dead?”
“He’s breathing, but there’s blood.”
“His pants! Did they get knocked off?”
“Oooooh shiit that m****f**** was hiiiiigh!”
“He’s definitely breathing though.”
“It doesn’t really look like he got hit by a train…except that blood on his head.”
“We’re never getting out of here.”
“So what do we do? This is a crime scene! Do we need to stay here until they finish the crime scene?”
“We can’t do anything, we can’t get out of the car.”
The first of the firetrucks arrive.
A police officer comes into our car, yells at everyone to PUT THEIR PHONES AWAY AND GET BACK IN THEIR SEATS, pulls down the front window shade (which blocks exactly nothing), and tells everyone to be patient, there is a rescue train on the way. AND NO MORE FILMING!
A rescue train! I feel a surge of hope.
As soon as he leaves everyone is back at the window again. Cane Man keeps on filming, narrating the whole thing: “SO the police just came by and told us NOT to film…but that’s some bullshit, I have my rights, I’m still filming.”
Someone starts tweeting #murderoustrain.
Someone else in another car forces the doors open and sets off an alarm. I watch him jump the fence around the rails and take off running down the street. Conductor comes over the loudspeaker again reminding everyone to NOT exit the train, that there is a rescue train coming.
How, I start wondering, does a rescue train work? Where would it come from? I’m picturing the rescue bus in Speed, where they put a plank in between the two buses, and we all have to walk across it to board the rescue train.
The girl sitting in front of us is on her way to work the night shift at Vons in Pasadena, calls her boss to tell her she has no idea when she’ll get there. I email my (new) boss that we are meeting at the dinner to let him know that we are stuck on a train, not sure if we’ll be there any time soon.
Cane Man keeps on filming.
About 45 min in they finally load the guy onto the ambulance. About 20 min after that, the train starts moving.
The rescue train was a lie. This whole time.
The train moves us to the next stop, opens the doors, and instructs everyone to get out, this train is done for the night. Doors close, train drives away. No trains running.
I try to find the number for a cab but instead find that….my phone is dead. Of course it is.
A lot of people just start walking. Given that we’re in South Central and dressed like we’re going to prom, I veto that option.
Paul tries to get an Uber, but every time he finds one the driver cancels. We can’t figure out why, until Paul takes a look and realizes for some reason his phone thinks we’re in Afghanistan. And it won’t let itself be corrected.
The cab companies aren’t answering.
And that is how Paul and I got stranded, in Crenshaw, in formal wear, at sunset.
(About half an hour later the train started running again along the second half of the route, and got us to the event about 2 hours late.)
We Ubered home.