College tours have begun and yesterday was our first foray into traveling to a school to review it. Plus meet with some people. Here’s how the first part of our day went:
Wake up to a sunny day. Walk the dog. Teenager is ready to go. Leave the apartment on time. Snacks in bag. Get to NJ Transit. Buy our round trip ticket to Princeton (71 dollars). We are so on time. 9:01 will get us in at 10:10. The Teenager is scheduled to meet with the Creative Writing department at Princeton at 11am. I put on my headphones, deep into S-Town. The Teenager digs into her chocolate croissant. I look at my watch. It’s 9:10. We haven’t moved. Conductor ok loudspeaker makes an announcement. Issue with train. Strongly urges us to take the Path to Newark Penn Station and pick up train from there. Teenager looks helpless. We gather our things. I worked in the building above Penn Station for years; I know where to go. We race to the Path on Sixth Avenue and 32. Our destination is Newark Penn Station, where we are told trains will be available to get us to Princeton. Get on the train to Journal Square. Dozens of passengers from Penn Station are in the same state of panic that we are in. While on the Path, en route to to Journal Square, the conductor announces that the train is being re-routed to Hoboken. Advised to transfer for a Path going to Newport. More groans. Teenager is not pleased. I put my hand on her arm, squeeze. The train is slow moving. We get off in Hoboken. Follow the herd for the transfer to Newport. Everyone jumps on a train that’s pulling into the station; told it’s not going to Newport. My backpack is caught in the doors as they close. I push through; I’m a New Yorker. We wait fifteen minutes for the right Path, the one to Newport where we will transfer to another Path train to get us to Newark Penn Station. It’s 10am now; we have not had cel phone service since we’ve entered this PATH situation. The Teenager is desperately trying to email the people at Princeton to no avail. I tell the Teenager we have a solution: when we finally emerge from PATH hell, we will get a taxi to take us to Princeton. The emotional exhale is worth the cost of the car. The correct PATH comes; this has us going back into the city but cuts down on additional transfer. It too is slow moving, compounding our stress. We arrive in Newark finally at 10:45. We have cel phone service. Her email to Princeton sends. We are learning that a NJ Transit train went off the rails (again) and there are no trains going in or out of Penn Station. We are one of thousands of stories like this today. We jump into a car (63.32). The Teenager’s relief, oh what a feeling. We pull up to Princeton at 11:45. We are definitely late. But we have arrived. And that’s what counts.
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