Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Beware of Flying Phones

Yesterday afternoon, 5:30.  Commuter exodus from NYC.
World Trade Center PATH (Port Authority Trans-Hudson) Terminal, where trains pick up and drop off commuters between Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. A quick 8 minutes (give or take a few) from Point A to B - under the Hudson River. I try not to think about that part.

I was going with the flow - down a steep escalator, through a turnstile, along a hallway, deeper down a set of stairs.  People ahead of me suddenly started walking faster.  The train was waiting, but not for long. I caught a glimpse of open doors and picked up the pace.

"Beware of the closing doors," the robotic voice sounded.
Two choices. Wait for the next train or Go For It!
What did I have to lose? An arm, foot, computer bag, perhaps, crushed in the slamming doors? Nothing that dramatic, but I could incur the "Look of Scorn" from sardine-packed commuters, were I to trip the door's automatic eye and cause even a momentary delay.

My decision to Go For It didn't take into account the fact that there was no place to GO!  Multiple bodies formed a solid wall at the very door at which I was rushing head-first.
Too late. Momentum has little patience for wishy-washiness. I pushed my way in, then was pushed in further by three people who stumbled in behind me.
My shoulder hit something soft, cushiony, rotund. A man's belly.  Before I had a chance to say "Pardon me," the train lurched forward.  I grabbed the nearest pole. He grabbed for his phone, as it left his hand and headed towards my head.  He missed.

Whack! Right against my temple. Then to the floor. A BlackBerry.  Not even an iPhone. I might have been more forgiving had the brand been more to my liking.

Who knew that a flying phone could carry such a wallop, sting with such a vengeance?

The man-with-the-belly apologized, three times.
"Are you OK?" he asked.
"I'm so sorry." Then later, "Are you sure you're OK?"

"I'm fine," I assured him. It was only a phone attack, after all. I would survive. Kind of him to ask, though.

As the train slowed to a stop at the Newport Station and I made my way to the door, we nodded to each other, acknowledging our mutual encounter.

He sped away, as I walked along the platform, climbed the steps, through the tunneled hallway, up the crowded escalator and OUT into the evening light.

Safely at home, I surveyed my injury in the mirror.

Not even a scratch to document my close call. . . with a phone.


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