Commuters – Parking

I rev the engine as I wait for the light to turn green. The parking garage looms in the distance. My foot twitches over the pedal ready to floor it. Shit. An elderly lady with a shopping cart begins to cross against the light.

Come on! I scream to myself silently. Why can’t people obey the rules? Just once. I see my train is already on Platform B. Damn, once I park I will have to sprint up and down the steps to get to it.

The old lady has stopped right in the middle of the street. I can’t move. Should I honk? No you bastard, how can you honk at an old lady.

Beep! Beep! I hear a yell from behind me. The old woman has started to limp her way to the other side. I still can’t move. I flip the guy  behind me the bird. Oops, it’s not a guy. It’s a woman in a business suit driving a gigantic SUV.

The light changes red and the old lady has finished crossing. Now I have to wait a second time. I hit the gas as soon as the light changes and the person behind me honks again.

I try not to get pissed off. They are probably trying to make the train also. I race into the dark entrance to the lower level of the garage. If I’m lucky there will be an open spot here. The guys who work the night shift sometimes leave right before I arrive. No luck today. I continue racing up the levels of the garage.

I hope no one pulls out or I’ll smash right into them. I am on the fourth level and still haven’t found a spot. Now I’m on the roof and every spot is full. Damn, I start to sweat. I have to drive all the way back down, out of the garage, and through two traffic lights to the outdoor parking lot. I’m sure it will be almost full. Once I do get a spot I will have to sprint all the way back to the station.

I’ll never make it.

I manage to hit green lights and I get the car parked. I lock the door and run.

Of course I am not in shape for a half mile run in the freezing cold while wearing my suit. I sound like a horse galloping in my dress shoes on the sidewalk.

My chest is burning and I think I’ve torn the ligaments in my right knee. I stagger and limp to the crosswalk. Like an idiot I press the button and wait for the walk sign. Cars whiz by and I wait for an opening.

Finally it is my turn. I shuffle across the street and with my last ounce of energy I lunge and limp to the staircase. I hear the conductor announce “Penn Station” and I know that I am doomed.

I stagger up the stairs and as soon as I take the first step down, my knee gives out. I crumple to the step in agony. With superhuman effort I pull myself up and use the rail as a crutch. I am on the platform.

A fat-faced conductor watches me as I limp towards the open door. He gives me a shit-eating grin and the doors snap closed in front of me. The train moves.

I scream, curse, and stare at the conductor but his eyes are blank. I am a nonentity. He turns and looks away as the train departs.

My shoulders slump. I turn and watch a dirty sparrow chewing on a food wrapper.

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