Riding Metro-North. Off-Peak.


My early morning routine, My zone, My sweet spot, is detonated.
I’m on the mid-afternoon train to Manhattan.
Everything is out of order. Way out of order.

It’s a sparsely occupied train.
A few Suits. Students. Tourists chattering. Children buzzing.
All rules of order violated. Quiet Car? What’s that?

The landscape is foreign as it flashes by the window.
The whites of winter turn to the darks of buildings, and back. Strobe lights. Disco. Discombobulating.
Pulse quickens. Wrong train? No. Daylight. Mr. Hyde makes his appearance in Light, flings his robe back, and works to shake off his lethargy.

Eyes are heavy from scanning emails. Words are merging together.  Regurgitation, without nourishment. Chewing, remembering nothing, looping back to re-read. Sigh.

I give up.

I plug my earbuds in. I drift off to David Gray: Sail Away.

Crazy skies all wild above me now
Winter howling at my face

The conductor calls out Grand Central. I’m startled. You slept the entire way.
My steps echo in the emptiness.
The long hallways are dotted with a handful of commuters. No where to race. No one to chase.
The Off Peak escalators are running the wrong way.
I look up the tower of stairs. Come on. It’s good for you…Sigh.

I exit onto 47th.
The streets are jammed with traffic. Bumper to bumper.
The sidewalks are congested, tourists, gawking, three abreast.
The Jewelry district is lined with pitchmen, I’m inhaling their smoke rings from hand rolled tobacco.

I need to stutter step the hurdles.
I’m waiting at each cross street for the light to turn.
Ain’t got no pace. Ain’t got no rhythm.

I reach into my bag to grab my building I.D. card.

A light drizzle begins to fall.

I left my I.D. at home in the car.

Notes: 1) Photo: SwipeLife. 2) Riding Series.


  1. Had to click on Sail Away, and while I was at it I listened to Babylon again. Nice!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Learnt a new word “discombobulating” ha. Sounds like you are a little out of sync with the flow of life! Hope you fall back into rhythm soon. Great writing as usual and I bet you have self doubts about that!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on General Secretary.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Put David Gray back on…there are days when the rhythm is impossible to dance to, so you might as well enjoy the music..

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sometimes we have to get out of the flow in order to recognize it–though not having your ID was a bummer
    enjoyed this immensely–I was right there with you

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sometimes you have to just go with the flow. Did they turn you away from the building?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Discombulating. Too much mystery here. Happy things are back to normal.


  8. I need my routine, but I also know how much it wakes me up to get dumped out of it. I once had a teacher who told us to open all doors with our non-dominant hand for a day. It’s amazing how asleep we are most of the time.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. You may have been out of synch for the day, pal, but Ya still got rhythm, pal. So enjoyed this post–I’ve missed my ” daily dose of Kanigan.” 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That’s so neat, Carolann! What does your husband do–something associated with sailing? You should DEFINITELY tag along on one of his trips. I’ve been to Fiji as well, and Bequia gets my vote….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I really enjoyed this. It was painful to doze off in the train and refreshing to wake up on 47th street- even while being assaulted by the sounds and smells. I was extremely shocked to find I had left my id card at home! So glad they let you in. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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