And this is when I realize I’m on the wrong train.
And that it is an express and it has passed my stop.
I’m late. I’m on the wrong train. And I am now six stops in the wrong direction for my meeting.
I think I’m keeping it together but the passengers are watching me slowly freak out. As the squeal of the train against the tracks signals the next stop, I can only hear, ‘I’m on the wrong train. I’m on the wrong train.’ Screaming in my head to the same rhythm of the wheels against the tracks. I start to mumble it under my breath. The staring gets worse.
Crap. I’ll just get off the subway and grab a cab, I think. I check for my wallet to see if I have enough for a cab but I don’t have it. I don’t have my wallet or any spare change. I don’t have anything but my messenger bag, my stupid messenger bag that doesn’t have the agenda or the paperwork for the meeting.
Flustered, I push myself through the passengers to find a map and scan it for the upcoming track. Is it one that will let me transfer without leaving the station? It is. I am briefly relieved. I don’t have the funds for another token and maybe there will be a train going uptown.
The train I’m on lurches to a stop and I am swept off the train with the crowd. The train I want, the train on the other track squeals into the station. Panicked, I fight up to the top of the steps; across the bridge and down the other side just as the train doors are closing. I manage to get half my arm into the opening and it recoils just enough to let me in. I’m on it. I breathe and look around. This train is also crowded. I stand next to the connecting door between the cars and lean against the wall and try to relax and breathe.
Suddenly, I realize I need to change my pants. For some reason, I must change my pants right now. On the train.
I unzip them and try to pull them down. But I’m sweaty and my pants are tight and stick to my legs. I struggle, pushing them down slowly, inch by inch. I get them down to my feet but, for some reason, I forgot to take off my shoes. I struggle to get them over my shoes. The passengers are looking. I’m trying to ignore them as I continue to struggle with my pants. Then I hear the squawk of the announcer letting us know the next stop is coming up. My stop. My pants are stuck on my shoes. I can’t get them off. The passengers are watching me. I am unable to move and I have to get off the train right now…
It’s usually at this point I wake up, heart racing, sweat dripping and just a little too wound up for 3am. I’ve had this dream as long as I can remember. It’s this dream or some variation of it; I’m late. I get on the wrong train/car/bus/boat going the wrong way without my important papers for my important meeting that I’m late for. I get off the wrong train/car/bus/boat and onto the right train/car/bus/boat and then, I have to take my pants off.
I never remember to remove my f-ing shoes first.