This past weekend the evil overlords of the MTA decided the L-train would not be running to my stop. Shuttle buses would be provided.
Okedokey, I've done this, I know how this works.
I'm on the street corner brushed and polished toting my bag o'tricks at 7:45am. Saturday mind you. 7:45am.
There are 20 people waiting with me. FIVE shuttle buses roll by before one comes that has any squeeze-in room at all. I get on, hang from the ceiling with my special Spider-Man shark gloves and off we go.
At the end of the line, the bus stops. A few people sort of start to get off but a lot just stand in the doorway. I say "This is the end of the line. Get off the bus." My tone might be three shades on the wrong side of "how the hell can you NOT know this." Obviously, the bus is at the Lorimer stop, and this is where the train starts running again. It's always like this.
We all clamber off, dive down the subway stairs, get on the train. It's nowhere near packed (which gives you an idea of how many people take the train: five busloads of people and the trains feel almost empty.)
The train doors close, and off we go.
At the very next stop, I see a train across the platform. Aha! I know this trick. The train on the other side goes back and forth to Manhattan, while the train on my side shuttles between Lorimer and Bedford. I remember this from the last time we did this little dance.
So I face the doors, and when they open, I leap out, zip across the platform, grab an empty seat and pat myself on the back for being such a smart, savvy New York train rider. Yes oh yes, I am the cat's jammies AND a bag of chips.
Except the train I'm now on doesn't move. The doors don't close. No one else is getting ON this train.
And across the platform, on the train I just exited comes the recorded announcement "Next stop Manhattan."
And I watch the train pull out of the station in the direction I want to be going.
Sharks! I leap off the train.
The train I've just exited closes its doors and heads off in the direction I don't want to go.
I sit on the platform for about three minutes before it dawns on me that I am now waiting for the train I just exited. It will go one stop, and then reverse direction. Only one track is functional at the Lorimer stop. When it comes back to the station where I'm now sitting, it will be full of the people who got off the next round of shuttle buses. If I'd simply stayed on that train, I'd have a seat.
How could I not have known that?
I could almost hear God laughing at the very sharp lesson in hubris I'd needed AGAIN. Those folks on the bus at the last shuttle stop would never know it but man I felt bad for that tone of voice I'd used.
And as always this is a reminder to me that things I think are obvious (how to query, how publishing works or doesn't, how to format a manuscript) are not all that obvious until you've tried doing it a couple times. And even then, sometimes you can outsmart yourself.
Have you learned any lessons repeatedly?