Falling Asleep on Public Transportation

Falling Asleep on Public Transportation


When you don’t have to drive yourself home, you tend to stay out later and drink more. That’s the way it is here at least. I don’t really like taking cabs all that often. The social interaction is always awkward for me. Plus, it’s pricey. So I usually suck it up and take the train. Or back when I lived in NJ the bus. Here are some fun stories of the lucky, funny, and scary times I’ve fallen asleep on public transportation.

Don’t Rely on Luck

It was my first week in my new apartment so I went out with friends to celebrate. We took advantage of some really cheap cocktails at a bar in the village. I was still getting the hang of the train routes to my new place. But for the most part I knew my options. I got on an F train which would take me directly to my closest subway stop with no transfers. When I left the bar, I knew I didn’t feel well. Drinking some water on the way to the train wasn’t helping either. I managed to get a seat on the train but was still feeling really lousy. Really drunk and really nauseous. At some point, I knew I was going to get sick. So I got off the train at the next stop and got sick on the platform. Classy! I felt a little bit better. Well enough to get back on the next train.

The next train comes, I get on and take a seat. Now I’m just feeling tired rather than sick. I sit back in the seat and close my eyes, knowing there’s still a ways to my stop. I had lived in Manhattan previously so I wasn’t used to the difference in time it took to get to Brooklyn from various neighborhoods. Next thing I remember, I hear a metal clanging really loud next to me. I open my eyes and the conductor is standing in front of me yelling “Last stop! Get off the train!” I look around and I am definitely all alone on the train. I wearily stumble out and realize that I am at my stop! The last stop on the G train is my stop – Church Avenue. Apparently, the train I stumbled onto was a G train. And I hadn’t even realized.

I was very fortunate because otherwise, if I stayed on the F, I would have ended up in Coney Island for sure. Technically, the conductors are supposed to check the train for passengers at the last stop before pulling it out of the station. But they don’t always do this. I have had friends who ended up on an actually empty, powered down train, on the tracks, because it was never checked!

Look Like A Crazy Person

On a Sunday last August, I went out with some friends for day drinks. Nothing too crazy. Certainly not like the first story. We walked around the West Village just casually hanging out and stopping at places. At one point, we met up with a friend who lived near-by. He was weeding out his closet and trying to get rid of clothes. So he brought a bag of clothes he was going to donate, to see if we wanted anything. One of the things in the bag was a nice wool coat that he no longer wanted. I liked the look of it so I grabbed it.

This was early August so the weather was very muggy in the city. When it gets so hot, the subway cars blast air conditioning. Sometimes it’s welcoming but other times it is literally freezing. So I had the bright idea to wear the winter coat on the train on my way home.

Several hours later, we all part ways, and I’m carrying my nice wool coat. I get on an F train (damn F train again). It’s an old train so I get a seat in the corner at the end of the car. I wrap the coat around me, get really cozy, and promptly fall asleep.

It was so comfortable that I woken up a while later by the train being above ground. This really only happens after my stop. So, I definitely missed my stop. But the hilarious part was no one was sitting next to me. In fact, the people who were in the same train car with me, were very far away from me. Like, when you see a homeless person asleep and you don’t even want to sit in the same row of seats as them.

Sure, I wasn’t smelly. But it was over 90 degrees outside and I was asleep on a train in the early evening wearing a winter coat. Not typical normal-person summertime behavior. I would have questioned this person too!

However, I did learn that if you want some space on the train, just behave irrationally (and you don’t even have to cause a scene).

Falling Asleep on a Jersey City Jitney Bus and Somehow Did Not End as a News Story

Okay, I fully admit this one is the worst. Let me put this into context of the bus I was on. I was living in Jersey City Heights at the time. There isn’t a convenient PATH station to the city and NJ Transit buses are kind of expensive. So this private company has these little white short jitney buses that cost about $1 and make various stop s ending at Port Authority in Manhattan. They are barely legal. There is no time table. There are no actual official bus stops. No bus stop signs for them. When you’re on the bus and you want to get off at the next stop, you have to yell “Next Stop”.

A friend came to visit me from out of town and was staying in the city. So I came in to hang out with her. We had some day beers, then some food, and walked around some. It was a very long day. I wasn’t drunk but was exhausted from the busy day and tired from the earlier alcohol. I was very used to these buses and knew just how long I had to my stop. I got on the crowded bus at Port Authority and laid my head next to the window. Someone was sitting next to me. It was very loud.

Then I opened my eyes to see how close I was to my stop and no one was sitting next to me. I looked up and no one was on the bus. But the bus was still moving. So I thought maybe it wasn’t too far.

I walked up to the front to the driver. He saw me in the mirror and his eyes grew large like, “oh shit!”. Apparently he didn’t know that I was still on the bus.

He asks what stop I’m looking for. When I tell him, he responds, “Oh, very far.”

At this point I’m half-awake, a little buzzed, very tired, and just not thinking straight at all. I’m not sure where we are. And am trying to figure out how I can call for a cab. I ask the driver if he will just let me out but he continues driving. There was a language barrier here so that didn’t help. But we clearly were in the middle of no where around Jersey City so just dropping me off probably wasn’t a good idea.

I’m still standing trying to process what to do. When we now pull into a bus yard. A bus yard, definitely in the middle of no where, only warehouses surrounding it, with all these little jitney buses. I wonder to myself if I can call a cab to come to “the jitney bus yard”. The driver isn’t really saying anything because language barrier. But once he stops the bus in the yard, he opens the door and points out. Still really confused, I get off the bus. What else can I do at this point? I think I ask something and maybe he says something like “one moment.”

Okay now I’m just standing in the middle of this bus yard with no one else around except this bus driver. Who is now driving the bus around to park it. I do have my phone but have no idea who to call. He disappears from my view. For whatever reason, I never really worry. I just keep running through my options in my head.

Then a car pulls up to me in the yard, it’s the bus driver. He says the name of my stop and that he will drop me off there. Not knowing what better options I have, I get in the car. With the bus driver.


Yes, I am fully aware that this could have ended very terribly.

But it didn’t. We rode in silence and I told him some cross streets that were near my apartment but not directly in front of it. He dropped me off and I thanked him profusely for the help.

Then I walked up to my apartment and flipped the fuck out that I was somehow still alive and holyshit that was bad news and wow so glad he was a normal person.

Lesson learned. For as many times as I’ve fallen asleep on the train, I am now super extra careful about all buses!


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