This morning, I actually got to the L early. I know I was early because I saw the Train People I only see like twice a month. Everything was normal, then between Lorimer and Bedford the heating element in my car CAUGHT ON FIRE.

(Now, not to brag, but when I first moved to Williamsburg, the G train was ALWAYS on fire. It was like the Christine of the MTA.)

I actually had no idea what was happening as I was engrossed in a heuristic dissection of “And We Danced” by the Hooters, which happened to be playing on my iPod. But then, all of a sudden, I was nearly knocked off my feet by a stampede of people from the other side of the car. “The train’s on fire!”

Ecco homo: Some people panicked. Others barely looked up from their paperback copies of The Corrections. I grabbed onto the hulking man standing in front of me so as not to be flattened. (If you’re reading this, I’m sorry about that.)

We all got off at Bedford and the conductor and motorman checked out the scene. Apparently the coils had got too hot. So they turned off the heat and announced the dreaded “This train is out of service.” Incredibly, people stood poised to hop right back on, presuming (I thought incorrectly) that the MTA is given to fits of mercurial whimsy and would announce I jes’ keeeeeding! I lingered as far away as I could, contemplating taking the L back to Lorimer and hopping on the G.

But spank me hard and call me Shirley. The conductor, after turning off the heat in the car and, oh, I dunno, employing his *years of training* as a terrorism expert to determine that the fire was not, in fact, a bomb of some sort, let us back on the train.

I swear to god, people were jockeying for seats on the bench DIRECTLY ABOVE where the flames had shot out. The smell of charred flesh and Payless Shoes still hung in the air. I guess I’m just as much of an idiot as everyone else, because I got back on the train too. I mused on the fact that when I first moved here, I wouldn’t even get on the train if there was a discarded paper bag under the bench, but that was then. Of course, I used to say “bless you” to sneezing strangers on the street.

People bravely chatted with each other about the struggle they’d just endured. Meanwhile, I listened to my iPod and had a vision of sorts:

“Ever tell yous about the L-Train Troubles of October Ought-Three?” they’d tell the children they would undoubtedly sire after the adversity of the morning’s events would embolden them to shtup in the elevator at 14th Street-Union Square, introducing themselves only after the seed had planted and they’d shared an awkward moment trying to figure out whose Jonathan Franzen was whose.

“And that’s how I met your mother.”

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