The first thing I did right was to take the first peak train of the evening rush. I took the 4:32 to Stewart Manor. I took this because it left early enough for me to make it to my doctor's appointment for my gimpy ankle (I chipped the bone in 2 places!) and because I didn't have to change at Jamaica. All went well on this commute. It was quiet and there was barely anyone on the train.
Going back in I took the 9:12 to Woodside. This was a little more lively. Most of the passengers were kids singing the entire time. But they were also inquisitve.
Kid 1 - "Hey, can you drive this train?"
Young Conductor (who I believe I saw him his first week of work when he got tips from a veteran conductor who told him not to take shit from anyone because his job is always on the line) - "I know how to drive it to the next station if something were to happen to the engineer."
Kid 2 - "What's the difference?"
Young Conductor (wearing a ring no man should wear) - "We're trained differently. He has an engineer's license and I don't. He can do things I can't and I can do things he can't. But we get paid the same."
The kids had enough and the yound conductor went on his way. He punched my ticket and told me to change at Jamaica. What a pro!
Switching at Woodside is always a breeze, if the 7 train is running, and it was. The subways were running perfectly and I didn't have to wait too long. The entire way back took about an hour, as if I were still commuting to work. After this recent trip I still don't miss the LIRR.