I was headed to the Swedish Mid-Summer Festival in Wagner Park on the lower West Side when the Path train lost power.
I have to explain I am not Swedish. I have never visited Sweden, eaten their food, drunk their beer. I attend this fest every year because it is clean, wholesome fun. People in colorful costumes dance around the Maypole, while a small band plays. Everyone is eating and laughing and hugging. No one curses or vomits; no fights break out. Goofy dances include holding onto another’s ankle while trying to do steps. All of this is evidently legal.
Honestly, Swedes look healthier than the rest of us. If feasible, I would hug a Swede every day.
My train left Hoboken at twenty to five, moving very slowly, not a good sign. At three minutes to five it stopped. We were told it was temporary. No one blinked. Then we were told there was a problem with one of the cars. People nodded. Then we heard we wouldn’t be stopping at Grove Street. Some concern crossed our faces. Then came those two dreaded words, “Power Failure”. Passengers were visibly upset.
One woman got up and stared out the window into blackness, moaning softly. Men paced the car. One was grateful it was his wife’s turn to pick up the kids. Strangers bonded.
Not me. I sat there with my legs crossed reading an article about a twenty-six year old woman who had just gotten a two million dollar contract from St. Martin’s Press because her series of novels on trolls were huge sellers. I sighed. Trolls. Jesus.
I took out my camera and reviewed shots I took at the previous week’s Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Perhaps if I spent more time writing and less going to parades and festivals I’d have my own book deal.
After a grueling hour we began moving and shortly made it to the World Trade Center where a crowd was being held back by soldiers and cops. A long line led to the ferry, the only real alternative. It was drizzling, but not enough to interfere with the festivities.
Later, I just kept muttering about trolls.
Wait. A troll having a panic attack on a stalled train surrounded by tall, healthy Swedes.