I recently moved. Along with the pains and sufferings of moving away from my favorite coffee place, it also meant a change to my subway station. No big deal I thought. I've got these trains down. Little did I know. Little do I know. My new station, Delancey, home of the F, M, J and Z, is convoluted, crowded and cruddy. I don't like it. I have yet to clearly know which track is which. Which direction, which train is running, where the heck is Jamaica? There's one level for the J, M and Z and one track below that is the F. I take the F most of the time so it shouldn't really be a problem. But it is. I still find myself down there waiting for a train–in the wrong direction. My body falls into patterns and my brain forgets to overrule these patterns. I stand there, my body thinks it's going to school so I'm waiting for an Uptown train. I don't figure out I'm headed in the wrong direction until I hear the driver announce the next stop. That's when my brain kicks in and hurls me off the train and I scurry up and over to the Brooklyn side. Unless of course I need to go Uptown, in which case, everything is ok.
Getting on the right car (in the right train) is a whole nother bowl of difficult. In New York trains are so long that if you're not careful you'll get off at 17th Street when you really just need to be at 14th Street. I want to be in the right car but it means I need to know which way is the front. As a subway newbie, perhaps getting in the right car is an added layer of complexity that I don't need.
In addition to wanting to be in the right car for my destination, I also like to exit the station so I'm closest to my house. This I have yet to accomplish. Why? Because when I go underground from the spot I'd like to come back up at, I'm taken down to the J, M, Z track. Once in I have to walk from one platform then down another level to take the F. So how do I get back up in that same way? I look at the signs, try to fix it in my brain but I haven't figured it out yet. I know my problems are in large part due to the cryptic signage that the MTA has posted around the station. Their inconsistent use of Downtown Brooklyn and Uptown leads me to be just as inconsistent with how I exit the station. It's my own little version of No Exit.
I have faith I'll figure it out, maybe in another three months?