This weekend, I was very excited to experience my first ever ride on Amtrak. From New York City to Albany, a scenic ride along side the beautiful Hudson River. I got up, went to work, then took the subway into Manhattan to Penn Station.
Soon I was on the north-bound train, and was welcomed by a cozy, big, double seat to myself and free WiFi. Before the train even starts a group of women sits down and begins talking very loudly. One of them is clearly drunk, and is the only person whose voice can be heard throughout the entire train car.
The young woman starts mentioning to the stranger next to her that she’s with her boss. “This is my boss … this is my boss.” She’s pointing at her aggressively. She starts asking the stranger what he does for a living, and he says he’s a musician. She starts yelling out her guesses about what instrument he plays, and scores with a “fucking saxophonist.”
Mind you, this is only 5 or 10 minutes into all of us boarding the train. An older man shouts out, “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” She responds: “Yes, that’s why I’m here and not home right now.” Whatever that means. The boss mentions aloud, perhaps in an attempt to shut her up, “We were supposed to be working on the way home, weren’t we Suzy?”
Do you ever have sex on stage?
Suzy* responds that there isn’t WiFi, but I know there is because I’m on it. The conversation strays back to Suzy asking the musician what he does and she asks, “Do you ever have sex on stage?” Right, because that would be appropriate. Eventually the nice saxophonist says, “I hope you have a job tomorrow.” Her boss’ reply: “She may not.”
The boss continues throughout the first hour of the three-hour train ride to apologize profusely for her employee. The boss is also sitting next to a stranger; she and her hot mess entered the train last so they had to take the only available seats left on the train and are sitting apart from each other, allowing me to be a witness to all of this. The boss says to the man next to her, “You’ve gotta feel bad for me that I need to supervise her.”
At one point, Suzy takes her boss’ glasses and starts imitating her. She goes, “Jillian is like this at work … hey, I’m Jillian!” Good one, Suzy! The boss begs for her glasses back, to no avail.
Eventually Suzy gets up to go to the bathroom, and the boss starts to explain to the man next to her that Suzy won’t actually be losing her job tomorrow. She says it’s because, she is “a good person” and though “one may question my judgement, why I hired her … she’s very smart.” She also apologizes again to the person sitting next to Suzy and he responds, “Don’t worry I’m used to it. I have children.” Shortly after she returns from the bathroom, and right on cue, Suzy asks: “Are we there yet?”Just like a child would.
I try to pretend this isn’t happening around me and do some work on my laptop. But it’s impossible to ignore. “I guess my alarm won’t have to be set for work tomorrow.” At this Jillian says, “Don’t start with me, Suzy.” About a half hour later, she starts asking her boss to set her alarm for her! Then asks if she is staying at her house tonight! Well, by now it’s clear this boss-employee relationship has some blurred lines!
The boss says in a stern, motherly voice: “Suzy, we have two events tomorrow. You know you need to be working.” Suzy trails off and starts asking where they will be partying tonight once they get to Albany.
If we’ve learned anything from this story it’s that you probably shouldn’t (or totally should) get drunk on Amtrak with your boss, and that the real Hot Mess in this story is Jillian! Get it together lady—there are plenty of good and smart people out there you can employ that won’t make a total fool of you on public transportation!
*names have been changed
Posted By: Jenny Pryor