Today is one day that I can say I'm not particularly proud to be from Monmouth County, NJ.
To the parents of Monmouth County, I must say, our offspring, today, were an embarrassment to us.
To the management of New Jersey Transit, I say, learn how to run a railroad and anticipate hordes of additional passengers when there's a major event in New York City.
To the New Jersey Transit cop who ordered me to turn off my video camera when the police finally came to our rescue, I say, read the First Amendment before you leave roll call tomorrow.
All-in-all the 9:31 AM from Middletown, NJ to New York Penn Station was far from an enjoyable ride today.
It started with the kids - I'd say most of them in their late teens - coming on board at Middletown. Drinking. Smoking (yes smoking on the train). Pounding on the car's roof. Packed in like sardines. Acting the fool. Excited to be taking the train to New York City to attend the St. Patrick's Day parade.
Not all of them. But enough that - by the time we had gotten to Woodbridge - the conductor had had enough and had called the New Jersey Transit cops to meet the train.
When I saw them running along the platform to our car, I was elated. The car was packed. Kids were sitting on top of one another. The aisles were jammed. People were spilling beer on one another. And some were puking on each other.
And a few were actually smoking on a crowded train.
On the way, the engineer dutifully - in sight of an over packed train that defied common sense and public safety - stopped at each station to take on more passengers.
The worst incident of the ride could have been the view from the train of two girls on the platform at the Aberdeen-Matawan station. Both dropped their drawers in public view, squatted, and peed before getting on the train. I'm sure "ladies" your parents would have been proud of your actions.
By the time we got to - I think it was Elizabeth - I was a bit concerned about things getting out-of-hand. When I saw the cops hustling up the platform toward my car, I was relieved.
A Sgt. Lee ordered some of the kids off the train to relieve the overcrowding. And I made the - apparently in his mind arrestable mistake - of videotaping him - a public figure at work. He ordered me to turn the camera off or he'd arrest me for "obstruction."
Interesting. These kids are tearing up the car and he threatens to arrest me.
As a result of today's "interesting" ride, I have messages to the kids, to the NJ Transit management and to its police department.
To the kids: If you want to be treated as young adults, act like young adults. Your actions today were an embarrassment. To yourselves. To your parents. To your community.
To NJ Transit: When there's a parade or other major event in New York City - get your act together and put enough trains and cars on the line to handle the anticipated influx of passengers.
And to the cops: You have a tough job - one that I support. But you can't tread on another's rights. I have the right to videotape you in a public place doing the public's business. So do that and stop threatening people acting within their rights.