What to Do When Your Phone Dies on the Train


  1. Slip the phone into your pocket. You weren’t looking at anything interesting anyway. This is fine.

  2. This is great actually. You’ve been meaning to finish that crumb-smeared New Yorker in the bottom of your bag. What’s this now? The New Yorker is gone. You recycled it last night. You idiot, you haven’t finished that Dan Mallory thing! Reach for your phone to read it on the New Yorker app. Oh wait, you can’t.

  3. Now the train is stalled. People sigh and groan all around you. You should text your friend/spouse/daycare to let them know you’ll be late. Grab your phone. Oh but wait.

  4. Lol you should tweet “phone’s dead on the q train what am I supposed to do now?” Oh right, right, right. You can’t.

  5. The train still isn’t moving. Is time going backwards? There’s no way to know. Ask people nearby for the time, and discover that your voice is the craggy whisper of one who has been lost in the wilderness for years with no use for human language. Nobody answers you.

  6. Time is actually going backwards. Ask Siri “is there enough oxygen in subway tunnels?” Oh, but you can’t.

  7. Google “panic diarrhea how to prevent.” You can’t.

  8. Beside you, someone is watching The Office on her phone. You don’t even need the sound, you know exactly what’s going on. Dunder Mifflin is trying to buy Michael Scott Paper Co. and all Michael has to do is avoid revealing to David Wallace that his company is worth nothing. But you know he’s going to blow it. The set-up is exquisite. Each character arc is intertwined flawlessly. Dear god. Not only is this the best episode of this show, it might be the best episode of any show ever made. Google “office episodes ranked.” Oh fuck. You can’t.

  9. Alarmed by your desperate keening, the woman watching The Office moves away, bringing her phone out of view.

  10. Paw through your bag. Find the tiny Moleskine you bought for “all your ideas” and give it a good leaf-through. “Instagram but for sounds” and “musical adaptation of The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks” are not half bad. Remember a girl you went to drama camp with in 7th grade; she would be an ace collaborator on the musical bit. Try to find her on Facebook. Oh, but you can’t.

  11. Google “what was the girl’s name from camp?” You can’t.

  12. Google “what camp did I go to in 7th grade?” Can’t.

  13. Google. Can’t.

  14. Googlecant.

  15. Whisper “Siri please” into the rigid husk in your palm.

  16. Train moving. So good. Good.

  17. Just look at the floor and think about stuff. There sure is a lot to think about. Holy shit. Things are bad. Just globally, catastrophically bad. We are very much fucked. Why aren’t we storming the gates? What kind of traumatized, overstimulated, panicked general populace would just keep commuting back and forth to work right through the apocalypse? Watch your fellow passengers scrolling desperately on their phones and realize that you know the answer.

  18. Succumb to shudders.

  19. Ask Siri: “what is the past tense of succumb?” Oh, no. You can’t. Is it Succame? Jot this in your idea Moleskine.

  20. Check your idea Moleskine for likes.

  21. Google “how to get rid of my phone forever.” You can’t.