This was your mission, Mr. Hunt. You choose to accept it and the fact that it didn’t work out…well, that’s on you.

Yesterday afternoon’s Albuquerque-to-JFK flight (Jet Blue, #66) left an hour late, but was expected to land by 11:30 pm. With my car parked at Jett’s home in West Orange, the plan was to take the Air Train to Howard Beach station and then an A train express to Penn Station and catch the last NJ Transit train to Orange — 12:55 am departure, arriving at 1:30 am. I arranged for an Uber to meet me at 1:35 am and take me to Jett’s — a four-minute ride (if that) that Uber would’ve charged me $30 for.

Flight #66 arrived at JFK at 11:40 pm (hey!), but it took us 20 minutes to unload. Did a 50-minute A train ride between Howard Beach and Penn Station seem reasonable? Maybe not, but at least I had a fighting chance if the Air Train and A Express were moving normally. Alas, the Air Train was on slumber meds and the A train killed me.

Maintenance issues are currently forcing the Manhattan-bound A train to unload passengers at Rockaway Blvd. We were shuffled into a sluggish bus, which drove us to the Euclid Ave. station. We got onto another A train but it was a local (whoo-hoo!), plus it just sat there for 11 or 12 minutes and then creaked and groaned and lumbered its way toward Manhattan, one pathetic stop at a time.

It was hell, but the NYC subway system has been making humans suffer for decades. You think late-night service is this soul-draining in London, Paris, Tokyo, Berlin, Moscow or Barcelona?

Ethan Hunt knew he was fucked as far as catching that 12:55 am train, so he cancelled the New Jersey Uber (a guy named Jose) but guess what? A $20 cancellation fee!

Ethan knew he was beaten. He got off the A train cattle car at Canal Street and figured he had no choice but to take an Uber to West Orange, which would cost $110 plus an after-tip. Then he spotted an ordinary Yellow Cab in front of a hotel. The driver told Ethan it would cost $120 but that included tolls plus having to take the Lincoln Tunnel (West 40th) because the Holland Tunnel is closed every night for six hours (11 pm to 5 am). Ethan went for it, the driver drove like a pro and we arrived at Jett’s home a little after 2 am.

JFK touchdown to West Orange, the total travelling time was two hours and 25 minutes.

If Jet Blue, which had cancelled my Tuesday night red-eye (Albuquerque to JFK) and thereby forced me to accept yesterday afternoon’s make-up flight…if Jet Blue hadn’t delayed the Albuquerque take-off by an hour-plus I might have made the last train to Orange and saved myself $80 or 90 dollars. Ethan Hunt and Hollywood Elsewhere are hereby expressing heartfelt gratitude.

Cinematic reference #1: A stressed-out Steve Martin swearing at the car-rental “gobble gobble!” lady in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Cinematic reference #2: A 50something woman barking at Jerry Lewis‘s Jerry Langford in The King of Comedy: “You should get cancer…I hope you get cancer!”