You sidestep through traffic to weave behind the taxi, not wanting to risk an accident. As you go to cross the bike lane to finally make it into the station, you pause for an oncoming cyclist. \n\nYou get to the [[gate for your train|Train gate]] just as it's closing.
Do Not Walk: <<print $time_remaining>> seconds\nThe time is now: <<print $clock_time>>\nTrain leaves at: 5:38\n\nYour feet <<if $foot_pain gt 2>>really,<<endif>> <<if $foot_pain gt 1>>really<<endif>> hurt.
<<if $businessmen eq true>>You pretend not to hear.\n\n<<endif>><<if $gutter eq true>>A loud beep interrupts your power-walk and your heart simultaneously. A huge bus pulls into the stop, forcing you on to the street again. \n\n\n <<endif>> \nA flood of commuters pours out from their corporate-branded private bus on to the pavement right in front of you. Swinging laptop bags and company schwag, they ignore you and stand still to chat, right in your way.\n\n[["Excuse me"|Excuse me]]\n[[Head into the gutter|Head into the gutter]]\n[[Put on a burst of speed to dart past them|Dart past them]]\n\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 1>>\n<<display 'Watch'>>
You hobble into the station in a terrifying mood, and just about make it to the gate as it's closing.\n\nScowling at the guard as you wave your ticket in her direction, she scowls back and affirms your belief that humanity's out to get you.\n\nYou make it on to the train, but all the seats are taken and you have to stand for most of the journey. With your shoes safely in your bag, your feet get some time to breathe, but the glances you're attracting from other passengers put you on edge. What are you supposed to do, suffer through it?\n\nYou spend the journey in a bad mood, which you can't quite shake even with happy thoughts about the dinner ahead. What a day.\n\nTHE END
<<silently>>\n<<set $time_remaining = 10>>\n<<set $clock_time = "5:37">>\n<<set $businessmen = false>>\n<<set $homeless = false>>\n<<set $gutter = false>>\n<<set $foot_pain = 0>>\n<<endsilently>>\nIt's been a long day. First, you spilled coffee over your favourite outfit this morning, causing a quick-change Superman would be proud of. Your laid-back dog spotted a squirrel on your morning walk, and she misbehaved all the way home; you left for work with her barks ringing in your ears.\n\nYour boss must've had a similar morning, because she laid into you the moment you arrived and didn't let up all day. Nothing you did was good enough today, even when you worked through your lunch hour to meet her impossible deadline.\n\nTo top it all off, your go-to coffee shop ran out of pastries just when you needed an afternoon sugar hit.\n\nAt least the day's over. [[Time to get home|Walk]].
You clip-clop along the platform, wave your ticket at the gate guard and collapse into a seat on the train. You made it. You relax into your seat, daydreaming about the dinner ahead, the good old days, and how much has happened since then.\n\nTHE END
You eye up the crowds ahead and it strikes you that walking in the bike lane would get you to the station much faster than dealing with all those people in your way.\n\nWithout looking, you sidestep off the curb into the road. The force of the step jolts through your feet and sends a little twinge up your leg.\n\nA passing bicyclist yells at you - you shrug it off. Let him yell. You've [[got to get home|Onward]].\n\n<<silently>><<set $foot_pain = $foot_pain + 1>>\n<<set $gutter = true>>\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 2>>\n<<endsilently>><<display 'Watch'>>
You're short on time, but it's cross or miss the train. You step out into the road as the clock nears zero.\n\nTraffic's heavy, and impatient. The light changes and you're halfway across the road. Taxis start to beep, and a cyclist weaves out from traffic to power past the stopped cars. A frustrated driver revs her engine and pulls past you the moment she can.\n\nAhead, a taxi driver is pushing through the crosswalk to turn right. He's staring at the pedestrians crossing in the other direction and hasn't seen you. The car next to him is honking at you like crazy.\n\n[[Cross in front of the taxi|In front of the taxi]]\n[[Take the longer way behind the taxi|Behind taxi]]
Your conscience arrests you and you dig into your designer purse for the first bill that comes to hand.\n\nAfter throwing a $20 into the homeless woman's cup, you [[power onwards|Onward]] and try to make up for the time by pounding your feet more.\n\nBehind you, a man detaches from the bus line and starts following you towards the station.\n\n<<silently>><<set $homeless=true>>\n<<set $foot_pain = $foot_pain + 1>>\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 3>>\n<<endsilently>>\n<<display 'Watch'>>\n
You speed up as fast as your stilettos will let you. Unfortunately the street ahead is far from clear. A sea of people stands between you and the opposite side of the road.\n\nA cluster of businessmen are ambling along the left side of the pavement, exchanging overloud laughs and slaps on the shoulder.\n\nTo the right is a bus stop. Given that it's rush hour, the bus shelter is packed.\n\n[[Push past the businessmen|Push]]\n\n[[Attempt to weave through the bus crowd|Bus]]\n\n[[Duck out into the street|Gutter]]\n\n[[Stay behind the tide of people|Stay]]\n\n<<display 'Watch'>>
Elbows out, you yell 'Excuse me' and march past the businessmen, forcibly pushing the closest one into his comrade as you work your way through the pack.\n\nPerhaps a little too forcibly. They both seem to take offence at your behaviour, but you're too busy power-walking away from them to notice their traded looks.\n\nOne of them speaks up. 'Hey, lady!'\n\n[[Ignore the man|Onward]]\n[[Apologise|Apologise]]\n\n<<set $businessmen = true>><<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 2>><<display 'Watch'>>
Despite the pain in your feet, you realise the only way to get through this crowd is speed and agility. Thank goodness for all those mornings at the gym. You put on a burst of speed and practically dance your way through the crowd, slipping between backpack-toting obstacles as smoothly as butter.\n\nIt takes a toll on your already-battered feet, but what the hell. You're going to be able to sit down [[in a moment|Crossing]].\n\n<<set $foot_pain = $foot_pain + 2>><<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 2>><<display 'Watch'>>
You push your way into the throng of humanity waiting for the bus. Most are silent zombies, staring at their cell phones as they contemplate the latest Facebook update. Easy to navigate.\n\nAs you weave your way through these living obstacles, your eyes lock with a homeless woman sitting in the corner of the shelter under a pile of mismatched clothes and blankets. She's clutching a battered McDonald's cup and a cardboard sign which reads 'Cancer Survivor, Homeless, 3 Kids. Please Help'. A very human odour emanates from her.\n\nSomething about her eyes reminds you of your mother, who also survived cancer.\n\n[[Continue to the station|Onward]]\n[[Throw some money in her cup|Donate]]\n\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 2>>\n<<display 'Watch'>>
You turn around and attempt to convey your remorse.\n\n'Sorry, I'm just in a real hurry. Terrible day. Gotta get that train!'\n\nThe man is pacified, but you've wasted some time.\n\n[[Onward|Onward]]\n\n<<set $foot_pain = $foot_pain+1>><<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 2>><<set $businessmen = false>><<display 'Watch'>>
<<if $gutter eq true>>It worked before, so you try it again. Stepping out into the gutter between the bus and the pavement, you avoid the commuters successfully. \n\nHowever, you're in such a hurry - and overconfident. You aren't looking down properly, and your heel catches on a grating in the road. Your ankle twists, and you stumble, narrowly avoiding the bus as it swings back out.\n\nYour heart races and you have to take a moment to breathe and recover before [[crossing the road|Crossing]].\n<<set $foot_pain = $foot_pain + 2>>\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 4>>\n<<endif>>\n<<if $gutter eq false>>\nDespite the traffic and narrow gap, you brave the gutter between the bus and pavement, counting on the bus's massive bulk to protect you. Your foot twinges from the shock of the step down, but you banish the pain.\n\nYou manage to successfully avoid the commuters, darting between them as they leave the bus, and you elbow your way back on to the street as you [[get to the crossing|Crossing]].\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 2>>\n<<set $foot_pain = $foot_pain +1>>\n<<endif>>\n<<display 'Watch'>>
You anxiously click your tongue and sigh loudly, hoping that people in front of you will sense your need to be somewhere and magically part the crowds for you.\n\nThey don't.\n\nYou continue [[towards the crossing|Onward]] at a slow pace.\n\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 6>>\n<<display 'Watch'>>
Don't Walk
Despite the pain, despite the time, you head out into the road. It's the only way to have a remote chance of getting your train.\n\nYou hobble slowly through the crosswalk, as the traffic light changes to green and rush hour traffic starts to try to move around you. Cars beep loudly and drivers start cursing from their cars. One even pretends to move forward and mow you down, pulling up sharp right in front of you and startling you. Must really be in a hurry.\n\nAfter a few more agonising steps you approach the other side.\n\nAhead, a taxi driver is pushing through the crosswalk to turn right. He's staring at the pedestrians crossing in the other direction and hasn't seen you. The car next to him is honking at you like crazy.\n\n[[Cross in front of the taxi|In front of the taxi]]\n[[Take the longer way behind the taxi|Behind taxi]]
You always wondered why some of the crossing signs have numbers, some don't, and some don't even have little men on them.\n\nEver since you saw a police officer actually give a ticket to a pedestrian who started crossing when the hand was flashing, you've been a little wary of the countdown clock. There are no police in sight today, but you never know who's in plain clothes just waiting to pounce on suspected jaywalkers.\n\n[[Back|Walk]]
You gratefully sink on to a bench and check the time of the next train. Great. A whole hour.\n\nThis means you'll be late for dinner, so you call Sophie to apologise, but she doesn't pick up. You reluctantly get some work out of your bag and try to spend the time productively.\n\n<<if $homeless eq true>>As you're getting absorbed in colour-coding your to-do list, an unkempt-looking man in nondescript clothing approaches you. You wonder if he's homeless and saw you donating money earlier. As he gets closer, you wonder whether to ignore him or not, but decide that you'd prefer to be doing something, anything to fill the time.\n\nJosh introduces himself and shatters your assumptions by explaining that he's the founder of a charity devoted to street kindness. He asks you about the homeless woman and explains more of her story to you. As you listen, you start to question your own beliefs and assumptions, and leave the conversation with Josh's card and a lot to think about.\n\nOn the train home, you finally get in touch with Sophie, who's understanding about dinner. You daydream about the good old days, muse about privilege, and think about your mother. You vow to call her tomorrow. It's been too long.\n\nTHE END.\n<<else>>The whole ordeal around getting to the station has shaken you and you can't really focus on anything. You try to relax but just start worrying more and more about being late for dinner, your stress levels, and whether you're really doing what you want for a career.\n\nYou get up and buy a coffee from the booth at the station. As you're waiting for your latte, a guy picking up his coffee looks at you and asks "Hard day?". This moment of kindness sets something off in you. Instead of responding with your usual caustic brutality, you open up to him and spend the next half hour chatting as you wait for your respective trains.\n\nOn the train home, you turn his card over and over, wondering whether this was some kind of fate, life's form of an intervention. You pull up job listings on your phone and barely remember to call Sophie to let her know you'll be late. You've got plenty to think about. \n\nMaybe you'll call the guy back tomorrow. Maybe not. But something's different now.\n\nTHE END.<<endif>>
Banking on the commuters' professionalism, you exclaim "Excuse me guys, gotta get through" and sure enough, they actually step aside for you.<<if $businessmen eq true>>\nBehind you, the businessmen exchange glances.\n<<endif>>You're nearly [[at the crossing|Crossing]] now. Time is ticking by.\n\n<<set $time_remaining = $time_remaining - 3>>\n<<display 'Watch'>>
Sophie's your oldest college friend, your former roommate and closest confidante. Since you went in opposite directions - she to the East Coast, you out West - you've stayed in touch and made it a point to catch up whenever one of you travels to the other's neighbourhood.\n\nSince the kids, she's been travelling less and less, and you've been pulling crazy hours at work yourself. Has it really been a year since you last saw her?\n\nShe's in town for a business trip this week, and tonight's the last night before she leaves.\n\n[[back|Walk]]
<<if $businessmen eq true>>Somehow, those businessmen you shoved have managed to make it to the gate at the same time as you. The train guard is yelling "last call", and the businessmen shove their way past you to beat you through the gate. \n\nGuess you sparked some competitive instinct earlier.\n\n<<if $foot_pain gt 2>>You try to push through with them, but the pain in your feet distracts you and the guard closes the gate right in front of you.\n\nYou beg, plead and cajole but she's stone-faced and impassive. You resign yourself to [[waiting for the next train|Waiting for the next train]].\n<<else>>You push through alongside them, insinuating your way into their pack. You get swept up with them on to the train, and relax into your seat with a sigh.\n\nAs you're calming yourself down from the ordeal of getting aboard, you are brought out of your daydreams by the loud, obnoxious conversation a certain group of men is having a few rows back about the rudeness of certain women, various properties of their physical appearance, and a whole tirade of other comments. \n\nYou move seats, but you can't shake the comments running around your head and your journey home is extremely unpleasant as a result. You try to banish the thoughts with plans for dinner, but never quite recover from the bad mood they've put you in. \n\nWhat a day.\n\nTHE END\n<<endif>>\n<<endif>>\nThe train guard is yelling "last call". You hastily wave your ticket at her and hurry on to the train. Taking some deep breaths to recover from the chaos of boarding, you relax into your seat and close your eyes to calm yourself down.\n\nSoon enough, you start daydreaming and reminiscing about your college days. You're really looking forward to this dinner, though you're going to need to change your shoes.\n\nTHE END
You reach the crossing. Victory is in sight.\n\n<<if $time_remaining gt 3>>\nThe clock on the crossing sign says <<print $time_remaining>>. That's enough time for you to sprint across the road, or as close to a sprint as you can manage, anyway.\n\n<<if $foot_pain lt 3>>\n\nYou pick up your pace and clatter hastily through the crossing, watching as the numbers count down.\n\nA taxi trying to turn right barely notices you, but manages to stop in time. You wave a thank-you and [[enter the station|Enter the station]].\n<<else>>\nYou try to pick up your pace, but your feet are yelling protest at maximum volume now. You clatter quickly through the crossing, chanting a mantra in your head to clear the pain.\n\nDespite your best intentions you have to slow down to a hobble. A taxi driver trying to turn right starts yelling at you, and a couple of cars honk in frustration as traffic starts to move.\n\nYou make it across the street and [[into the station|Hobbling into the station]], angry at the attitude of some people.\n<<endif>>\n<<endif>><<if $time_remaining lt 4>>\nThe clock on the crossing sign says <<print $time_remaining>>. You can't make it completely across in that time, but you could start and let traffic deal with it.\n\n<<if $foot_pain lt 3>>\n[[Start to cross anyway|Start to cross]]\n[[Wait for the next light|Wait to cross]]\n<<else>>\nYour feet are in agony and you know that if you try to cross you'll be hobbling along slowly.\n\n[[Take your shoes off|Shoes off]]\n[[Cross anyway|Cross anyway]]\n[[Wait for the next light|Wait to cross]]\n<<endif>>\n\n<<endif>>\n<<if $time_remaining lt 0>>\nToo late. The crossing sign is a firm do-not-walk and traffic's started to cross the intersection. Across the street, you hear the whistle of the train conductor as they close the doors so the train can leave.\n\nYou'll have to [[wait around another hour|Waiting for the next train]] for the next train.\n<<endif>>
You continue to cross in front of the taxi, despite the fact he has no idea you're there. The honking van moves away, finally. Your stress levels are through the roof and you're thinking about your train and dinner, not the traffic.\n\nAs you get in front of the taxi, the crowds let up in the other direction. The taxi driver spots the lull and [[moves forward|Taxi moves]].
The taxi lurches forward and, at the last minute, sees you. He slams on the brake and stops. Narrow escape.\n\nThe driver's not too happy about this. He leans out of his window and yells at you. He's asking for your ID and he's threatening to call the police. You [[hurry into the station|Station]].
It's no good. You wait for the next crossing light.\n\nAs you're standing on the curb you hear a whistle and see your train pull away. You'll need to [[wait for the next train|Waiting for the next train]].
You start to take your shoes off but think better of it as you take a closer look at the road ahead. Forcing your heels back in place, you resign yourself and wait for the next crossing light to change. \n\nAcross the road, the train guard blows a whistle and your train pulls away from the station. You'll have to [[wait for the next train|Waiting for the next train]].
You leave your office with a grateful sigh, and head out on to the crowded street. Checking your watch, you realise you've left it a little too late. You're going to have to hustle to the station or end up waiting an hour for the next train. You're supposed to be meeting [[a friend|Dinner]] for dinner tonight, and you don't want to miss it.\n\nAs you hurry along the streets you regret your choice of footwear. The outfit crisis meant you grabbed a pair of shoes without really thinking about them. They've been pinching you all day and the balls of your feet are burning.\n\nYou're nearly there. You've been lucky with walk signs so far, but it looks like that's about to run out.\n\nThe final crossing between you and the station starts the ominous do-not-walk countdown.\n\n[[Ten seconds|10seconds]].\n\nYou're a few metres away from the crossing, and your train's about to leave.\n\n[[Better hustle|Hustle]].
The altercation with the taxi has your pulse rate through the roof and you're not thinking straight. You go to the wrong platform and only realise your mistake too late.\n\nAs you watch your train pull away, you contemplate the fact that you have to [[wait an hour for the next one|Waiting for the next train]].