The Amazing Flying Train

We don’t call our Rapid Transit System the “subway” or the “tube” or the “metro”. It is mostly above ground and so, we call it the SKYTRAIN.

The first few weeks I commuted to work were a blur of exhaustion and relief. This workplace is the psychological opposite of my previous workplace and almost every day I still thank my lucky stars for that. It helped my adjustment that the weather was good for those first weeks. It dark at first, and then sunny and bright. I would stand by the window of the train and watch as we flew from New Westminster through Burnaby through Vancouver to downtown. In twenty-five minutes we fly in our big steel bird over kilometres of car-clogged streets.

The traffic on various bridges, the ladybug cars with sparkling headlights, the mountains in the distance with old neighbourhoods in the foreground, the patios and streets we flew over, the sunrises starting pink and getting pinker. It was like taking a magic carpet to work.

There was a morning, a Friday, when the worm turned. I left the house a bit later thinking I’d have a more relaxing morning and was punished with the most godawfully terrible ride to work. I spent my ride smushed against the doors by offensively oblivious people, forced to think about what my nose was inhaling, what heinous bacteria were at that moment colonizing my sinuses. Since that day my commute has lost some of its gleam; maybe because I am more awake, or it’s just no longer new. I more often find myself weary and impatient with the people who don’t clear the aisles, who insist on taking up more than their share of space, who clog the doors, who block my view.

Sometimes, like on my way home today, I feel like a cow in a trailer being towed behind a pickup truck from one corral to the next. I have to remind myself to peek around the corners of the people that surround me so I can catch a glimpse of the outside world through the window. I think, “Sky train. Train in the sky. Sky train. Higher than any cow has ever been.” It springboards a bit of wonder back into my day.

2 thoughts on “The Amazing Flying Train

  1. L.

    God. A cow has never been on a plane, has it. Why does that make me so sad?

    Once again, sorry for the heinous bacteria. I learned from the Today Show that it’s better to breathe through your nose than your mouth when in crowds. Not that you won’t still get sick, but the more virulent germs go for the lungs, while the more run of the mill guys go for the nose. (Meaning that lung-favoring germs can’t take the long road in through the nose, I guess? This doesn’t make sense so don’t think about it too much. Just go with it.)

    1. branch Post author

      I bet a cow has been on a plane, actually. Either that or we make up a story about it.

      I do try to breathe through my nose as much as possible! So, whew. I accept your magical thinking with great relief.

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