I’ve taken the train an hour later a few mornings this week and boy howdy do I not like it. Ugh. It feels okay and normal until the stop before downtown and then everyone gets on and then, two stops later, I try to get off and it’s like swimming against a tide of spawning salmon. I legitimately did not think I was going to get off the train today. I was behind a big guy who was also getting off and I’d put my faith in him when I saw him move towards the doors but he was blocked by several people and a cluster of doorflies and I couldn’t help myself, when I finally cleared the door and was on the platform and that much closer to work, I said in a conversational tone, just like here is some information for you people, “there is a lot of room in the middle of the train.” Walked away. Yes, if people move to the middle of the train, THEY will maybe have trouble getting off at the next stop but guess what, you guys are already downtown and everything is a ten minute walk away so suck it. You don’t even NEED to be on the train anymore, jerks. Get some fresh motherfucking air in your lungs.
And deep breath in. And climb the stairs, greet the paper guy, cross on the green light and walk for seven minutes. Breathe the clean, damp air and look at the tall, shiny buildings reflecting the sunrise or glistening with new rain. Move fast past everyone, nod at the bicyclists. Put down my things for a few hours at the office, where people are kind and happy to see me.
The reason I’ve taken the train an hour later is because SA is away so I am taking the children to daycare and rather than dropping them there as soon as the doors open at 7, I am kind and allow them to keep to their routine, instead adjusting my own. I AM A HERO, YES. They have been remarkably sane and good this week, even with all the routine changes (no Dad, more grandparents, no time for a big bowl of ice cream BEFORE dinner tonight so had to wait until AFTER dinner — that last one did lead Arlo to a ten minute sulk up in his room; life is very disappointing sometimes) and other than getting cranky at times for reasons like: I dropped my phone and it broke, and my hair is annoyingly huge, and the people on the train are oblivious to the world around them, and baseball parents are shouty and bossy, I have also been mostly sane and good.
I picked out a few wonderful books last week at the library, having returned a selection of duds. I haven’t had so many duds in a while. Every book had something wrong with it, something that made me make a sneery, bad-smell face; one looked like a fluffy romance but was actually a Christian morality tale featuring estranged sisters, another looked like a readable dysfunctional family joint but was really a deeply depressing account of a fifty-something man and his relationship with his father, who in the story is deteriorating from Parkinson’s. Yikes! Too many boxes on the bingo card! I got to page thirty or so in each of the five books before throwing them back to the library pool and then I picked out several wonderful books; Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham, which I’m reading before bed and is engaging and easy-readable with a few poignant and elegant turns of phrase thrown in, and We Need New Names by Noviolet Bulawayo , a raw account of a girl’s childhood in Zimbabwe and adolescence in Michigan, which I’m reading on transit and has completely consumed me for days. After those are done, there is A Buzz in the Meadow by Dave Goulson, a man who buys a farm in France and creates a bumblebee habitat. And Indian Horse by Richard Wagamese. And How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran. And Transatlantic by Colum McCann.
If I can find a corner on the train to nestle into, and I can tune out the conversations, the time, and the place, I am given thirty minutes to spend reading a wonderful book. This is what makes commuting by transit great.
Well, and looking at peoples’ shoes.