My Life Taking Public Transportation

July 16, 2011 at 11:08 am 2 comments

“Only you would say ‘my life is awesome!’ – and mean it  – in response to a broken-down train,” my friend commented (or something to that effect) about my facebook status.

But let me back up. This isn’t quite the broken-down-bus story of two years ago.

You see, I wasn’t actually on the broken-down train. It was the 5:15 flyer train that never came. Which means, of course, that everyone waiting for that train (and a few more, for good measure) jumped onboard the next train – along with that train’s normal crowd.

You know you’re in trouble when you board the 5:39 train at its second stop and come face to face with five people already standing in the car.

At this point, I had a choice. Leave the train and wander around the city for another twenty minutes waiting for the next train, or force my way into the crowd of people already standing, get home at my usual time, and possibly get a free ride if they don’t check for tickets.

I chose the latter, and squirmed my way into the people-crammed aisle. (I am very good at working my way into small spaces.) More people forced their way through behind me. By the time the train started, no one could remember what personal space was anymore, and if you were lucky enough to have a seat, that just meant that you had about four people standing right on top of you and occasionally bumping into you. Or swinging their purse in your lap/head if the train jerked extra-enthusiastically. (Guilty)

(As an important side-note, the young man sitting down in front of me almost immediately offered his seat to the pregnant girl next to me. It made my day, and hopefully hers.)

I suppose it also bears mentioning that while I’ve been on packed trains before, in my nearly three months of taking the train regularly I’ve never had to stand. I usually find the last seat or something. But anyway, the train is shaking, I am too short to hang onto the overhead racks for balance like everyone else is doing, and so I remember Melody’s modern dance classes and turn in my feet for extra balance. It actually helps. (It does not help, however, to be texting – and hanging onto the seat with your elbow – when the train decides to stop. Lesson learned.)

The train was so crammed that it had to make double-stops at each station, because there was no way the people in the back cars could fight their way up front to get off in time. Never had that happen before.

And yes. I was having a ball.

Because in these sorts of situations, people start talking to each other instead of Politely Ignoring Everyone. You don’t need to know names, but you make all these ten-minute friendships that really only happen when everyone is stuck in some unpleasant predicament. The complaining is good-natured. You find yourself laughing, hard, with strangers.

The conductor comes on the loudspeaker: “Passangers in the hot cars: we are sorry the air-conditioning isn’t working. Please keep an eye on your fellow passanger and if they appear to faint or there is any trouble please let us know.”

No one had heard that announcement before. And we crack up at the insensibility of it – how in the world could we reach the conductor to let him know? And what could he do, anyway?

We passed around one girl’s yummy-smelling hand sanitizer, just because it was yummy-smelling and silly and we could.

And then the conductor started singing. Yes, he did. “Next stop, Devon! Devon, Devon, Deeeevoooon!” 

I couldn’t stop smiling.

Friendly people, laughter, and a singing conductor. Best train ride I’ve ever been on.

And Mom – sorry I didn’t listen to you about not talking to strangers.


Entry filed under: adventures & misadventures.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. singamelody  |  July 17, 2011 at 10:43 am

    This is amazing 🙂
    It’s so crazy how something that could be a big annoyance can become something super fun and something you’ll always remember!

  • 2. Slip ‘n’ Slide. «  |  July 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

    […] But think about it, what train rides are entirely normal? […]


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