Friday B and I decided to head into Boston to check out Frog pond for the day and walk around a little. Well B decided that. I succumbed, even though the thought of riding on the train and then being in the center of Boston on an especially hot and muggy day did not appeal to me in the slightest, because we had very relaxing week at the beach.
I have ridden the subway a million times. Between Chicago, New York, and here, at least a thousand. Or 500. Regardless, the point is that no matter how many times I hop on the train – I am always little-kid-excited about it. Always. Always always. There has never once been a time that I don’t get that jumping-out-of-a-plane exhilarating feeling when I’m putting my ticket in, holding on to the poles, finding a seat – whatever I might be doing, I LOVE it. I keep waiting for it to go away – but it doesn’t. Ok, I’ve never jumped out of a plane, but it’s that little thrill you get when you are very excited to do something.
Anyway, I *think* some of it might have to do with the fact that there is such an unknown to it – who knows what could happen on the train ride. And almost always, there is something that happens. And almost always, it’s something good. Here are my favorites:
Chicago, 2002, Red line, downtown
Between 4:45 and 6pm, no matter where you are going, everyone is going with you. If you want to get home, and you want to do it in roughly that time frame, you are going to accept that your face will perhaps be stuffed into an unattractive man’s armpit, your hand might have to grab the spot on the pole that you know was just being held by someone with an obvious head cold, you might have to cuddle up to someone you find utterly repulsive (or sometimes worse, the hottest man you’ve ever seen). It’s part of your life with public transportation.
Although you are PACKED in like sardines, the laws of physics still apply. There are only so many bodies that you can pack into a subway car. But there is always one person, that apparently CANNOT wait the 5 to 7 minutes it will take for another train to get there, and attempts to get in the obviously already packed to capacity train. You hate this person. The doors are constantly closing on them. The voice on the loudspeaker inevitably kicks in “Please move away from the doors, this train is leaving, the doors are closing”, but this person will not give up. For an estimated 30 seconds, all of us watched this twenty something idiot continually push his way into the car, watched the doors close on his body, his bag, his hand, and continued to wait. Until finally, a hero emerged, in the body of a thirty something male (perhaps he had visions of his twenty something self, and it was a moment of clarity? One can hope….) and pushed the twenty something male so hard that he was about 5 feet from the doors, which allowed them a chance to close. As his jaw dropped, his finger came up, and the train began to pull away. And then it started – the one clap (disney sports movie) moment that geared up into a round of applause for our young hero. It was a moment of subway community.
As we all patted our young hero on the back, everyone started up conversations. It was a shift in the don’t-make-eye-contact community of the train. By the time we got to lincoln park, it was agreed that we’d all head out to buy our young hero a cocktail. He ended up marrying my best friend.
Just kidding. But it was definitely awesome.
Cambridge, 2006, Red Line
I was a thousand months pregnant, and pretty much on a campaign to kill everyone on the train that didn’t offer me a seat. Because no one did. Jerks. Anyway, I was happily seated on my way home from work, and a woman that was not a day younger than 150 hopped on the train. She could barely walk. She was not upright. There’s no way she could see. And I shifted uncomfortably, wondering if I should get up (no joke, I probably weighed more than the train itself I was so pregnant) until she belted, and I do mean belted out:
“Alright, which one of you assholes is going to get up and let an old woman sit down? Get UP. NOW.”
Newton, 2012, Green line
As mentioned, B and I, headed to Frog Pond. It’s about an hour train ride, so we bring crayons and usually 450 stuffed animals to keep us company. We were about halfway in when two lovely young ladies hopped on, smiled at B, and sat across from us. Some of the entertainment of the train is just in the conversations you can’t help but overhear, and this was one of those times. We’ll call these ladies Jen and Lisa, for the story’s sake. Jen wanted to know what was going on with Lisa and her boyfriend. And Lisa, in her GENIUS, wanted to sing it out. I cannot communicate, in words, how amazing this conversation was, but every answer that Lisa gave was half spoken word, and half singing. If you can picture it, picture any song by Mariah Carey, when she shows off how she can quickly go through 4 octaves in one verse. That’s how it sounded. It was beautiful. For instance:
Jen: So, you think it’s serious?
Lisa: I do. I really like him. (And then singing, covering several octaves) I realllly liiiiike him!
Jen: Are you going to ask him to the house?
Lisa: Yah, but really only because the house scares the shit out of me. I just want someone to stay with me there so I don’t freak out. (And then singing) I’m gooooing to asssssk him to hold me tiiiiiighhhht!
Jen: Yah, makes sense. What’s so scary about the house?
Lisa: I don’t know, maybe I’m just not used to it. (and then singing) But at leeeeeast he’ll be with me. He’ll be with me allllll niiiiiiighhhht!
This went on for 5 stops. And what made it more beautiful was I-don’t-get-social-cues-Banana, who, everytime, the girl sang out her words, looked at her like this:
Which made it incredibly difficult not to laugh, and to remind Banana that we don’t stare at people on the train. An ongoing, life lesson I would imagine, that I have not learned yet myself.
What also made it amazing was that clearly Jen was used to this opera like life with Lisa, because she did not sing in response, she knew it was her role just to keep the conversation going. She didn’t comment on the singing. She didn’t bat an eye. I know this because I was staring at her. I had sunglasses on though so she couldn’t tell. I’m positive.
So thank you Jen and Lisa, for continuing to support my theory, that there is just nothing like a subway ride.