The Trax Chronicles
(this post was actually written several months ago and I forgot about it until now -- I thought it was still funny/awkward so I thought I'd share my story)
Sometimes I feel a bit more humanitarian when I get to tell people I ride the train to work. What a great thing! Before we moved to our new house, we lived right by the trax station, and now that we live so far away from downtown, it's just easier to hop on and not have to think about traffic jams.
Sadly, not everyone shares my love for Trax. Josh, for example, won't ride anymore. We once rode the train to a conference session so we wouldn't have to try and find parking downtown, and some guy was touching his butt the whole time since it was so packed, and that was just a tad uncomfortable for him. I've never understood Josh's distaste for riding Trax, after all, I don't mind sitting uncomfortably close to someone I don't know, and most of the time I just bring a book or my i-pod and people leave me alone. Even the time when I rode with a mental case all the way home, who quoted bible passages and Geoffrey Chaucer the whole way, and also asked me to leave my husband and be with him -- that wasn't so bad. The time when a fellow from Atlanta commanded me to smile, and when I did, told me he was going to call all his friends in Atlanta and tell them to move out here so they could see my smile wasn't bad either. It was almost flattering, really. I really enjoyed the hospital patient who showed me his motorcycle accident skin grafts ALL THE WAY UP HIS LEG (yes I mean all the way). And also, the teenage boys who tried to rob me, and who were very, very unsuccessful, they just needed my cell phone to call their moms, it was alright.
HOWEVER... This morning, I think my comfort level with the whole riding with strangers thing was just a tad breached.
I was miraculously early in getting ready this morning, so I hopped the earlier train, eager to get to work and prepare for a client meeting. I was relieved to see that the train had a few empty seats, and I was lucky to get one of the last ones. I sat next down to a kid who was clearly on his way to school, and clearly must have stayed up late studying, (or something like that) since he was fast asleep. I thought great, sleeping seat buddies are always the best, that way they won't bother me. I thought wrong. I should've realized when I sat down and I could smell his morning breath, even though his mouth wasn't even open, that this was my cue to leave. But I felt guilty for rushing to the seat before everyone else could get to it, and decided I'd just have to bear it. Then, suddenly, his hand fell from his backpack, and dropped right on to my leg. I thought for sure he'd wake up when he realized his hand was on some lady's thigh, but he didn't. I tried to wriggle from under it, but it just followed my leg clear to the side of the seat. I then, gently, pushed it off with my purse. It laid to rest, still touching my leg, on my side of the bench. Phew, that wasn't so bad, I thought. I guess, subconciously, he thought it wasn't so bad either, since his head then switched drooping directions over my way and hovered about an inch over my shoulder. His morning breath was now unbearable. I tried breathing through my mouth, and that just made it worse. I wondered if I could hold my breath for the next 20 minutes, after all I'd seen a magician do it on television. I started to get nervous that a big drop of drool was going to land on my lap, or even worse, my arm. I kept inching away further to the side of the seat; only half of my one butt cheek remained on the seat at this point. Oh, but that kid just kept on sleeping, his body leaning more and more towards me. I wondered if everyone else noticed my level of uncomfort, but no one did. Everyone was too busy applying makeup, reading books, or staring blankly, straight ahead, to notice my unease. I thought, maybe if I think about it hard enough, his body will just sway the other way, and his head would just lay gently on the window. I even tried nudging his body so it would just fall that way, but it just would come back, this time even closer to me. I couldn't believe how slow time was moving.
FINALLY my train stop was next! I lept up from my seat, and watched the kid almost eat the ground when I moved. He awoke with a start, wiped up his drooly face, and looked up at me. I thought for sure he'd be super embarrassed and maybe apologize, since I was embarrassed for him. But he didn't. Instead he gave me this wide, cheesy grin, and then closed his eyes and laid against the window.
I am okay with standing up from now on.