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I just put my book away, laid it in my backpack, in front of the folded up newspaper.
That’s the next stop, probably a minute or so from Lake Bluff. I’m sitting here, writing, as the train heads towards Chicago; my destination being Wilmette. We’re at Lake Forest, and people are now entering the train, coming up the steps, past where I am sitting. It’s quite a gloomy day out. The window, to my right, is foggy and scratched; but it’s not actually foggy with fog, maybe I would describe it as cloudy. There’s also a green tint as I look out. I was perplexed by this odd coloring as a child. I would look at the train at night and the windows were green. The obvious explanation is that they were ‘tinted windows,’ but how unimaginative is that?
Possible explanations of the ‘green tinted windows’ phenomenon worthy of consideration:
-The lights inside of the train could have been green
-The train could have had an Irish ethnicity
-Aliens bought out the exclusive rights to the Metra Union-Pacific North Line and only rode it at night, which caused the green coloring
I’m looking around the rest of the car, and the people of the train, well, they are tightly shrouded in their own little environments. Perhaps ‘personal bubbles.’ Some are reading, listening to music, or sitting in complete silence. The conductor passed by me, he went down to punch someone’s ticket, I haven’t paid for mine yet. I’m wondering if I will have to pay it. I fit in well. Do I look like somebody who has paid? Maybe I have the savvy, ‘I always pay for my ticket,’ sort of look? That’s why he hasn’t asked me to pay; I’m deceiving him without knowledge of my own deception. I can hear the conductor’s hole puncher punching the hole into some passengers ticket. He’s passing by me again.
Meet the New Turkey Rae.
Apparently, that is a twist on the turkey sandwich; according to Potbelly’s. There was a small billboard promoting the sandwich at the last stop. I don’t feel compelled to buy one.
The horn sounds, you know what? I would be pretty pissed if somebody decided this should be the day that they jump in front of the train, which would then cause a massive delay, thanks to the terribly depressed person. But how depressed are they really. If they were truly manically depressed, would they actually have the motivation to jump? Can you really be so depressed that you can’t even carry out your own suicide plans? Maybe they were on prescribed anti-depressants, which made them feel better, better enough to have the will to jump, making them just depressed enough, but not too depressed, to throw themselves over the edge, or, in this case, fling them self at a train. My dad sometimes tells stories about how people used to commit suicide by jumping in front of CTA trains back when he was in college. My mom would add in that the platforms would become crowded with ‘rubberneckers’ who wished to catch a glimpse of the mangled body.
“I would have given them the gun myself,” my dad would say. “Maybe then they wouldn’t have stalled my train.”
It’s still rainy out and the asphalt actually looks pretty slick. More people are getting on the train now, each of them are craning their necks looking for seats. The guy in a wheel chair, an electric wheel chair, who got on at my stop, just entered the bathroom below me and across the car. Is he missing his legs? He could quite possibly be one of those amazing survivor stories, you know, man stuck under boulder in wilderness cuts off legs to save himself. Highly doubt it. It was probably much more simple, like, he is a war vet or has some sort of disease. Is he even missing his legs? I know a guy who is a quadriplegic. He has claws. I shook them once.
We just passed my cousin’s street, they live in Highland Park. There are four of them; three triplets and Frank. My brother and I are pretty close in age, too close to be ‘friendly,’ per say, so they were kind of like the brothers I never had. I remember one time when I was little, well, not exactly. I was between one and two years of age, I don’t remember it, but I’ve been told about the incident. So my mom decided to leave my brother and I alone for a second, I think she wished to use the bathroom, I don’t know. But she turns her back for a second and hears a ‘whack,’ followed by crying. John’s standing over me with a blue plastic golf club, the imprint of the club face in my forehead. To this day I still don’t understand why he smacked me with the club.
Well this is slightly annoying, there seems to be some commotion in the lower part of the car, diverting my attention away from writing; a kid is hopping around on crutches. The conductor walked by again, I can hear him talking. I think he might be conversing with the crutches kid, not too sure.
I hear the punching of the tickets again.
I find it interesting how towns become progressively larger as the train moves closer towards the city. I mean, it seems logical, you know, that that would happen. But the fact that I can visually see it I find rather interesting. You might not think so, but I’m the one writing this. The conductor just walked by again, I wonder when, or even if, he is going to ask me for my ticket.
There are an abundance of leaves on the ground, I’m marveling at this as I glance out the window. Last night, actually, that’s when I really noticed all of the leaves, on the ground, for the first time. I was coming home from practice and the leaves were all over the road. In a way it sort of sucked to drive; the streets were slick, I couldn’t really see with the glare from the headlights of the oncoming cars. I was approaching a light, going about 50 miles per hour, and there was a car that wanted to turn. Don’t do it asshole. There really wasn’t that much room for him to turn, I was barreling down on the light, not to mention the utter lack of traction too. Anyway, the son-of-a-bitch turned, luckily, I anticipated the shithead doing that, so I slowed down. For the next quarter mile, I laid on the horn until the driver finally left my lane.
It’s funny to think that I used to take the train to Wilmette when I was younger, about third grade or so. A few block’s from the train station, that’s where one of my best friends lives. Actually, a few of my best friends live relatively close to that station. I was literally in walking distance from their homes. I could have seen my future best friends, bumped into them, given them dirty looks because they brushed up against me. Not that I gave, or even now give, dirty looks; just the fact that I could have quite possible run into them when they were just ordinary people, that amazes me.
I just texted my friend to come and pick me up from the train station, I am three stops away. The train has gotten so full that people are standing in the aisle and up on the steps. I’m sure they will be thrilled when I get up to exit the train. Perhaps there will be a scuffle over my seat. Maybe two people will converge on it and look blankly at each other, not knowing who will take it. The conductor passed by me again.
The clicking of the puncher is quite loud, trumping every other noise that is around me. The clicking is above the chatter, the clacking of the tracks, the other diverse sounds of a Metra train; such as the strangely voiced train operator who I find barely audible – it sounds like he is hooked up to a ventilator. Anyway, I didn’t happen to notice when the wheel chair guy left the bathroom, his departure was fairly smooth I take it. I most likely would have noticed if he blew a fuse on his wheel chair, or, accidently yanked all the toilet paper out of the bathroom, which would drag on the floor all the way back to his seat.
I’m getting up now to head towards the area between the two cars, where the doors reside. The conductor is standing there.
“I wrote about how you didn’t collect my ticket.”
“Yeah. I’m writing about the train ride, and, I had an inner-personal debate about whether or not you would collect my ticket. In fact, I wrote down the conversation we are having right now while I was up there.”
“That’s not possible, it hasn’t happened yet. You need to pay for your ticket sir.”
“I wrote down that you said that.”
“I don’t have time for this, you’re getting off at the next stop.”
“Would you like to take a look? I have this exact conversation verbatim. You can read what the rest of our dialogue will look like.”
“Impossible. There is no way in – no. I’m done with this.”
It’s time for me to get off now. I think I might have freaked the conductor out a little bit, maybe more like weirded him out, really. It’s drizzling, the doors closed behind me and I’m standing underneath an overhang in the Wilmette station. People must think I am silly, standing here with a notepad and a pen. The train is thundering away, down towards Chicago, its final destination.
I’m stuck at a train station with nothing to do, so I write. I wait.