Sep 7, 2011

22 Remembering A Commute To Work On A Cold Day - Observation

First leg of my commute: On the Bus to the Subway

Boarding the bus with a smile and a cheerful, “good morning,” while flashing my pass I settled myself into a seat for my ride to the station. The driver chatting with another fellow driver stopped at Marion Road. The driver still in conversation with his colleague checked Metropasses, Student IDs, tickets, tokens and cash fares paused in his conversation to call to a passenger crowding, “Excuse me ma'am, you need to put in $1.50 more”

“Oh, hehe, she laughed sheepishly as she made her way up front to the driver while digging around in her purse for change. A penny fell, barely glancing at it she continued to rummage in search of spare change. The driver patiently waited, after a few seconds she came up with some more change ($1.50 I presumed) and dropped them in announcing, “I didn’t have enough change”.

The driver looked at her and said, “ma'am the fare is $2.75, it is also states the fare there on the sign” he said pointing to the right lower side bus windshield where passengers can easily see it.

“Well I just didn’t have enough change”, the woman reiterated. Taking a deep breath the driver responded by saying “ma'am the sign says $2.75. It does not say, if you don’t’ have enough throw in whatever you want”. He tone was so deadpan that I almost busted out laughing but managed to control myself.

Second Leg of my commute: Waiting for the Elevator in the Subway to the Train

I pressed the down button utilizing the time to finish my bus observation in my notebook while I waited .The elevator swished passed going straight up without stopping and came back down some seconds later stopping on the bus platform where I stood, it was packed. The door opened and no one made a move to come out. I didn’t even try to go in. “ooh full house, I guess no one wants the buses today” I said as some people smiled. Just as the doors were about to close two Asian girls started making their way sheepishly to the front asking excuse me to come out. ‘hmmmmm, two came out, there’s enough room for one’ I thought and made my way in sing songing, “good morning everyone”. “Good morning” they all said in chorus, as I exited I sing song, “Have a good day beautiful people” hurrying to the train as their “you too, have a good day” followed my receding back.

Third Leg of my commute: On the train…

The train ride was pretty much uneventful except for the man going to town incessantly scratching his scrotums (balls) but that is just too gross to relive yuck, and the moments the train was stuck in the tunnels for a while. If I sound unphased by the train delays it is because it happens so often one gets sadly accustomed to it. This is usually where I close my eyes and zone out, it’s either that or misuse ones good energy getting angry over something for which I have absolutely no control.

Fourth & final leg of my commute: Waiting for the streetcar at the Subway Station

There was a line up (I don’t do line ups, sorry), so much people one would think it was a carnival i.e. Caribana. It was cold, ruggedly windy and the snow was coming down fiercely in big chunks. As I was walking toward the front part of where the streetcar would park I noticed a young woman watching me and smiling. She was my volunteer some years back, beautiful afro-Caribbean young woman. We chatted while we waited. The streetcar came and the push fest began. I simply positioned myself nicely allowing only a young woman with a baby strapped to her chest past, strolled in and took a seat. My young friend and I continue to talk until I reached my stop. Again the push fest began, push to go in, and shove to go out. I was sitting and had to get up and physically catch a lady with her coffee as she was unceremoniously thrust aside as people attempted to exit the streetcar. The poor woman didn’t know what to do with herself. I just gently moved her into the seat I vacated and made my way out. The people outside was coming in, standing in the front and barring the people from exiting; no one would make room for us to come out. Fed up ask rather loudly, “Can the people to the front step off the streetcar and let us out please!”, and with that we were out. Seeesh…..Sometimes simple travel can be quite a trial in patience and tolerance.


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