November 16, 2012 – Homeward Bound – #trainspotting#Chicago

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Good evening. On the, new for me and you, 4:45PM our of the City.

First of all, Happy Friday. I missed the usual express out of the City because, well, I went to have a much desired beer at the watering hole in the train station. Also, I have a thing to do tonight at a friends’s house – a fan but infrequent reader – of this travelogue.  So, first let me position myself in space for you.

As you may have remembered from previous posts, I like to sit in the jump seat, facing the crowd. In the morning, the jump seat is usually adjacent to the exit doors. On the way home, the jump seats are located farthest from the middle exit door. I purposely sat in the aisle seat so as to get the best view of these new faces. The train still has fifteen minutes to board and already there is drama!

I also purposely sat in the Quiet Car, one of two designated cars (four compartments) that are zoned for polite silence. I”ve been here for only two minutes when, above and to my left, a thug looking fellow who could have easily been a ‘Goodfellas’ extra, sits down while yammering loudly on his phone. Mind you, this is a thirteen car train, meaning that, especially this early in the boarding process, our talkative thug could have easily sat somewhere else where he could talk as loudly as he pleased.

No less than 30 seconds after he settles – still speaking loudly on the phone about his girlfriend being ‘bitchy’ because the test was’positive’ and he, the thug, had to go home and get ‘lots of small sized rubbers’ while she, the girlfriend in question had to go to Planned Parenthood for ‘consultation’ –  a woman from above my view asks the young fellow to stop. This is the Quiet Car after all. He retorts, while still on the phone, “Not until the train leaves the station.” So, not only does he acknowledge that he is in the Quiet Car, he asserts that quiet time starts when the train leaves (no such loophole exists).

This goes on for 20 seconds. She calls him “rude and insensitive”. He finally goes back to his phone call and says, “Look, I just got schooled by a bitchy mom about being in the Quiet Car. I call you back later.” I half expect him to start talking to himself, much like our friend from the earlier express, but decidedly vocal.You can imagine what level of oratory could spew forth from the minimally endowed fellow.

Right. We’re finally off. The compartment is packed! NFI is a 4.

This train is a melting pot – a melange of ethnic diversity. Sitting in my line of sight is a former member of Sinn Fein who has been in exile from the Homeland since 1981. His bright, but thinning, silver locks bely a once full dark brown scruff of hair. He looks harmless, but his eyes keep glancing about, as if heist being followed. He evidently did not recieve the memo about blanket amnesty for foot soldiers as negotiated by the Blair cabinet ten years ago or so.

Sitting in front of me in the jump seat is a younger relative of the great director Kurosawa. This large, muscular, cornfed Japanese fellow decided that he was too tired to watch his great-uncle’s Director’s Cut commentary of the “Seventh Samurai” on his 10.6275″ iNebulaFlamefolio. He has put his super-powered device away and is now meditating on the mature manga mulling in his memory.

My partner called. I kept the conversation one-sided, imparting the necessary embark-disembark-ETA information in the quietest voice possible. Although the conversation between me and my missus lasted exactly 21 seconds, it provoked a rebuke from a gentleman wearing headphones (where I can hear Gordon Lightfoot leaking out from my vantage) while he’s reading a hardcover Tom Clancy novel! How could he hear the polite, muted conversation between me and my concerened consort? He must be a narc or a wizard.

This headphoned cold warrior fan looks like a very thin and tall Harold Ramis, best known for his directing and acting alongside Bill Murray in Ghostbusters and Stripes. The crags in his face show an acuity to detecting sound waves, possibly like a bat or a screech monkey.

Not for nothing, there are at least four overdressed commuters – they are in full blown winter wear – that are napping and, due to their individual neck folds and the uncomfotability of the seats, look like pugs (the dog breed) as they rest. Long day for these folks. Also on the train are Elia Weisel, three almost contestants from Biggest Loser Season 3, Corazon Aquino (Fabulous Shoes!), Jerry VanDyke, and a very, very young Jon Voight.

Have a good weekend! Safe travels.

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