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“that awkward moment when you went on the wrong train.” A friend on Facebook posted this recently and it led to a trip down memory lane.…It’s been over 8 years since I “retired” from work in the Big City, but I haven’t forgotten what it was like to commute there. I never thought a small town girl like me could not only learn to survive the transit system, but learn to thrive in it. I’ve had that awkward moment on the train, but I’ve also had so many more…

Growing up, transit meant feet, bike, or begging my parents to drive me, so catching on how to navigate both bus, subway, and train systems was terrifying. In fact, my Dad took me on my first bus ride to the school when I moved to the Big City. But in time, I got so comfortable that I could drop off to sleep, and wake up in time to get off at my stop.

Going the wrong way isn’t as awkward as sleeping past your stop, waking with a start and racing off the train in order to board the train running in the opposite direction. What about waking up with your head on someone’s shoulder, or worse, wake up choking on your own spit? I know “spit happens” but why does it have to happen when you are sitting next to a “hot” guy. And don’t think that cute guy will fall asleep with his head on your shoulder…usually it’s the guy who is hygienically-challenged, or who should be in quarantine with the plague.

You can see some of the wildest, weirdest and sometimes most wonderful people on the train. The tattooed biker-type guy who gave up his seat for a lady and the dufus in a suit who didn’t…the girl in army boots with a rainbow Mohawk, and the guy wearing flip-flops in January…Of course, the more compact the train, the more likely you’ll get to see the wildest and weirdest people up close and personal. Of course, it can always be worse. The train can be incredibly congested and you’re standing on one foot (usually I was also on my toes because being short, I couldn’t reach the pull-down hangar bar)…and the lights go out…and you’re stuck in a tunnel…with a mouth-breather next to your ear…

I’ve been knocked over, squashed, vomited on, and felt up. In fact, I had a guy who kept discreetly reaching over to rub my leg. I wasn’t sure if what was happening, was really happening, so I pretended to sleep but watched his hand next to me. When I was sure it was happening, I did what this quiet wall-flower would never have dreamed of doing when I moved to the Big City. I made a scene, and oh boy, what a scene! He will think twice before ever trying that again!

And then there were those lovely moments when you desperately need to use a washroom and you’re clenching with every muscle in your body, only to have the train stop… in a tunnel…in the dark… and the announcer, when he finally comes on,  sounds like the teacher on Charlie Brown so you have no idea if the delay will be 5 minutes or 5 days…

Every day was a new and…rare adventure…and I don’t miss any those awkward moments one bit!

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