Until I got laid off, I took the commuter rail to get to work. My train left North Station at an unholy hour. Between the early time and the reverse commute, there were not that many fellow riders. While I spent most of my time doing Sudoku, reading, or looking out the window, I did get to know some of them a bit. I’ve found myself thinking of them these past few days.
There was the woman who either slept right up through her stop or boarded the train in a rage, talking to someone named Patty on her cell phone. “Patty Patty Patty, I ain’t gonna fuckin’ talk to Mary no more. NO! Listen to me Patty. She’s such a fuckin’ bitch. . . .” I liked it better when she slept.
Then there was the tall Southern man who often regaled us with his cooking adventures (chili—it took a couple of days, or fried chicken) or his political opinions. We once had a fascinating conversation about funk. A man from my neighborhood, always sporting a golf hat and his iPod, and a business man whose fondness of jazz made me want to find more music. There was an autistic older man who mostly kept to himself, except when railing against the lack of air conditioning in the summer. He once yelled out “I can’t find a place of solitude!” I knew just how he felt. Apparently he worked with “Patty Patty Patty,” and sometimes muttered about her foul language.
There were the two schoolgirls, one a bit of a tomboy with a sense of humor past her years, and a beautiful young girl who I hope doesn’t move too fast. The conductor always teased them, and they always gave him the business.
A silent young man had an air of mystery about him.
Several of the riders worked in a factory, and one of them was a motherly figure who I think I will miss the most. Her white hair was always perfectly done, and while she was a bit gruff, she was also warm. She loved her grandkids and was always interested in my nephew. I can’t remember her name.
It’s funny. While being able to sleep past Satan’s Witching Hour has been the best part about unemployment, I do think of my fellow riders and wish them well.