The conductor came and manually opened the closed door. I wondered why more people hadn’t moved to the open door like I did. I always wonder why it is that groups of people will only make a change if many people in the group all decide to change at the same time. Individuals have much more freedom to alter the norm. The people who had been waiting outside gave me an odd look. They appeared confused that I had managed to enter the train and make it to a seat before them as they were standing closer to the door than I. It really wasn’t that hard to do, I had the freedom of one. Plus, it was hot outside and the train had air conditioning. I wasn’t about to wait for a door that had to be manually opened, what was that about? Even once the conductor opened the door the train wouldn’t move. I don’t think the door wanted to close. People continued to file in, creating a standing room only situation. This is not a good development at the fourth stop from the start of the line. It was going to be a rough morning for some but not for me. I had my little corner of the train, I had my space, and I was ok.
After two more stops the train was officially packed. I politely sat in my seat, reading my paper, listening to The Bends, and smiling because I was glad that I chose to live so far north. I don’t mind standing on the way home from work but, on the way in, I need my peace. I need to come into the day alone. The conductor came on the loudspeaker and said our train was going to run express from Thorndale to Addison, which is a long way, people seemed relieved. They thought that skipping many stops would ease their commute. They contemplated a little more peace. They were wrong. Hoards of people swarmed onto the train at Addison, people were packed in like it was a 5pm train headed north to an evening Cubs game; poor people. I was ok.
As the train pulled into the Lake Street station, people jockeyed for position so that they could either get off or stay on with as little movement as possible. The one drawback to the single person seat is that you have a long way to go to the door on a crowded train. I sometimes fear that I won’t make it in time. I fear that the train will kidnap me and drag me unwillingly to Monroe. Now that Washington station is closed it is a bigger deal to miss my stop. Luckily, I made it out. I always make it out; I just fear that I won’t. It’s one of those unfounded fears that really has no consequences. Even if my fear is realized I will be fine. Regardless, it causes me a slight twinge of stress every morning.
As I got off the train, my album came to a close. Street Spirit (Fade Out) seeped into my ears. I approached the escalator and saw that it was not working. The person in front of me was walking slower than my natural speed making me feel like I was plodding along at a snails pace embedded in the herd and unable to break free. Why is it that walking up an escalator that isn’t moving is more difficult than walking up one that is moving? When the escalator is stopped, it feels as if the steps are placed at just the right intervals to make you uncomfortable. Yet, when moving, they feel just right. I felt trapped. In leaving my personal seat on the train I had given up my freedom, I became part of the herd. I focused on the shoes of the woman in front of me. I willed her to move faster. I hoped that I could break free. I couldn’t. I was stuck. In my ears the words came through loud and clear:
This machine will, will not communicate
These thoughts and the strain I am under
Be a world child, form a circle
Before we all go under
And fade out again and fade out again
We get a bunch of new, and relatively easy, songs today. Yeah!
1. Well my name is Young MC and I’m cold rockin’ the house/ I came up into the place and now I’m turning it out.
2. My baby’s always dancing/ And it wouldn't be a bad thing/ But I don't get no loving/ And that's no lie.
3. The creator of what’s now cliché/ Had some funny words to say/ all you little things are incomplete/ Why did he speak of us that way.
4. Nothing you could say would tear me away from my guy/ Nothing you could do cause I’m stuck like glue to my guy. My Guy, Mary Wells. Identified by Katrina
5. I would say I‘m sorry if I thought that it would change your mind/ But I know that this time I have said too much/ been too unkind. Boys Don't Cry, The Cure. Identified by Monica