Train stories

I’m sitting on the train home from work and there’s this middle-aged blowhard with a bowtie and a loud baritone sitting behind me with his wife. He starts speaking very loudly about how the “mainstream media doesn’t believe Saddam Hussein has anything to do with terrorism,” and then he starts quoting wacky Laurie Milroie. I swear to God, I’m not making this up.

“Oh shit,” I think to myself, grinning. “Next thing you know, he’ll start quoting Instapundit.” (I’m wrong – it’s Captain Ed.)

“I happen to have printed this out from Captain Ed. I think you’ll find it very educational,” he tells his wife.

Jesus, would you just shut up? I’m trying to sleep.

On Wednesday night, some guy with a bike (his name is Pat, he tells me) sits down next to me and starts chatting away. This is just not good; I’ve had three glasses of iced tea and I really, really, really need to go to the bathroom. Since this is a local, the train is making every single stop and this guy just keeps on talking. I can’t think of any polite way to tell him I have to concentrate right now, I can’t talk. But there’s something about him; he’s tanned and dirty, his hair is bleached and lank. He has the open, guileless face of an eight-year-old and I realize Pat is maybe a few tacos short of a combination platter.

He starts telling about his job. “I take the train to work every day and I clean windows, car windows,” he says. I realize he’s one of those squeegee guys who works the intersections downtown.

“Would it be cheaper if I bought a pass? How does that work?” he asked me. “Should I get one for a whole month?”

I tell him he should wait to see if there’s a strike. His face clouds. “If the trains don’t run, how can I get to work? That would be horrible,” he says.

I offer him the leftover pasta I have from the restaurant. “Wow, that’s really nice of you,” he says.

“Enjoy it,” I tell him. “Glad you like it.”

And I am.