Crazy, that’s how it goes

Posted: May 26, 2014 in Uncategorized

It’s been a few months and I am slowly learning the ropes of public transit. I’m not sure if I will ever be completely ‘at peace’ with it. Hell, I am not sure anyone is ever really ‘at peace’ with it but at some point it just because a part of your life like taxes, breathing, and standing in line for the bathroom. It is what it is.  I have learned where to stand on the platform that puts me immediately in front of the door. I am like an archeologist in that I look for visual clues, in my surroundings, sometimes I must uncover them, so that I know where to stand. I know which train car to ride in and which end of it will get me off the train the fastest when we roll into North Station. Don’t think these things matter? Well, they do. A mere three minutes stands between me getting off the train and running outside, then down into the subway station to catch the Green Line to Simmons. Three minutes. So the quicker I get off the train, the bigger my chances are that I make that connection. Every day I end up running. Which is fine, I like to run but I always think I am ahead of the game. That I can leisurely stroll to and from my connections and something always happens that ensures me that running is in order. Now, I am doing the C25K and it is going really well. I love running and exercising but when I do these things, I am aware I am about to do them. It’s not like I go outside, walk around and then go, “Shit fire! I gotta do my C25K right now!” and take off in a mad dash down Essex Street in a sundress and flip flops. No, when I go to run, I am prepared. So when I happen to engage in running activity via commuting purposes, it is entirely different, usually unsuspecting, irritating, and annoying. Again, it is what it is.

All of this is fine and dandy. I can tolerate the running. I can even tolerate some of my annoying fellow commuters. Yes, I sometimes avoid certain trains because I know who I will be riding with. Sometimes I just cannot handle hearing the woman who ALWAYS complains about everything. She is probably the most miserable person I have ever ‘met’ and I cannot imagine anyone would ever want to talk to her let alone hang out with her. There is also the group of commuters who obsess over deconstructing the weather. Looking for patterns as if it matters. We live in freaking New England. There are no patterns. Just rain and then a glimpse of sun. Sometimes there are crazies on the train. When that happens I can pretty much guarantee that they are getting off at one of two stops. Either it’s Lynn because they live there. Sorry, but most crazies do get off at the Lynn stop. And also people with a gaggle of children, screaming babies, or grumpy teenagers get off in Lynn. Or the crazies are getting off in Salem because Salem is nothing but a giant freaking magnet for weirdos. And not cool weirdos of the Robert Smith from The Cure variety. No, these are weirdos that have escaped from somewhere only where they came from, no one is looking for them because they are glad they are gone. So yay me, having to ride with them.

Since I didn’t just fall off the turnip truck yesterday, I freaking know not to make eye contact. I also know now not to smile, or move, or look in their general direction. Just stare at my Kindle or play with my phone. Whatever I have to do to look busy and engaged in my own life. But last week I was sucked into a terrible abyss that literally still haunts me. A woman sat down directly across from me. At first she seemed alright. She complimented me on my Sailor Jerry Converse exclusives and then proceeded to try to buy my shoes off me for like 10 minutes. I’m not kidding. When she couldn’t buy them, she tried making a trade for them. While this was annoying it wasn’t scary. Yet. Then she starts telling me how she lives in Dedham but has to go to Salem (of course) to ID her dead brother’s body parts. Yes, body parts. Apparently he was hit by a car that was going 60 mph and blew all his limbs off. The person driving the car never even stopped. Her father is 84 years old and lives in Maine so he cannot ID the body. She is hysterical, crying, repeating this same story at least a dozen times. Each time she starts the story over as if I had never heard it before. Her brother’s name is Eric. He was a genius. Loved Math. Had Asperger’s Syndrome. Played in a band that once opened for ACDC and the Grateful Dead. (I would like to know what type of concert ever existed where these two bands played together…ever. Outside her own loony mind). I also wonder if limbs do indeed blow off if you are hit by a car doing 60mph but then I was never good at math story problems so I cannot answer that question.

And here I am, trapped in front of her, listening to her cry over and over again with this story of her dead brother and his body parts. I sympathize, I do. I lost my father so I know what that feels like to wake up fine and then have grief and shock rain down on you in a sudden hailstorm of despair. I get it but something doesn’t feel right about her story. Everything feels off but I keep thinking that grief does strange things to people. I know because I’ve lived through it. Then she starts telling me how beautiful I am. How gorgeous my eyes are. How bright and beautiful my smile is. She asks if I have any children. She tells me that I should keep moving forward, never look back. She tells me I am an artist although I am not confident enough to believe it but I am. She tells me that I remind her of her daughter. And also Pat Benetar. She tells me I am strong and creative. That I can do anything and I need to believe myself more.

Part of me wonders if she is prophetic in some way. The song “We Belong” by Pat Benetar is Matt and my song. I don’t call myself an artist although Matt disagrees. Part of me wonders if she is fucking crazy or drunk or both. I also think that is probably the cheapest psychic reading I will ever get outside of Salem.

She wants my shoes again. Am I sure I won’t trade with her. She is wearing dollar store flip flops. I think not. I know worry that she will jump me once we get off the train and rob me for my shoes. Or worse, she will follow me then rob me.

She apologizes for being over-zealous. She hopes she has not offended me. She wishes everyone was as nice as me. People in the world need to be nicer and I am the nicest person she has ever met on the train.

Lucky me. I want to tell her that I am not nice. I am a Midwesterner. I cannot help it.

She cries again over Eric and his body parts. She cannot go ID the body. This is too hard. She just wants someone to tell her it will be okay.

It will be okay.

Then as we get up to exit the train, she grabs my hand then quickly drops it. She says, “Why are your hands so cold? That’s not right. Something is not right. You shouldn’t be that cold.” Then she gets off the train. I have successfully creeped her out with my corpse hands. All my warmth and niceness falls to wayside because of my cadaver hands.

Part of me wonders if I somehow died on the train ride and this is my version of hell.

As I stand around waiting for her to get far enough ahead of me so I can lose her, several people I recognize from my daily commute approach me to see if I am alright. They all felt bad for me. They all hated how I laughed so nervously and smiled and they could tell I was freaking out. Hmm, they saw how frightened I was yet NO ONE intervened. That’s the story of commuting. Then one of them says, “I could smell the alcohol on her. Plus her story was bullshit too.”

It was like the ring scene in “The Sixth Sense.” Suddenly everything came into focus and I realized in that moment that I had been duped. For a half hour. And it was the most terrifying discovery ever because her pain was real. Or at least it seemed real. I also had not smelled the alcohol. Why? Because I have a sinus infection. Go figure.

I have spent a considerable amount of time researching this possible ‘hit and run’ and it does not exit. It simply never happened. At least not in this world or in this time frame.

I believe that things happen for a reason. I believe that we find ourselves places and in situations for a reason as well but I am struggling to find meaning in this encounter. I know that it is stupid to even give a second thought yet I do, every day when I take the train home. Partly out of fear that I will run into her again but also because she had some intense emotions over a story that was more than likely fabricated. And it bothers me because she trapped me with her lunacy for a half hour. A half hour that I will never get back. And now, she has infected me with this story and at least for right now, I cannot get rid of it.

Maybe all it means is that I need to be a little meaner on the train. Or at the very least look pissed off when I sit there so that no one wants to talk to me, ever.

Either way, I’m goin’ off the rails on a crazy train.

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Comments
  1. scubabarb says:

    Do you still have the gift I sent you? 😉 Sounds like you still need this!!

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