Sitting on people on the ‘L’

For starters, it is freezing outside today. As of right now, in Chicago, it is 22 degrees out. I wish you could capitalize numbers to emphasis the shock and awe of 22 degrees. Of course, the trains were packed and running late. Why run EXPRESS when you can just pack people in like a sardine can? And of course, there was drama. As soon as I parked my car and got out, I was thrown right into a staring contest. Some guy, standing on the corner with a black winter hat with red horns sticking out of it stared at me my entire walk from my car to the corner. I stared right back. The hat and overall miserable and angry face made the guy look like the devil. Flash forward to me on the train after waiting 10 minutes in the Hoth-like cold. It’s packed but there are still some open seats behind me. A man boards who is hauling luggage. It’s a giant roll-away suitcase that is clearly too big. He brushes past me practically taking my shoulder off. Within seconds, I hear an elderly woman behind me shout, “Wha, you can’t sit on me! Don’t you sit on me!” I turn and see the man perched on her shoulder. Sitting on her. Instantly this whole woman’s life flashed before my eyes. I imagined her as a child, teenager, and young adult in situations where people just kept sitting on her. No matter where she goes. Every time she takes a seat anywhere someone sits on her shortly after.  In Church. At Restaurants. At her own house.  No respect.

However, it was right here and now that she’d had enough. She was standing up for herself. The man murmured  “seat.” He moved and sounded exactly like Milton Waddams from Office Space. I hear some shuffling behind me and then Milton says, “thank-you” which is followed by a very vicious and sarcastic “oh, you’re very very very welcome” from the woman. After a few stops it is absolute bedlam. The entire train is packed to the gills. People’s faces are smashed against the glass. One guy gets on and starts telling everyone to move over, but we can’t. There’s luggage taking up the isle. Another shouts from the platform, “look at all that room! You could park a Buick in there!” All the meanwhile, a teenager stands next to me with his backpack pressed against my face. With every bump and turn of the train, the backpack drags across my face and shoulders. Finally we reach our destination. People, who were waiting on the platform, flood into the train. They start entering before I could even get out. No elevator etiquette here. I hurl my way out of the train like it was 4th and goal. As the train pulls away I hear, “Wha, don’t you sit on me. Don’t you dare sit on me!”

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