Thursday, December 14, 2006

Anyway no more

I have been taking the train, or "L" or "el" - depending on what you want to call it, though I believe the CTA calls it the "L" - to work almost every day for the better part of 10 years. While I realize this is unremarkable to the millions of people that live in cities like Chicago, New York, London, Paris etc., there are still millions of people (even in said cities) that get in a car each day and drive to work. So just as most of my family (who lives in Texas and Oklahoma) and even my husband's family (who lives in Cleveland) find it fascinating that I get on a train each day to go to work, I find it - well not fascinating, but still interesting that they get in their cars and drive to work. I can not imagine doing this every day. I have only had to do this once, and it was driving less than two miles and I only did it for about six months. That in and of itself seems remarkable, because if I worked less than two miles from my apartment in Chicago, I probably would walk - or at least ride my bike - but in the suburbs of Cleveland, one does not normally do such things - especially in winter.

The point is, if there is a point, that I can not imagine driving to work each day. And if I did drive to work each day, I would miss out on all of the interesting things that I get to see on the train, and I would have to find more time to read, as I do the majority of my reading on the half hour ride to and from work.

One of the things I like the most about riding the train, is it really shows how small the world is, even when it is so clearly huge. This morning I walked to the train behind a woman with long blond hair and a blue bag. Once I climbed the stairs, we went our separate ways and I didn't notice her on the platform or on the train. I spent the next half hour reading. As the train pulled into the Quincy station, my stop, I prepared to rejoin the world, putting away my book, and as I stepped off the train, there she was right in front of me again. This happens all the time. I see people that for whatever reason I notice when I am getting on the train or walking to the train or sitting next to them on the train. And then they get off at the same stop I do. This means we live and work relatively close to one another, and yet, I have no idea who she is, what she does, where she lives or works. All I know about her is that she has blond hair and a blue bag, lives close to the Southport Brown line stop and works near the Quincy stop. Even though we don't have a connection, we do. And that is one of the great reasons to ride the train to work.

On a completely unrelated topic (I really want to say ANYWAY here, but I can't say that anymore. I am reading Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself to Live and to make transitions from rambling story to rambling story, he uses ANYWAY. Obviously, he is not the only one who has used this technique. I think anyone who reads through my journals, letters, and even previous blog posts - paltry though they may be - can see that I like to use this transition rather than actually composing a transition. However, I feel that I can no longer use it because I don't want people to think that I am blatantly ripping Chuck off - even though I feel that I have partly started blogging because of people like Chuck and David Eggers who write in that very self referential style. Regardless, I will attempt to revert back to actual writing technique and come up with genuine transitions. Right now, however, the best I can come up with is On a completely unrelated topic) I was telling my husband, JP, that one of my coworkers (we'll call him Pierre) always has a smart-ass response to anything you ask or say to him. Of course I can't remember an example right now, but just believe me on this one. His smart-assedness is not the point. The point is that I too tend to be a bit of a smart-ass. Much like Pierre, I acknowledge and am aware of this trait. I think I'm being funny. I assume Pierre does too. And sometimes it is funny. Since it takes one to know one, I understand that this is not done to be rude (though that is one of his defining characteristics also). However, I do find it a tiring. Just once I'd like a straight answer. And so now I realize - though I really did know this before, just not as clearly as I do now - that I am sure my smart-ass remarks are probably tiring to those around me, most specifically to JP and my sister, J, as they take the brunt of it. So, JP and J, if you're reading this, I will try to be less of a smart-ass around you, and instead concentrate all of my smart-ass comments at Pierre, as he deserves them.

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