Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Heads or Tails #11 (Trains)

Welcome to this week's installment of "Heads or Tails," a wholly owned subsidiary of Barb's blogging empire. Today's challenge: Trains.

I've whined so much about the Blue Line of the CTA since this blog went up that I could just pull up snippets from past entries and satisfy today's obligation. With a little editing, they might even be enjoyable....

Of course, most of the entries here suffer from want of editing.... And editing is work....

I was thinking about this morning's entry as I waited for the train to pull in. I was fortunate today: A train arrived just as I descended to the platform... and it was relatively empty. I watched the cars roll by and thought for a moment that I would sit one car further back than usual... but, on that car, I saw, my seat was taken. I hurried back to the preceding car.

My seat?

When I was in law school I lived with my parents, well out in Exurbia, near where Christ lost His shoes. My father took the Chicago & North Western train both ways and I rode down with him in the morning and sometimes returned with him at night.

I never needed to look for him: He was always in the same car, in the same seat. During most of those years he was reading the Daily News. (Yes, children, once upon a time, we had afternoon newspapers in this country as well as morning ones.) I'd get through Mike Royko, at least, before I fell asleep. But I always fell asleep.

Nor was I the only one. This was an express train and it ran for a good 40 minutes before reaching Exurbia, and ours was the first stop. Almost all of the riders left their tickets or monthly passes out and surrendered themselves to the arms of Morpheus; the conductor moved quietly through the car at some point... you knew he'd been there, if you had a ticket, because it had been punched. Or collected. But you never saw him.

Now that I think about it... a pickpocket could have really cleaned up on that train....

My father's seat selection was personal -- but I've come to believe that this is something men do. That men have to do. We function best in a routine: My wallet must be put here at night. My watch and pen must be there....

"My" seat on the el isn't always on the same car: The trains arriving at my station come from O'Hare and they will be crowded or empty according to the number of planes arriving. But I'll scramble for that seat on any car I can. Things aren't right somehow if I can't get it: The coffee cup doesn't fit the same way or I have no room for my feet... and, if I have to sit on the other side of the car, or facing the other way, the Sun will surely blind me or I'll spill or... something.

Of course, I can vary my routine: Sometimes I run into my friend Steve on the platform. I'll ride down with him. "His" seat is in an entirely different place within the car, and always more towards the front of the train than I prefer. But, then, I'm riding down with him so it's OK. If we chance to meet riding home, however, I always aim for "my" seat.

That's normal, isn't it?

11 comments:

Patti said...

we are all creatures of habit

you have just one pen, old chap? it must be nice one ;-)

Rambler said...

never thought about it until now, I too have a fixed routine when it comes to choosing my seat in my bus.
men thing??

Misty Dawn said...

LOL - I am a true creature of habit and routine. Almost obsessive. My husband is not that way at all. So, he always picks on me that I have serious issues. Nice to know I'm not the only one LOL (but I'm not a man hehe)

Mama Pajama said...

Great post. So true about men and their routines. Growing up, I thought that my dad was the only person like that...til I met my husband. This goes here, that goes there...LOL

jenn said...

I, too, am a creature of habit. It drives my family nuts. But, it's easier for them to play along than it is for me to change, so...
Happy Tuesday!

tegdirb92 said...

your post reminded me of my college days in the big city--with an el trip an hour each way :) Thanks for the memories. Great post.

katherine. said...

I am like that with "my pew" at church.

(wholly owned subsidiary of the empire....laughing laughing laughing)

peppylady said...

I'm in my traveling habits I sure I'm not creature of habit.

What a great story thanks for sharing.

My heads up.

JaniceNW said...

Society in general likes to use the same seat, routine=safety for most people. I see it my classes all the time.

Nice post Mr. Curmudgeon! I'll get to your baseball posts after midterms. Sorry that I am too busy this week!

Skittles said...

I have a blogging empire? LOL.. you goof!

I don't know about having a seat on a train, but I know Mike will always sit in the same place on the couch or at the table. :)

Andrée said...

What a great post. It brought back a desire for those bad old good days again. Well written.