I've whined about the GCRTA before
. I even stopped riding them for a while when they had a train driver on my route who managed to be 15 minutes late every single day he worked. If you happen to get a certain Leonard as your driver, you may want to try walking instead. But gas prices have gotten the better of my and I've returned to mass transit (hopefully not risking my neck
). As luck would have it, Nancy is driving my train home now and she's been on-time despite the frequent people who - ignoring the signs printed all over the inside of the trains - stick their head into the cab area to ask her if the train goes to Tower City.
There's an interesting mix of folks on the train, poor and middle class, and inevitably the ones who are trouble on the ones least needing to be on a train, in that they do not appear to be going anywhere. I'm not sure what is it about the trains that take them want to make random jumping screaming, perhaps it reminds them of the journey from the womb that they have long regretted in the depths of their souls.
The cell phone loud talker seems to always be a middle-aged white guy (we always hate the funhouse mirror version of ourselves) who is in a miserable sounding sales job - but the descriptions he gives over the phone, trading such bon mots as "time flies when you're having fun" at volumes intended to insure that passing planes are sure to hear that he is "ON THE TRAIN NOW - YEAH. THE TRAIN. I'M ON THE TRAIN". The tiresome stream of crumbling clichés that spill from their maws both saddens me as the crumbling bridges the trains rumble 'neath, as makes me wish they'd think of better things to say instead of "I'M WORKING HARD - OR HARDLY WORKING HAHAHAHA". They could say "I drift from patchy lawns over forgotten broken driveways as the seed from a dandelion hated by the father decapitating weeds but the stuff of dreams to the child peering through grease-stained panes above".
Is the woman who sat in front of me yesterday and started sucking her thumb at war with the long-ago loss of childhood? Is she holding back a spirit from controlling her tongue that would otherwise cry out at the metalscreeching fumes of a mechanized beast that goes down tracks besides a wasteland of broken trees and brush strewn with human debris?
A series of the trains I ride have painting of famous people on them, and are labeled the "trains of fame". But what if instead of business luminaries of lost ages and sports heroes they contained portraits of the real people within? Would that be more truthful? Rockefeller would never ride the trains today. By painting us on there, do they tell cynical, complaining Canadians that it doesn't matter if the train is late, for a part of you will always be there, watching the city roll by slowly, without grace, but with grim determination?