How to be a Responsible Irresponsible Adult on a Daily Train Commute

This morning,  as the conductor was collecting tickets on the train,  he stood impatiently beside our seat.

“Ticket!” I could almost hear him stomp his feet.

I cried out, “Oh!” because I was busy reading the Monday morning Facebook report.  I reached to dig through my sweet hot pink mini backpack and grab my ticket as Brian reached into his pocket. The conductor looked directly at me, his face and tone warmer, “No, you’re  fine.” And he waited for Brian to display  evidence that he belongs on this train.

Brian scoffed at me as I giggled. Actually, I’m pretty sure he also shook his head in utter disgust. He hates that this happens. Because it also means when I’m  careless and forget my Metra pass, or I forget to switch to the next month’s ticket…the conductors don’t make me buy a ticket.

How to be a responsible irresponsible adult on a daily train commuteHe says this is propagating my bad behavior. I call it  relationship building. On our old train line, I made friends in the morning. I had a group of train buddies who all hung out in the same vestibule of the front car. We all laughed and joked with the conductor, and he never even looked at our passes, save a couple times a month or so to ensure we had monthly passes.

When we lived in the apartment, we were on a different train line than we are now. Usually, Brian wasn’t on the morning train with me. He would drop me off so I could get on an earlier train, park the car, and take the next train into the city. Basically, Brian’s  a fucking saint. We still use that system sometimes for our new train line if we’re running late, but he often gets on the same morning train as me.

On the old line, we took the same train home every night as well, and our conductor was amazing.  We were even on a first name basis with him, and he would stop and chat with us for 10-15 minutes every day. When we went to Florida, I even bought him back some cool rocks I found on the beach because he collected them.

Here, we’re still the newbies.

But I sit in the same seat every day. And I smile at the conductor.  I say “good morning.” Apparently,  that can go a long way.

So when I forget to bring my new monthly pass, or I switch purses, I don’t have to come up with $9.75. Or spend 20 minutes trying to prove I already pay $150/month to get to work. Because they know me.

And that makes me smile.

Even if it pisses Brian off when I’m  irresponsible and forgetful.

Do you have a daily routine in which you interact with the same people? Is there someone who knows your morning  coffee order? What’s your daily commute like?

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If I’m Not Running Into Poles, I Trip Over Invisible Wires

The thing about working in the city and doing the whole commuter thing, is that when we want to go out after work, we become slaves to the train schedule. On the 40s of every hour, a train leaves the station. Miss it, and you’re stuck twiddling your thumbs for 59 minutes.

One night, shortly after walking headfirst into a no-parking sign, Brian and I stayed late to have dinner with his brother. In our mad dash to the train, I decided I would take a shortcut.

There’s a small patio in front of Union Station, that is often cut-throughable. I was running about 5 feet in front of Brian, and saw a gap between tables that were trying to block the way. I turned and aimed for the gap, preparing to zig zag through the Corner Bakery tables. Except…

There was also a GIANT cable locked around these tables. Huge. And most important, INVISIBLE.
And so obviously…I jumped right over it…well, I did in my mind, anyways.

There’s a very unique feeling when it comes to falling down for me. It’s almost always unexpected. And shocking. But it never hurts as bad as it looks. Except when it does. This was one of those scathing falls that knocks you on your ass seven ways from Sunday. And we still needed to get to the train. So I got up and ran some more, jumping over the next cable on my way out of the “shortcut.” We made the train with seconds to spare, and I was able to assess the damage and feel the pain.

Aside from the burn on my ankle where the cable caught me, the invisible bruise on my palm from the landing, the scrape on the inside of my right knee from…well…something, the gash on my left knee, and the throbbing pain in the same knee, it wasn’t so bad. I just kept telling myself it could be worse. Right?

Someone please tell me an injury story so I don’t feel quite so ridiculous.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!