Even after turning down the opportunity to return to Socal for law school, renting a semi-permanent living space here
You see, I’ve become a Caltrain user.
I don’t just mean I’ve started riding it occasionally, when I need to get to the city for some reason. I mean I have a commuter pass and ride every day to and from work. Can you believe it? Me, a Socal native, using public transportation. I don’t think I even knew what those words meant until I came here for school. I mean, sure, I’d heard of public transportation, but it was something only New Yorkers really used, and for all I knew they were just making that subway crap up (everyone knows New Yorkers are desperate for attention (sorry Mom101)). But now, here I am, regularly using public transportation as a means of, well, transportation. I’m not sure how to handle such a drastic identity shift.
I am learning some interesting lessons from taking the train, though. For one thing, people do some crazy things when they’re bored. A few days ago, a girl sitting across the aisle from me (on the second level, by the way) was breathing on the window and writing “Hi” with her fingers. Even stranger was that she was writing it backwards, as if intending it to be read from the outside. Who, I’d like to know, is going to be reading the second-story window of a passing express train? To top it off, she kissed her palm and stuck it to the window, perhaps in the hopes of snagging a date with any 15-feet-tall sprinters running alongside the train on the off-chance they could find an insipid message drawn onto the window by some desperate female. She should have written her phone number, too.
People are also extremely willing to tell you their life stories once you’re trapped in an enclosed space with them. Did you know that there’s a place called
Apparently there’s also something very soothing about Caltrain that lulls people to sleep. And then they snore. Loudly.
Last week (and most weeks in the future), I was taking the train at 7:30am. There were some people there, but not a ton, so seating was easy. This week, however, I’ve been taking it at 8:30. There are WAY more people taking the train at 8:30 than at 7:30. Like, about four times as many. I think this has driven home to me, once again, that I chose the wrong career given how much I hate early mornings. Other people get to go to work later, but no, I have to be there at 7:45am. Ah well, I would have had to adjust when I became a mom anyway, right? Boy, I’m really looking forward to those screaming, crying, ass-crack of dawn wake-up calls. Really – I can’t wait.
I also learned quickly that sound travels really well in a Caltrain car. Besides all the information I learned from being directly assailed with other peoples’ life stories, you wouldn’t even believe everything I’ve learned from overhearing people at the other end of the car. For example, today I learned what an a-hole Jimmy is for ditching Charlotte at the party last weekend when he knows that her parents are getting a divorce and she’s just been trying to deal with that so it’s not her fault that she’s a little moodier than normal and just because she’s not as pretty as Lisa doesn’t mean she deserves to be totally humiliated like that in front of her ex-boyfriend who was at that same party showing off his new arm candy even though he totally wasn’t invited because Jeannie knew that Charlotte wouldn’t want to see him anyway. Can you believe it? That Jimmy can be a real jerk, let me tell you.
I think the most important thing I’ve learned, however, is that Caltrain has its priorities all screwed up. I saw this sign today, and it bothered me a bit:
I’m sorry, “Violators subject to citation”? If you’re standing on the tracks when an express train comes by, don’t you think you have bigger consequences to worry about than a citation? “I was just standing there on the tracks, minding my own business, and then this express train came by real fast, and as I was being dragged under the wheels, I was like, Damnit, here comes another citation…”