Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I bet I saw Something More Bizarre on the Northbound Brown Line Tonight Around Midnight than you did

By: T.R. Slyder, TRSlyder@yahoo.com, AndyDisco on Twitter

I'm on the train tonight, the Brown Line, which, I find, has the most tame passengers of any train line. Anyway, things are fine and then a guy started talking to himself. Not a big deal, you see that all the time and it seemed pretty mumbley, so whatever. Then he stands up and walks to the doorway to check out the map of the system above the door. Not a big deal. He looked either drunk or a little slow- younger guy, out of shape in the way that slower people often are, wearing a pair of grubby, untied Air Jordans, grubby carpenter jeans and some kind of t-shirt. While looking at the map he was touching it with his fingers and pointing to different stops, like he was counting the number of stops until his destination. What made that more odd was that he was pointing to a lot of different lines, almost like he had no idea where he was going or what line he was on. He was also missing a digit on his right middle finger, which seemed to make sense for a gentleman like him.

He was right in front of me, so I was watching him I guess. I had nothing better to do. After his Magellan-like map reading exploits he was leaning on the door, which is not a safe thing to do, but didn't seem like a huge deal since I thought he'd probably go back to his seat in a minute or two as he seemed fidgety and always moving around. Then I see he was reaching above his head at the emergency door open latch. In Chicago it's basically in a little hole above the doorway, and it's a red ball on the end of a metal latch, that you just pull down. So in the middle of the train ride, he reaches up and pulls it down. Being on the Brown Line and on elevated tracks, that's really dangerous, especially for a guy that didn't seem to have the best balance in the world. He seemed drunk, or at least a stumbly as a drunk person- he had been doing a lot of leaning on the pole next to the door. So he pulls the latch and the door opens about two feet wide, and he's seems curious about it. Meanwhile the train is still moving and I'm like, "Ok, this is dangerous." So I get up and rush over to him and tug on the back of his shirt to get him away from the opening. I didn't think he'd be violent or anything, but I had hoped he wouldn't resist my firm suggestion when I said, "You don't want to do that". So I pulled him back as the train stops, and I manage to squeeze the door shut. After I told him that he said in a really docile voice, "ok", and went back to leaning on the pole while I shut the door. He sounded to me like a little kid getting disciplined and understanding why he was being disciplined. I didn't feel like getting in a fight, so it worked out well for everybody.

We were in the first car of the train and the train operator came out of his cock pit thingy and fiddled with the door for a second, then went back to the cock pit and we started going again. Then it was over.

I'm T.R. Slyder, and that's how you Tangueray.

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