I took the train and inadvertently rejoined humanity

I’m a big fan of change and trying new things. My problem is that I’m usually too scared to try things outside of what I’ve grown up thinking is normal or expected. Which is ridiculous when you realize that I constantly rail against the status quo and start to go crazy if that terrible word “routine” gets a foothold in my daily life (this could be why I blog in clusters).

Recently, though, I’ve rediscovered my love of new things and the unexpected rewards/consequences that come with them. This story starts with my hatred of I-95 and ends with me riding on a train.

I hate I-95 – well, maybe I just very much dislike driving on I-95 – or any other major, crowded, highway. There are too many moving parts and I find that I’m constantly flipping through the list of possible stupid actions that the cars around me could take, which has saved me from a few crashes along the way but makes me ‘dislike’ the drivers around me. See, when I expect someone to do something stupid and then they do that exact stupid thing, it really gets to me. I figure that if can tell that you’re about to do something stupid, you should be able to see it to; and if you don’t see it, you’re an idiot.

OK OK – that’s not my point, but you get the source my inspiration. This is in addition to the cost of gas and wear and tear on my aging car (anyone have $1000 for new struts?).

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I found the solution to my traveling woes in the humble South Florida mass transit system. Specifically, Tri Rail. I realized that I could easily drive to the station near my house, ride the train for 20mins and then walk 5 minutes to my job.

Brilliant.

Fast forward about a month. Having figured out the logistics of getting to and from the train I took the red pill and followed the rabbit hole a lot further than I expected. (In case you missed the reference).

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I sat on the train and looked across at the passenger facing me.

“Hi, I’m Mike.”

What? Did I just say that? Who is this dude and why am I talking to him?

“I’m Jeff, nice to meet you.” (probably not his real name because I totally can’t remember it)

Just like that – I was conversing with some guy I’d just met … on the way home from work.

Maybe that didn’t click for you.

I was pleasantly speaking with a person who, had we been in separate cars, would have been my sworn enemy for 20 miles of roadway. In a car I would have written this guy off as some idiot who was out to kill me, but on the train we were practically BFFs.

And that’s not all. I thought back to my time waiting for the train and I realized that there were real people around me. Like, poor people, rich people, white people, black people, etc… And we were all there for one reason:

To take the freaking train.

Who knew that you didn’t have to loath people with whom you traveled? Now, instead of waiting for one of them to cause my early death in a 12-car pile-up, we all found our seats in unity hoping, together, that the train wouldn’t derail and explode in a fire-ball, killing us all.

And that’s a camaraderie I haven’t felt since my last bumpy plane ride.

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