Interlude 47

It was 7:30 AM on a Tuesday; the setting, a commuter train in the suburbs.

The doors opened on the empty train and the passengers, eager for their own private seat, file in orderly and quickly.  Two lines of approximately 12 people filed into the car with 88 seats.  The doors closed on the quarter filled train.  Silence filled the train and I started reading my newest book, VMware  vSphere Design (2nd Edition!)  I could barely contain my excitement at the mysteries I would soon be exposed to.  This is nothing like The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.

Then the doors opened on the train again and another throng of people flowed into what I perceived as my space.  There were plenty of seats so I did not fear anyone sitting next to me.  I have broad shoulders and menacing look.  With so many open seats, my personal space was flexing outward, keeping the unwashed masses at bay.  I’m no small, delicate flower.  But I leave room for one to sit next to me.  I really want to keep my personal space a no fly zone.  I hate when it gets invaded.

A large, yet young, man waddles down the aisle.  Telepathically I persuade him to continue past me.  This is not the seat you are looking for.  There are better seats two rows further along.  My telepathy and menace has failed and he takes the seat next to me.  While I am fully on my half of the seat, surely a solid 3/8” away from the median, his wide bottom takes up his side, my 3/8” and then some.

The main thing going through my mind, beyond his buttocks pushing indelicately into mine, is “Jimmy Olson’s Blues.”  Surely you remember the first hit single by the Spin Doctors?  “I’ve got a pocket full of kryptonite.”  It seems appropriate.   This man-child has a bag full of French fries.  The smell is both delicious and overpowering.  I realize I need to endure this smell for the next 32 minutes on my ride to work.

Who the fuck has a bag of hot French fries on the morning train?  Not only that, these fries are from Jack.  Let’s be honest:  between the train station and Jack in the Box is 2-3 miles of roads filled with McDonald’s and BKs.  So why are these fries still hot and smelling like dinner?  The only upside is that he is not wearing an overdose of Hai Karate!

I stop thinking about kryptonite and ponder the meaning of ketchup packets.  Do you think Don Draper would have come up with ketchup packets if SCDP had the opportunity for the ketchup account?  Motherfucker, I wanted his French fries.

It took all my resolve to become a criminal that morning.  Just another day in the big city.  Where is that wayward shaker of salt?

We can make it better
We can make it happen
We can save the children
We can make it happen

(Dialogue Part 2, Chicago, Robert Lamm 1972)

Clearly not if people keep bringing French Fries on the train to work.  I predict a riot.