Commuting to Work: Every Day is a Train Ride
While taking the Blue Line home the other day, I had this moment where I noticed just how large the windows of the train car were. Looking out, I could see both the outline of the city’s tall buildings, as well as the closer ones rushing by, as we passed over various neighborhoods.
Like most other adults riding the train, I was pretty oblivious to the commute. This was, after all, something I’ve done countless times before – twice a day, five days a week, year after year after year.
But today, on going home, I was reminded of a small ride I took as a kid. I think it was a submarine ride, possibly at either Disneyland or the Museum of Science and Industry. We waited in line, then got into this metallic vessel… and I spent the whole of the trip glued to the windows, watching in awe as an underwater world passed by.
Monotony plays its tricks on the senses, and I found myself on the CTA Blue Line an older version of that kid, a little immune to the world going by. On seeing these large windows, it made me remember what it was like to be enamored with the world, and reminded me I should pay a little more attention on my daily commute.
Once upon a time, back when I first arrived in Chicago, I worked out in Barrington. This job required me to take the Metra rail to and from the city each day. And like many of the commuters who traveled over an hour each way to/from the city, most of us were pretty exhausted at the end of the day.
While out in Barrington waiting for a train back home, I was standing next to a kid and his dad. As one of the large trains lumbered towards the station, the kid started jumping up and down, pointing and screaming The TRAIN is coming! The TRAIN is coming!.
He was so full of excitement and energy. And all around him were guys like me, punching out after a 9-5 job and making their way back home. But seeing this kid and his enthusiasm was great – and a reminder that hey, I get to ride a friggin’ train to and from work every day. How cool is that?
So take this post as me trying to be as awesome as that little kid, and trying to offer out a reminder. Next time you’re on that platform waiting to make your way to work, try to ignore the throng of people around you. Try to ignore the smells and the lateness of the hour.
Imagine a little kid, tugging on your sleeve, pointing and yelling that the train is coming.