Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Of Ticket Checkers, Make up and Bears

The Make up lady:

Why does it bother me?

There's this women who takes the 8:30 metra (Suburban rail) that i take. Now just to clarify right away, i don't keep observing women on my train. But this woman is different. The moment she takes the seat she starts doing her make up. She has a huge make up kit (proportionate to her huge self being). Also she is clearly over the hill and must be in her late 40s if not early 50s.

Apparently her vanity box is "full of it". Like her.

It takes me around 35 minutes to reach downtown. For that entire period, i repeat, entire period, she is busy "making her self" up. To be fair to her, she minds her own business, like everyone else. She is not a chatter box or something. Yet her demeanor bothers me. Her constant and relentless "making up" bothers me. I just want to tell her "STOP IT" !!!! Please STOP IT.

While on the train I usually open my laptop and either write some crap (like this) or just check my emails. But once in a while when i look around, more often than not, i catch this women painting her face away to glory. Now there are others ladies too who "make up" (no pun intended) in the train. But this women is different. She is passionate about her make up. She just "rubs it in" (pun totally intended) continuously.

And i know i should not be bothered by this and mind my own freaking business. But it still does bother me.

The Ticket Checkers:

All Ticket checkers have different styles. Metra has two tiers ( double decker train); the bottom level has more seats. The upper level is mostly a single line of seats. Some ticket checkers check the bottom level first and make a come back to check the upper level. While some TC's simply check both levels at same time as they move between the aisles.

Now if you are reading a newspaper or are sitting on your laptop it's hard to judge when your ticket will be checked. So you keep waiting depending on the TC. Not that it affects anything as you are already royally seated. Yet you got to be alert as you don't want poor chap to come near you and ask for ticket. Most people just plug their passes in the slot of the seat and get on with reading or whatever they are doing and the TC just swoops past them observing the passes. Some people though, stop his normal flow by taking a ticket on the train itself. Thats a serious NO-NO for TC and i have seen them upset. But it's their job.

People :

During weekdays it's 99% office going crowd. All professionals. Well dressed and uptight. There's generally no verbal communication. Everyone is either reading newspaper or doing office work. Some are doing their "make up" as mentioned earlier. But it's very quiet. During weekends its totally different. There are large families and groups with children who raise quite a cacophony. Weekends on train you want to stay away from families with too many kids. They would usually be throwing things around or just plain screaming.
I have been traveling on this line (the NorthWest line as it's called) for last 2 years. Many faces have become familiar now. Also TC's. Their faces are known. But i have not made many friends on this train line. It's very typical here. People acknowledge each other but keep a distance. We don't become train buddies. Of course if it's some one from your work place who happens to sit next to you then it's a different scene.

Cell Phones:

Call it a Murphy's law- but anytime you on the phone during the travel, invariably there are tons of announcements. Either about safety or about asking patrons to take ticket from the station instead of taking it inside or some sundry message. It ensures difficulty to talk and listen. These messages are broad casted by the Ticket Checkers themselves. Of course there the automated ones as well adding more to the irritation. Some TCs are over enthusiastic or plain simple sadists. They probably do not like people talking on cell in train and make sure their lives become difficult for some time at least by constant announcements / messages.

Beers and Bears:

You can take food and beer on the train. We occasionally see boisterous Bears or Cubs fans on the train. This season Bears has done miserably in NFL. They won't be making to the playoffs. Last season they were the runners up and NFC champions. So this time trains won't be full with people coming over from the Soldier fields.
In Chicago people actually enjoy drinking beer during the winters. That's a strange combination. Winters and Beer. But so be it.

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