notes from the commute

It’s all rote now – we hop on the scooter at 7:20 and waltz on to the 7:34. We walk to the third car from the rear (this has been carefully determined through many experiments in trial and error – involving much error) where we sit in a double seat on the land-side (which disappoints K as he prefers the water-side) toward the back of the car. We have to sit toward the back of the car so we aren’t too close to the sets of facing seats as the people who sit in those seats tend to be chatty. We don’t especially mind chatty folks but we’d rather not be forced to listen to their conversations.
And who sits around us? I’m going to tell you.

Across the aisle from us is The Sandwich Lady. The Sandwich Lady eats, what I’m guessing is, half of her lunch when she boards the train. For a while it was a turkey sandwich – half a turkey sandwich – and for a long time it was a baloney and American cheese sandwich, but the other day I noticed she had a liverwurst sandwich (which instantly made me want one). She’s a holdover from the early 80’s, The Sandwich Lady, and does not wear a wedding ring – though she has lots of jewelry. Her ears are pierced three times and she switches out her earrings. She has rings on most of her fingers, which I can only describe as the kinds of rings that single ladies buy for themselves. I like to imagine The Sandwich Lady laughing and smiling with her co-workers but, to tell you the truth, she seems a little sad to me. I wonder if she has her breakfast on the train so she doesn’t have to have it at home alone. I haven’t had a chance to smile at her.

Cole-Haan sits a couple of seats in front of us. Mr. Haan is a thirty-something guy who walks from an outer parking lot. I haven’t been able to see his car as we (on the scooter) are able to park right at the station – but I’ll bet it’s a nice one. Cole wears natty suits – but not too natty as to be obnoxious, and sometimes he has to put on his cuff links when he sits down on the train. It’s not easy to pull off French cuffs and links nowadays but he does it. He has beautiful brown dress shoes and a gorgeous bag from Cole-Haan. His belt is very nice too – I’ve seen it as sometimes he removes his jacket before he sits down. Coincidentally, Mr. Haan gets off the train and walks to a building just beyond my office. I’ve thought of following him as I’d like to know what he does for a living, looking so snappy like that, but I don’t wish to stalk him. Cole-Haan reads a Kindle everyday. And he drinks a Fresca from a can.

Behind us and back a couple of rows is The Couple. The Couple are older than we are and look weary when they board the train. Actually, I should say that HE looks weary, she looks ready to face the day. She has that kind of hair-do that one has a beautician wash, cut and style once a week. One does not wash that hair-do in between appointments. Despite this lapse in hair hygiene, She dresses beautifully in skirts and blouses with tasteful and expensive jewelry. He wears suits. Unremarkable suits. Their appearance is incidental. I know them because She never stops talking – from the moment they walk into the car to the moment the leave the train. She drones on and on at him. It is very rare that he interjects and she is good about keeping her voice very low but she goes on and on and on. Aren’t you amazed that She doesn’t drive me crazy? Sometimes I listen to my iPod.

The Chatty Bunch sit in the facing seats in the middle of the car. As I said: we avoid sitting too near to them as I tend to be cranky in the morning and their exuberance can be off-putting to me. Want to hear about toilet training/tennis games/sporting events/ country club/ traveling/ poor service at local restaurants/ little league/ movie that just opened? Sit near The Chatty Bunch. You just might be treated to the details surrounding a divorce or find out how to get a fabulous deal on a new car. Not for me. Don’t bother pointing it out – I realize that they are just being social and I’m a grouch. I only ever complain about them to K and was thrilled, last week, when the loudest of the Chatties showed up with a Kindle. I’m hoping he becomes absorbed in reading as I tire of hearing about his in-laws.


Anonymous said…
J'adore tes notes!
witchypoo said…
It makes me giddy to see your notes from the commute. I hope you will smile at Sandwich Lady, since you seem intimately acquainted with her breakfast/lunch.
Just de-lurking to say thanks.
Caterina said…
I wouldn't mind listening to The Chatty Bunch, not sure about every day though...

I know a couple like The Couple. Actually, I know a lot of couples like The Couple :)

And Sandwich Lady....I ♥ Sandwich Lady. I had a baloney and American cheese sandwich yesterday! Two of them as a matter of fact ♥
Amy A. said…
I had to google Kindle. I want one.

I think you Should stalk the suit guy. We all know it wouldn't be a sinister stalking, but inquiring minds need to know!

I'm smiling at the Sandwhich Lady in my heart.

You are awesome. :)
I would like to know what Sandwich Lady wears. I have one ear pierced 3 times but all I wore in the 80's was maternity clothes and sweats...oh the glamorous life of a Stay-at-home Mom.

I didn't expect that the Chatty Bunch would gave a male member.
Anonymous said…
I know exactly what you mean by the kind of rings single ladies buy. If you saw my mum on a train, well, you'd need your shades, for sure. She's THAT sparkly.

Miz S said…
I would not want to sit too close to the Chatty Bunch, either. I like to be alone and quiet in the morning.

You are quite the sharp-eyed observer to be able to see what kind of sandwich the Sandwich Lady is eating. Although I suppose you could identify the liverwurst just from the odor. I don't think I like liverwurst.
Jen said…
I'm thinking you'd be uninspired if you sat near LB on Chicago's metra. Suit, WSJ, classical music on the iPod. His tie choices might be of passing interest, but you'd never know he was an LB.
Mary said…
I'm kind of hankering after a liverwurst sandwich myself now.

Which is a bit trick at 9.51 pm.

The fact that I haven't bought liverwurst in years is beside the point.
Anonymous said…
Four of the Chatty Bunch were seated at the next table when we ate at a Mexican restaurant in Buffalo, Wyoming on Saturday night. I hope they made it back East in time for work on Monday.
Elan Morgan said…
I love your notes from the commute. I get to people watch through you.

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