Monday, September 2, 2013

The Joys of Modern Trains

I ride BART to work, the ride covers 28 miles as the crow flies and takes about 40 minutes.   On most days it's pretty uneventful and even rather pleasant, sitting in comfort and reading or napping on the way to and from work.

On other days the ride can be downright weird.  Today was weird.

It being a holiday, Labor Day, the trains were on a limited schedule.  When I arrived at the Dublin BART station there was train at the platform with about a quarter of it's doors open.  Inside were a number of "homeless" people, most of them very pungent.  I walked along the platform seeking a car with an open door and lacking fragrant crack-heads.  As I was passing about the third car with, a half dozen of the seedier denizens of the Bay Area sleeping in the seats in each car, I passed one in which one of these fine upstanding citizens and honored BART passengers was sitting spread eagled in the seat with an extremely explicit large format color pr0n magazine and his hand down his pants.  I kept walking.  

Eventually I located a relatively clean and empty car and settled in for the wait for departure.  Soon a BART employee came through the car telling everyone to leave as this train was being taken out of service.  Ah well, such is life.

I, and the fragrant brotherhood of all night train riders, wandered around on the platform, me seeking to get upwind of all of them, they talking to the air and stumbling about in a daze.  

A new train pulled into the station and I was able to locate a clean car, with the new vinyl seats and no one at all sitting in it.  Ah the joy!  I took out my iPad and began to read from The Treasury of Daily Prayer  readings for today.  Just as I was settled and reading along quietly two older Jewish ladies entered the car, that car that contained only one other passenger, me, looked around as they talked loudly of the upcoming Holy Days, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, and of course they sat in the seat adjacent to mine, all the rest being totally empty and thus not suitable for some reason and continued loudly bragging about the New Years cards they'd sent out.  

I stood up in annoyance and left the car seeking one with less chatty neighbors.  The next car back was full of normal BART riders, folk going to work and just sitting quietly reading or napping.  Perfect.

Two stations down the line though two exceptionally large people boarded the train one black lady and a hispanic man, between them I'd guess they weighed over 800 pounds, they too were loudly and animatedly talking, so you know where they had to sit.  Yes, one in the sideways facing seat in front of me and the other taking up the seat next to me, and about a third of my seat as well.  As is often the case with large women this one had at least a gallon of perfume on.  By this time I had given up trying to read and was listening to an audio book instead.  But not being able to hear the words over the loud talk of nearly a half ton of reeking blubber I switched over to SOMA FM "The Trip" http://somafm.com/thetrip/  I closed my eyes and prayed that I wouldn't suffocate before I arrived at the Embarcadero.
  
Not my worst ride ever, but certainly could have been better.  Now it's almost time to go home, I wonder what adventures with humanity await me on the train tonight...

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