This morning, in what appears to be the warmest early morning in years, it makes complete sense for my lovely 6:18 green chariot to be at the station ready to board passengers at 6:05.
Much unlike the evasive train that hides whenever there’s a cold weather advisory and thinks we don’t notice.
It’s good to know trains can also have multiple personalities.
As I walk past Steve, he starts singing Jingle Bells.
“Great weather we’re having!” he calls out to me.
“Yeah, there’s some rain but I’ll take it!” I smile.
It’s the first time this year that he’s actually outside of the train to greet people.
Steve goes on to add that it’s supposed the be this kind of warmer weather for the duration of the week, even in Buffalo.
For a brief moment, Baby Lidz empathizes for the children of Cheektowaga and North Tonawanda that might actually have to attend school this winter.
In the present moment, Big Lidz realizes the milder weather has some very pragmatic implications.
I can get some exercise on my lunch break and walk to McDonald’s or Popeye’s.
Fried chicken for breakfast is not beneath me.
As I end our conversation, I realize it’s so warm out that I don’t mind walking beside the train some more instead of immediately ducking inside to take a seat.
I remember the early days of commuting, where I was terrified to pick a seat that happened to be someone else’s.
Seat selection is a pretty big deal.
It really does set the tone for the day.
It’s the second biggest decision I make in morning.
The first one involves whether or not today is the day I call in sick with type 2 pink eye.
For those reading this blog for educational purposes;
make sure you specify and use type 2–it’s contagious.
Moving along, when you board the train in Hamilton at 6:10 in the morning, most train cars resemble this:
This picture isn’t quite accurate because my walk along has me in the new car at the back of the train. Or the front on the train depending on which way you’re headed.
Back in the day, as a new commuter, I used to sit exactly in the middle of the train, first level, mid cabin.
This cabin was closest to the tunnel at Oakville station, whereby switching trains meant the annoying process of walking down, up and around to switch tracks.
Now you can literally fall out of the train at Oakville and the connecting train waits directly across.
I secretly wonder if the Hamilton 6:48 and the Oakville 7:05 are related.
They have the same stature and reliability.
Perhaps they are kissing cousins at the very least.
Back when I started commuting in December 2015 (yes I will lie on a resume and say I have 2 years of experience) I wanted to make sure my seat in Hamilton was one that wasn’t anyone else’s.
When people walked past, I’d make sure my bag wasn’t being obstructive, and would also sacrifice comfort to ensure anyone sitting near me had ample space.
Even walking inside the train, I would say “excuse me” or “thank you” when someone let me pass them.
I was eager to please.
I was humble.
I wanted to embrace my new commuter culture.
I had hope and was optimistic.
Nowadays I’ve developed a more “laissez-faire” approach to my commuter lifestyle.
In present day; January 2017, a brand new kind of commuter me has emerged:
That’s my bag and yes it requires two seats.
Should anyone inquire about sitting within my general vicinity, I apologize on behalf of my friend “Brune” because she’s an elective mute, quite rude, and doesn’t enjoy the company of strangers.
She comes by these characteristics earnestly due to her Francophone upbringing.
I don’t even get to Brune’s tragic backstory before people disappear, rolling their eyes, grunting and muttering obscenities as they walk past.
I didn’t realize how many commuters were French!
Brune is the new kind of commuter.
She has assisted me in a variety of potentially social situations.
She’s an unassuming seat stealer, and doesn’t even have to pay for a ticket.
My hope for 2017 is that Brune will be appreciated for the role she plays during my morning commute.
Vive la différence!