Thursday, August 24, 2006

8 million stories in the city

Or rather 5.3 Million stories in the GTA.

Tuesday morning hopped off the Bloor-Danforth subway at St. George and made my way through the crowd up the stairs. Near the top I realized a southbound was waiting on the next level and there seemed to be space, well standing room at least, left. Bounded the last two steps and made a mad dash into the tail end of the last car before the train whistle had gone. Not that I was in a hurry to get to work or anything but a southbound train with space is a rarity on my morning journey.

Got on the train and didn't have to jostle with the work bound crew for space and a railing to grab onto. I also had a clear path to the door which was good cause I hate getting stuck in the middle of a subway car and having to push through a million people to get to the door.

Looked like it could be a good day.

I was near the back of the car close to the last door and suddenly I realized that there was a stream of people walking steadily and purposefully past me towards seats in the front of the train. The first two passed by and I thought oh maybe the conductor just needs to get to the window on that side but then more joined them. Then I realized wait a minute the conductor usually isn't in the last car and that side with the seats is not the side to the platform. Then I noticed the tapping. tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. Steady, loud sort of rhythmic but getting frantic tapping.

My eyes spun and I realized the whole back of the train had cleared out except for one woman. The tapping was the results of her efforts with a water bottle on the back of the subway car's window. She seemed oblivious to everything around her solely focused on the tunnel behind us. Hmmm the tapping was getting more frantic and by her antics and the antics of the other passengers I could tell she was how shall we say this ummm a bit off, a bit disturbed in the head possibly.

But wait a minute. This wasn't your typical shabby, smelly, crazy eyed lunatic. From my view of her back she was dressed pretty nicely, Bay Street type office stylish, matching designer handbag, heels. If it wasn't for the incessant tapping and the fact that she had lain out what looked to be some of her bag's contents papers and the like on the floor at the back of the train I would have probably thought she was the typical secretary or exec type I see every morning. Actually maybe she was who knows.

Was trying not to stare but hoping to catch a glance at her face. She turned around, eyes looked a bit out of it and the biggest clue to her mindstate was the untidiness of her hair; her blonde hair was unkempt falling all over her face in little tangles.

Anyway not sure what happened next. She kept tapping, I left the train a few stations later.

Just wonder who she was and what was her story and what happened next. You never can tell can you. She might have got some bad news at home or even on her way to work. News that pushed her over the edge. She might have lost a love one, been jilted by a lover, been in trouble or fired at her job, lost all her money, found out she was dying or maybe she just plain forgot to take her medication. Who knows.

Oh well like I said there are 5.3 million stories in the GTA.

15 comments:

Honest said...

Despite the hassle public transportation can be an interesting place to people watch.

Luke Cage said...

In my sick mind, and probably from remnants of my days of riding the NYC Subway system, I thought you were going to say that she was going to turn around and have a male part or something or just relieving herself. Sorry man. Hey, look at the title of your story. I know that all too well!

obifromsouthlondon said...

8 million stories in the city/it's a pity

I know the drill. riding the tube to work everymorning brings the worst out of anyone. once stood next to this guy who spoke to himself the whole journey. dressed up in a suit, briefcase and all. u've gotta love the rat race

princessdominique said...

Yes I could write a book on the things I've seen on the subway. I actually think there was a shortlived series on New York Subways.

Rose said...

Wow, you can imagine many things about people and why on subways...wonder why no one check to see if she knew where she was going...

Mad Bull said...

Interesting story... I have had cause to wonder about others in just the same fashion too....

Gela's Words said...

Yeah, I always wonder about a person's story when I see them on the road obviously gone. In Ja, you hear of cases where one person is roaming the streets, mad as shad and the family is some well known high society family.

Dr. D. said...

Life's troubles can have various effects on folks JDid. She could well have not taken, or simply could not afford to purchase her medication.

Your description of running to catch subway trains brings back memories of myself on the 'Tube' in London. How I hated that means of transport....city living really sucks in many respects. I often wonder if God really intended for so many people to live in such confined spaces all competing for what one radio call in programmer here refers to as 'scrace benefits and spolis'!

Tek it east in TDot.

Amadeo said...

My city dwelling mind (especially since I dumped my car and returned to mass transit) has one thought...that means there were seats back there!

Brotha Buck said...

sounds like the question to bear a novel.

Quel said...

Sounds like she was on them narcotics.

notyouraverage.... said...

The joys of the [red] [rocket]. This is why my goal is to be within walking distance of work. Yes, I will pass (many) people that need 'help', living in (eventually) the downtown core - but at least I won't have to be worried about being trapped on a subway car with them - 50 feet below the surface!

Melody said...

Who pushed her, when she was close 2 tha edge, when she was tryin' not ta lose her head. Like a jungle sometimes that makes me wonda how ah keep from goin' unda. Maybe she pushed herself like: "This situation is drivin' mi insane, but if ah just try a bit harder . . ." There, but 4 de grace of God, go U, or I, or . . .

Stunner said...

There are a lot of persons out there who for some reason, work, family, health, etc that just couldn't keep it together and unfortunately go right over the edge. It's a terrible fact of life.

Leon said...

Weird. You get all types in public transport.