This post is not technically fiction. This happened. But it’s worth retelling. This was just another MARTA ride home one day last week. Maybe it was a year ago. I don’t remember when it happened, only that it indeed happened…. this is how I recorded it in the moment:
I am trying to journal on my ride home from work, but the man sitting beside me keeps trying to have a conversation. I wish I had a book, or headphones or something in my purse to dissuade this guy from trying to chat.
He just keeps on talking! Doesn’t he see the pen in my hand? Doesn’t he GET the fact that I really don’t want to be having a conversation with him at all? Ever?
Aw hell, I can’t write anyway because the driver sucks and the train is doing the herky-jerky stop-start garbage. It makes me want to hurl, writing is making it worse. Man, when will this day be over?
The PA crackles overhead, the driver’s voice is that of an annoyed man who has had a long day. “If you are wondering why the train keeps starting and stopping like that, it is because someone is leaning on the doors. Please do not lean on the doors.
…Actually, please don’t breathe on the doors, don’t go anywhere near the doors! Don’t look at ‘em funny, because they’ll know.”
The train glides forward and then jerks to a stop.
“See, now like that. That’s somebody leaning on the doors again. If you want to get wherever it is you’re going, please stay away from the doors. Don’t even think about them! Thank you for Riding MARTA …DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT TOUCHING THE DOORS! – and have a nice day.”
By now, the entire rail car is rolling in laughter. We are all cracking up & telling each other “Don’t even look at ‘em!”
The train continued smoothly southbound to Arts Center where it began the stop-start jerking once more.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I’ve got some good news, and some bad news….” Comes the same crackling tired voice over the PA.
Passengers are already snickering.
“First, the good news is that there is a train right in front of this one, and all the people are getting onto that one. The bad news is that we are tailgating another train. All this stopping and starting, well, it’s not the doors this time. It’s because I want this idiot in front of me to get out the way. At least we’ll have a nice comfortable ride, and he’s got a crush load of people. Thank you for riding MARTA, thank you for your patience, have a good evening, and please continue your respect of the doors. “
Apparently, the train ahead of us did indeed get a move on, because we didn’t have to do much more stopping & starting or any additional amusing PA announcements until 5 Points…
“Ladies and Gentlemen, the next station is Five Points. The doors on your right will open first. Unless you need elevator access it is just STUPID to try to exit to the Right. Wait a minute and exit on the doors on the left like all the experienced riders do. All those people trying to get in on the train will help you out if you really do need to exit to the right. Believe me. Thank you for riding MARTA, and have a wonderful evening.”
Finally the man trying to talk to me gets off the train (He exited to the right. Big surprise.)
I don’t even want to get my journal back out so instead I am texting this story in a series of notes to my friend Julie. I almost make her cry when I wrote about the fake egg conspiracy at IHOP… but that’s a different story altogether…
Man, I hope I get that train driver again.