It took me two songs to get out of the car. The first, Billy Joel's “Captain Jack”, was spent debating the benefits of leaving behind a cold, refreshing Coke, a bag of sunflower seeds, and the car roofs ability to divert the rain to other (more desirable) places. The next, Ray Charles' painful rendition of “You Are So Beautiful”, was only half over before I decided that my search for an umbrella I already knew I didn't actually own was probably futile. I decided to occupy the next half of the song searching for something I did have access to which could act as an umbrella. Unfortunately, all of my belongings have little imagination and this search proved as useless as the first. By this time, Ray was nearly passing out from admiring my beauty. Knowing I only had a few measures left, I slapped a handful of sunflower seeds into my mouth, assured myself that I wouldn't be locked out of my car upon returning, and stepped out.The rain wasn't much more than a drizzle and I didn't even feel the need to run. The train station entrance was a huge ceramic arc which reminded me of a wheelchair accessible Cave of Wonders. Despite repeating to the ticket machine several times that I was indeed a “diamond in the rough” and related to Aladdin (a distant cousin on my mother's side), I still ended up paying $1.25 for a slip of paper stating I was headed southbound. Despite these minor setbacks, I still felt good about having gotten out of the car in the first place and cheerfully headed down the escalator.The train ride itself was uneventful. Usually I'd ignore my surroundings and bury my nose in a book, but I didn't have one. This was the reason I was on the train in the first place.Every stop along the MTA's Red Line is done to a different motif. The stop I'd boarded from was a shrine to industrial decadence. That included machined metal sculptures and tile mosaics of dread-filled, faceless factory workers. Fitting tribute to the American workplace.I got off at the Seventh Street Station. Here the walls were chock full of mariachi hats, corn husks, and tired looking farmers wearing over-alls; the “faux Mexican art” of Chicanos who have long replaced true memory with textbook fabrications. I took the steps to the exit, which only slightly smelled of piss and disinfectant, and stepped into downtown. The cold air felt good.
The book I'd come for had been checked out ten minutes before I'd arrived. Typical.That only threw me for a few minutes. After intense brainstorming I developed a strategy. I would choose a small book, minimizing the amount of effort expended lugging it onto the train. More specifically, it had to fit in my left jacket pocket. I browsed the stacks for a while and came up with nothing interesting. Not a single one looked appealing (there was one with a giant nipple on the cover, but it turned out to be a self help book). Almost out of time, I decided to tour the second floor.
The train took a few minutes to arrive. Two sheriff deputy's boarded the same car as me. They seemed aggravated and were having a heated discussion about something or the other. It made me uncomfortable knowing they both had a gun. I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out the book I'd found on the way out, “The Girl Who Played Go.” It was some sort of historical novel set in pre-war Japan, translated from French. It later turned out to be awful, but I enjoyed its refuge on that train.ppppp
As soon as I got in my car, two things began to happen. First, Dave Grohl strummed the opening chords of “Hey, Johnny Park!” Then, timed to the start of my engine, the rain began again. I wondered why God is such a sarcastic son-of-a-bitch. I threw the book in the back, turned on my windshield wipers, and couldn't help a big grin.