June 8, 2018

The Late Train

I was coming home from downtown the other night on the late train...I wasn’t doing nothing downtown but walking around and hitting up a couple of dark bars and trying to look like I belonged...the darker, the better...I don’t take the train much (I’m usually a bus man) so I was not blasé at the experience like most train riders are...the downtown station has people going somewhere, people trying to go somewhere, people going nowhere, and people going nowhere and not caring about it...an old black man was blowing the sax (not very well) but I threw some money in his case anyway... he looked like he could use a drink...the flower shops and newsstands were shutting down for the night...I stumbled onto the right train and slumped in the seat...beaten down by another day...we started rolling...the gleaming buildings shouting affluence and power; something I never had...
Instead of the train being crowded with people coming back from their precious nine to five jobs, the car I was in had only a few passengers in it which only increased the isolation factor...nobody rides the train at night unless you have to...you can feel alone on a train car full of people, or you can feel it even more on an almost empty one...yet, the two types of isolation are different...as we left the downtown station, I looked out the window at all the buildings; buildings that still had lights on for various reasons...security to keep people like me out or just as likely, people working late...real people doing real work...cleaning the empty offices that were jammed hours ago...we pulled away farther from the downtown area and got into the surrounding areas...here, the buildings were not so tall and you could see an occasional figure through the windows as we passed...they looked to me like ghostly figures, standing alone in the stark fluorescent light...what kind of lives do they lead?...I almost felt sorry for them, but they probably had a better life than I did...why are they there this time of the night?...who or what do they go home to?...the questions drifted through my mind as we wobbled down the track, the train blowing its horn at nobody in particular.  
As we got into an obviously poorer area of the city (my part of town), we also passed many buildings were abandoned, some obviously with boarded up doors and windows, others that had areas that were covered up with tall weeds, like some kind of scraggly beard that had grown on an old man down on his luck...these buildings were down on their luck too... they were illuminated only by a harsh security light that also reflected the broken shards of glass on the ground...me a romantic?...but I wondered what those buildings once were, who worked there, what company owned it, and furthermore, what had happened that caused the once bustling workplace to rust, deteriorate, or collapse...maybe it was a shift in the neighborhood, or it was an outsourcing of the jobs that the people once held...I thought the buildings looked sad... an old abandoned building or house always looks so sad to me...it has it in spades...probably nobody cared but me...it sure looked like it.

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