I went downtown this morning to run a few errands. Trips like this can be an odd mix of experiences, and today's was no exception. When I got off the train, I bumped into a former co-worker, one of the few people I really liked at a temp job I had for a while last year. We walked and chatted until our paths diverged. It was a pleasant surprise to see her.
My errands were routine and uneventful. I got back to the train station a little bit early, so I sat on a bench, reading the New Yorker and listening to jazz on my iPod. It was relaxing until I noticed a woman yelling in front of me. At first I tuned her out, then she stopped walking and kept yelling. I looked up. She was pointing at my Cubs jacket, yelling "Cubs suck!" Her little boy was imitating her. They were wearing White Sox hats. I responded, "At least the Cubs are winning some games." I went back to ignoring them.
(For those of you who don't follow baseball, the White Sox currently have the worst record of all Major League teams, after winning only 1/3 of their games this season. The Cubs may not have stellar stats right now, but at least they've won most of their recent games, unlike the Sox.)
I looked past them, noticing extra police, messages on the electronic display at the head of each platform along the lines of "Due to recent events, you may notice additional security measures....," and someone being interviewed by a TV news crew.
A few minutes later, I walked over to the platform where my train would depart. The electronic display for that platform listed all the usual stops for a non-express train. The display for the next platform was a little different. It listed only the first stop on the line: 35th St. At the bottom, it said "Welcome, Bobby Rush!" That train left as I waited for the doors to open on my train. I got on early and found a seat. The loudmouth Sox fan and her boy walked past me. He yelled "Cubs suck!" again, but I ignored him.
The train started rolling. When we reached 35th St., there was quite a scene: a high school marching band, a big tent, lots of police and streets closed off, several TV news crews. I asked the conductor if this was the official dedication for the recently opened station. He said, "You got it."
On the other side of the tracks, the Cell was quiet. No White Sox home game today.
I watched the scenery roll by, as my brain pondered a random stream of thoughts inspired by the last few hours.
* We passed the scene of the explosion from "Source Code" and I was grateful that it was fiction.
* What did those high school marching band kids think of all the hoopla? Was it cool for them, or were they just happy to be on a field trip?
* Last, but not least - why do some sports fans find it necessary to be rude and hostile towards anyone who is not a fan of their team?
I don't know about you, but I prefer my train rides without unprovoked and unsolicited hostile comments. "Live and let live" is how I'd rather have it - in sports rivalries and transit trips. Not being under the cloud of possible terrorist threats would make the trip even better.
It felt good to get off at 95th St. and let it all roll away with the departing train.