December 4th, 2008

summer reading

Smile Time

This morning I left the house with a smile because, despite the fact that I had admittedly dawdled a bit more than I should have, I was leaving in good time to catch my bus.

When I went to pull my car into the street, the smile faded.  There was a line of cars instead of the relatively empty lane I was expecting.  I live near a train line that's going to be used for a commuter service within a few months.  My bus stop is on the other side of it.  After some minutes of hanging around, the people at the front of the line realized there was no train coming.  Testing and maintenance was being performed one stop down and, for some reason known only to railroad experts, our intersection had the lights flashing and the rails down.  At first slowly, then with increasing speed and confidence, people began wending their way between the rails and back on to the road to freedom (or work, more like).  As my turn came, I took an extra look each way and thought, "My husband will kill me all over again if I die doing this."  You see, his mom was killed in a train collision at an intersection where there were no stopper rails or flashing lights.  Trains are, understandably, a touchy subject in our home.

However, I made it through and realized I was still early enough to catch the bus.  The smile returned.

A moment later, it left abruptly once more as the bus I was on my way to catch pulled out into traffic ahead of me.  "What's this?" I wondered.  I chased it down and tried to catch it, but it got to the stop early and it left the stop early.  There's very little more frustrating to me than a mode of public transport that comes early.  Late you can understand.  Late is most often unavoidable.  Late the driver can't really fix.  Early, on the other hand, is easy enough for a driver to fix.  All the driver must do is wait a few moments at a stop and let the clock catch up.  This one didn't, so I had to wait for the next bus.

The next one was full, but that was all right because they're nearly always full these days, so that wasn't what annoyed me.  What annoyed me was a woman who talked for the entire commute.  Again, that's generally all right.  It was just that this woman had one of those voices that niggles its way down your ear canal and goes immediately to that spot in your brain that makes you want to take up arms and kick some ass.  Or scream.  Or beg to hear nails on a chalkboard instead.  I looked around and found there was no empty seat elsewhere.  Thus, I did the wise thing and instead of leaping across the aisle and slapping my hand over her mouth, I put on the iPod and pulled out a book.  It worked well enough that the smile would've been back were I not about 10 minutes behind schedule by the time I arrived at my building.

Further delays had me grinding my teeth while a person hopped on to the elevator *just* as the doors were closing, causing the doors to re-open, pause, then start to close again, only to have the process repeat when another person hopped on, then another, then another.  The last guy hopped on with a cup of coffee in his hand.  As the doors went to close on him, they caught him and his cup of coffee with a jolt strong enough to send about 2/3rds of that coffee out of his cup and onto him, the elevator doors, and the elevator floor.  After a pause, he decided to inform the security guard that a mop was required and exited the car. 

I thought, "Now there's a guy having a worse morning than me". 

The smile was back. 

Ah, schadenfreude:  it's one of life's most guilty pleasures, isn't it?