The train time tween here's home and the shithole formerly known as St. Louis is besting itself every week. Heading down Thurs. was pedestrian--no just-released-dudes in Joliet-issue sweatsuits trying to smoke on the train--just a seat share with a woman engrossed in a bodice-ripper paperback which must have been salacious because everytime I would so much as turn my head towards her she'd shift the book away. I was just trying to see over her to the kid doing his Photoshop retouching homework, diligently attempting to follow the 72 pt. Helvetica instructions typed over the unkindly lit portrait of a woman: "smooth chin whiten teeth". He did; eventually making her way back teeth gleam incandescently, her chin looked like Richard Dreyfuss' mashed potato mountain from Close Encountersonce he finished with it.
This time, rather unmercifully, there was a masse of people who brought nothing to do on the five and a half hour ride except their cell phones. The woman next to me called no less than 16 people, and after each would give me a synopsis, "He's going to call me back" or "No one was home." Later, after a half dozen abortive attempts to change her outgoing message (my favorite: "All y'all leave your message", which she scrapped) I offered her my library book, which I haven't read but she gave me a synopsis of the first few chapters--which she told to me with the sort of breathless recounting one saves for gossip; I wasn't expecting Coast of Chicago to be so dishy--now I am doubly excited.
While we had been in the ticket line, another passenger tried rather valiantly to pick her up. He had a deep fake tan and smelled hungover. For the duration of the ride, he would cruise her, hit her with blunt compliments for which there is no rejoinder and promises of a shared sippy cup of Bud Lite up in the treats car. He had no game and by Lincoln was resorting to high-fives upon his return from the bathroom, which is a presumptive and gross burden to put on a friend, let alone a stranger after you have just drunkenly pissed in a tiny, filthy, moving room that is only differentiated from an open sewer by it's employ of a stainless steel "mirror" and a little sign prohibiting you from flushing needles and diapers.