Today I made a change in my routine, a bold move for a commuter. I moved down the platform and got on to a different car than I usually do. I don't know why I did it! Stop interupting the story! I just did it. Something or someone whispered in my ear..."Not today John. Not this car. Not today". It might have been the woman whose shoes I keep trying to photograph cuz she keeps putting them on the seat, but I can't say for sure. Anyway, the point is I moved and I sat down and all effing hell broke loose. The guy across from me was putting batteries into a rubber rat, which he then hid under a scarf. At the next stop, two women got on, screamed at the rat (and I mean really effing loudly screamed), decorated the seats with Halloween decorations, and began passing out candy, cupcakes and bracelets. Naturally I struck up a conversation.
So, wait, you're dressed as your friend?
Who is she dressed like?
So you're both dressed as her?
Yes, although she doesn't really look like herself today. Twix?
No thanks. Why does your bag say happy birthday?
Well, it's also all three of our birthdays?
So its a Halloween and birthday party?
Well, it's mostly his birthday. Cupcake?
No, really, thank you, that's very kind, but...
Yes, thank you, I think I will.
This went on for what seemed like 7 or 8 hours but was in reality only about 3 minutes. After they hung up the spongebob pumpkin, the candy filled pumpkin and the spooky garland, there wasn't much more to say. I wished them a Happy Halloween, and told them that if they had room for more guests at Christmas that I was probably going to be in town and I was happy to bring a side dish.
In conclusion, I will say this. Some people fight the commute. They tuck in deep, earbuds and sleepmasks firmly in place, and do their best to block it out, kind of like I do whenever I hear Michael Buble music. Then there are these folks. The Happy Idiots who know that life is short and if you have to sit on a train every day of your effing life, you might as well hang up some spongebob decorations now and then. I'm a little afraid of what might happen if I make my move to this car permanent. I might get sucked into this vortex of happines and mayhem never to be seen again. Commuters, unlike Democrats, don't like change. We like routine. Then again, we also like cupcakes...
So I'm on my usual morning train, not really a peaker in the sense that it gets me into the city around 9:40am, but a peaker in the sense that Metro North charges me the peak fare as if this was a hard core rush hour train, which is an interesting point, because according to Metro North, the rush "hour" or peak travel time in the morning and evening are actually two 4 hour windows where they get to charge a premium fare.The opportunity for sticking it to the average Joe is obvious here. Metro North is a little short on cash and all of sudden my 10:15 am train becomes a peaker. Boom! The down economy at work!
Anyway, Im on my normal train and a regular guy, a guy I've seen many times before, gets on and sits across from me. This is a guy I'll call "The Package", like "The Situation", but in Westchester, not Jersey. I've never called him that before. I just made it up right here as I was typing, but he needs a name, and that name is The Package. And the reason for this is simple. The guy has a really nice package. No joke. I mean I'm not going to wax poetic about it, compare it to a summers day or tell my therapist, but in the straight up, no shit world of commuting, every once in a while stuff just jumps out at you as being exceptional, beyond the pale, better that average, and, well, that's what this is. When you look at the dregs of the commuting world day in and day out, the humps of society drooling on themselves as they catch up on their sleep, or trying to get one more misearable day out of that exhausted Van Heusen shirt, well, a guy in a nice suit and a handsome package stands out. Literally.
So, good for The Package. I mean, we all have a package, but if you'rs is testing the sewing on a fitted Brioni suit, well god bless you. My package barely gets to know my suits. For all I know, my suits think I'm a woman. Who cares if The Package tells his taylor with a wink, "just a little higher on the inseam, Boyo". All the better to see you with Grandma. If I had that package I'd do the same goddamn thing. So the next time I see The Package on the train, I'll take a quick look. Nothing to write home about or get the stink eye from, just a glance in his general direction, to remind myself that there are exceptions in life. People and places and "things" that proudly stick their neck out once in a while to the betterment of us all. And in case you're keeping score, The Package seems like the kind of guy who leans to the right, but The Package's package definately goes to the left.