No way I’m going to make it. The 8:36 would have to be sitting in the station for ten minutes which is not going to happen. I’m late getting into my car by at least ten minutes. I should go to the dry cleaners who have had the pants they hemmed for me since August. That would be a good use of my time. But somehow, I can’t believe I’m going to miss my train. So I reach the on ramp to the TZ Bridge and look! It’s empty! A chance, I say. A chance.
Half way down the ramp we turn a corner and…brake lights. OK. It’s a usual Monday. I can get through this. Are you kidding? Speed demoning and tailgating dangerously just to make a train? Why do I set myself up for this sort of thing? Slow down. Life’s too short.
What will I do if I don’t make the train? I’ll sit 20 minutes and write my thoughts. I’ll take the milk train that leaves late and then on top of that stops at every local stop and takes 20 minutes longer than any normal express train. I’ll live the life of a free man, unfettered by my inner Nazi.
I park the car. I won’t make the train, but I will hear it. That’s the worst. It will race by me to the station as I walk, stop and let people on, and then go on its merry way.
I could make it. I have 6 minutes. I could probably run a 6 minute mile if I had to. If someone was holding a gun to my shoes. But I have a kind of sore ankle, like shin splints, only it’s ankle splints from walking weird in a new pair of shoes last week. Damn, it takes me a long time to break new shoes in. I could hobble-run, my briefcase held like a football, dodging cars and pedestrians to breathlessly slobber on my train mates, wheezing and holding my sore ankle and crying Mama. It could happen. And if it did, I would make the train and not be late for work.
On the other hand, just change the context. Change it. You have the power, right now.
What’s that sound? Probably the train coming up from behind. No. No. I think it’s that house’s dryer vent.
A tweeting! Is that the train doors opening and closing? No, a truck is backing up.
I will not hurry. I will put one step in front of another. I dare not look up from my feet because they are plodding along trustingly, one foot in from of the other on asphalt. If I look up, I will want to run.
This is good. This is a rhythm of sanity. This is a freedom of sorts. Don’t look up. Time was given me at birth. It’s about how I spend it.
Prepare yourself. It will come from behind. It will sound like a train. Really, if it comes and I’m only a few yards away I will sprint up the steps and hurt my ankle. I know I will. That would be too much temptation.
Slow down further then. No chance of making it if you just slow down.
The whirring comes from behind. It might be my train. No, it’s not mine. No train is mine. It is a train. It is the 8:36am. It streams past me and stops. I can see it stop up ahead. I have no quickening in my step. My reasoning mind knows I am too far from it to even run and make it. Eyes back to the road. I will sit and write on the quiet platform. Is there a place to get tea nearby? There is no need to take this train. I’m as free as I want to be. And the rest of the day will likewise be free, easy and under my flow of control.
The doors tweet and shut. Off it goes. I have beaten the train.
too many of those days in my past… To the Conqueror, congratulations!
This was a fun one. As I read it I saw one of those film shorts with
the internal voice speaking against all the external sound that you mention.
I’m glad you beat that train.