I’m headed back to Nashville today after spending the week in Chicago but had to share just ONE MORE Chicago train adventure story with you all!
One of the cool things about riding the Metra train in Chicago, instead of the CTA trains, is that you can drink alcohol while riding and it’s totally normal. In fact, most business men and business women will crack open a beer or single bottle of wine on their way home from a hard day of work – especially on Fridays. I would do this sometimes, typically only if I rode it home with my friend Heidi who was always down to drink with me. But on this particular day, it was a Tuesday and I wasn’t going to be one of those people who drank so early in the week. (I was young back then and cared quite a bit about how I thought people saw me. Today I’d most definitely partake in a drink any day of the week because LIGHTEN UP YOU GOTTA LIVE A LITTLE.)
It had been a crazy day at work on this particular day though and I’d caught the last rush hour train home, at the last possible second (aka- I had to sprint to jump on, aka – I was completely out of breath by the time the train doors closed). So just picture me breathing hard, gasping for air as I walked further onto the train car, straining to see if there were any seats left or if I’d be forced to stand for the 20 minute ride. I looked all the way to the back of the car and could see a younger looking guy, probably college age-ish, sitting next to the window, with a tiny spot available next to him. I hurried my way back and sat down before anyone could take it and then focused all of my effort on slowing my breathing, hoping I wasn’t sweating too bad and drawing attention to myself.
About 3 minutes later, as I sat there with my eyes closed – attempting to relax from a hectic day – I felt the guy next to me move. I opened my eyes and watched him reach into his backpack and pull out a can of beer. Lucky bastard, I could totally use a drink right now, I thought. And just as I was imagining the nice big glass of wine I might enjoy when I got home, the guy went to open his beer and IT SPRAYED EVERYWHERE. I don’t know if this guy shook it beforehand or what but it went all over the window, all over the floor, and yes- completely soaked the both of us. I shrieked and he immediately started yelling, “OH MY GOD I’M SO SORRY! I’M SO SORRY!” If I’d been trying to not draw any attention to myself before, I could forget about that task now as everyone on the train was staring at us. I kept telling him it was okay – you know, as I literally wrung out my top, and he just kept yelling “I AM SO SORRY!” He eventually quieted down as he pulled out an extra t-shirt from his backpack (because that’s what you keep in your backpack when you’re in college, right? A spare shirt?) and started to wipe down not just the chair but also my arm. Then he said,
“Oh man, this was my last beer – otherwise I’d give you one. This backpack was full of beers a few hours ago, if only you’d met me then.”
Oh buddy. Yes, if only you’d sprayed half a can of Coors Light all over me a few hours ago – you’re right. That really would have made things better. He continued:
“You can still drink it, ya know. After it’s spilled like this.”
I just looked at him and wondered if he meant he could still drink his beer or if he was encouraging me to suck the beer out of my shirt, but regardless I knew it wasn’t worth getting into… not after everything we’d just been through. I just continued smiling and nodding and he eventually stopped talking. We rode not even 3 minutes in complete silence and soaked clothes when he took a big slurp out of his can – which was the worst thing he could’ve done because it sent me into a laughing fit. Oh yes, here I was – for the second time – on the train, this time with beer soaked clothes, laughing so hard I had drool coming out of my mouth. And then he started laughing too – like hard. (And let’s be honest, it’s probably because this guy had been knockin’ em back for a few hours and anything would’ve been funny.) So for the next 10 minutes, it was just me and this dude, both covered in alcohol, laughing so hard we were snorting.
I’d like to say this story ended with the entire train car laughing along with us, all of us eventually breaking out into song together like that scene in My Best Friend’s Wedding, but no. No one else laughed… it was just me and this guy, laughing. Until he got off the train and I was then just left laughing by myself.
And that’s what happened that day.