Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I am Placid

I've been practicing being placid the past couple of days.  Last night as I was on the train on the way home, our conductor Tom (remember, I ride the same train, same car, every night, so I know him) announced that there had been an accident in the Salem tunnel.  We were stopped in the middle of the marsh between Chelsea and Lynn, where we sat for about half an hour.  I listened to my ipod and worked on some writing ("Cool!  More time to work on a blog topic!") Eventually we pulled into Lynn station so we could get off the train and get on shuttle busses to Salem.  Hundreds of us stood outside for almost another half an hour, waiting for a bus. ("At least C is home with the kids, so I don't have to worry about hurrying home.  I'll let the others get on first.")  Finally, we piled onto a bus and started winding our way through Lynn, Swampscott, Salem and on to Beverly.  I listened to my ipod and looked out the window, enjoying seeing the roast beef joints and physical therapy storefronts of Lynn, comparing them to the quaint pubs and bakeries of Salem.  ("I haven't seen sights like this in a while.  I should come back and take some pictures!")

We finally got out at Beverly Depot, and walked over to an empty train parked there.  The conductor wasn't sure whether the train would be heading outbound (home), or inbound.  We stood around on the platform and waited . . .   No one seemed to know what was going on.  I called Kathleen and talked for a while . . .  No, this train would be heading inbound, we should go back to the other track to catch an outbound train.  We waited some more . . .  There was some rumbling in the crowd . . .  I called Heidi ("I got a chance to talk to my sisters without interruptions!") Finally, the outbound train arrived, and the conductors announced it was bound for Rockport.  Half of the waiting crowd yelled "Yay!" and climbed aboard.  The other half moaned, and kept on waiting (me included).

At this point it was three hours after I had left North Station on my normally-45-minute ride home.  Finally, another outbound train arrived.  I knew right away it was my train because . . . conductor Tom opened the door and stepped out!  This was the very same train I had debarked about  two hours earlier!! I sat back down in the very same seat I had been warming while in the marsh.  In the time it took for them to get everyone off the trains, into shuttle busses, through three towns and cooled off on the platform, they had cleared the tunnel and let the trains through.  Tom shook his head as we got on; I chuckled and sat down and looked out the window because: I was placid.

How could I be so placid?  One of the phone calls I made explains why.  Heidi and I decided that we kind of miss being bored.  With jobs and kids and pets and spouses and everything else, there is definitely no time to get bored.  "Remember when we used to get bored?"  She asked.  "Oh, yes! Wasn't it great?  Some day I want to be bored again.  Have enough time to do all the things I want to do, until I run out of stuff and get bored.  *sigh* I remember being bored."  She told me about her friend with two young kids who did a catering job recently.  They wanted someone to just stand behind the buffet table and keep an eye on it.  The other waitresses were confused why they would be asked to just stand there, but Heidi's friend happily volunteered -- just stand there and do nothing, talk to nobody? No deadline?  No runny noses or why's?  Ahhhh, thank you!  It's like a little vacation!  I'll pay you so I just stand here by myself kind of half-smiling!
These days, I actually relish the opportunity to be completely still.  No I-have-to's or I-really-should-be's.  Mind you, it was hard to let it all go, but once I did, I was . . . placid.


Sarah Clapp said...

OH GOD, I totally don't miss that part of the train commute. Yikes! Although, I've traded it in for sucky traffic and clutch knee. Almost 3 hours home on Friday. Glad you were able to find some peace.

Missives From Suburbia said...

I just had this thought today as I was driving home from the grocery store, with a sleeping toddler in the back. For once, my brain was still and quiet, and I thought, "Hm. I remember when I used to have this kind of quiet around me all the time and I got bored. What an ASS I was!"

*sigh* A nice, long commute would be a good thing sometimes.

Christina said...

I know, right? I used to watch HOURS of TV, too. Remember the Thursday night lineup on NBC?

I really, really, try to see the commute as quiet time for myself, although sometimes it's really really hard.