The Farmer and I are on vacation. I would never want to leave you without something to read and therefore I'm offering you Stale Stories in my absense.
This is a story entitled "The Train Ride From Hell". It was originally published on May 8. 2008.
I made a promise to myself when I started blogging that I wouldn't swear. I criticize other people for doing it and it's my firm belief that we can say whatever needs to be said without profanity. However, I need to ask the question, is the word hell considered a swear word? If it is I'm going to ask for special dispensation for that word.
A week ago the farmer asked me to go downtown to Chicago to take care of some business at one of the banks. I was more than happy to do that for him but it was April 28th and it was snowing. What the hell?
And I'm going to have to use the word again and say, that was a train ride from hell.
It's probably not what you think. The train was very modern and comfortable and the ride into the city was just a little over an hour. What could go wrong? Here's what went wrong. I boarded the train and took a seat and just behind me was a young man in his mid-20's, about my son's age. He sat down facing me about three rows away. He had multiple piercings and those large ear plugs in his lobes and he probably had tattoos. That's not a problem, I don't judge people by that and anyway my own kids have tattoos and piercings. The only reason I mention it is because he was in a dress shirt with a tie draped around his neck and that seemed odd and out of place with all the piercings.
He told the conductor that he was on his way into the city to make a presentation and my guess is that he was going for a job interview or to pitch for some freelance work. It was apparent that he was nervous, very nervous. It took him at least five attempts to get the tie tied correctly. His artist's portfolio was propped up on the seat in front of him and he opened it and reviewed the material, closed it, opened it again. He repeated this several times. It was obvious he was practicing in his mind.
Here's where the hell comes in.
All of a sudden I felt all those years of mommy/nurturing messages welling up inside of me. I looked at the young man and silently repeated, "It's fine. You're prepared. You're gonna be great!"
What the hell? I thought all that stuff got flushed away in menopause. I guess not.
It was all I could do to keep myself planted in my seat. I felt really bad for this kid and I wanted to reassure him that everything would be OK.
Somehow I managed to stay seated, effectively avoiding humiliating myself in front of this young stranger. He was making his best effort to be an adult and I was about to call attention to the fact that he was struggling with a case of nerves. I leaned back, closed my eyes and let the moment pass. I've finished my job and so has his mother.
I can never know what happened next, but I'm sure this young man walked into the conference room, opened his portfolio, took a deep breath and heard a small voice in the back of his mind saying, "It's fine, you're going to be great!"