Day- 25: Train spotting

I recently tried public transportation in Edmonton for the first time in my life.


Calm down, I’m not some elitist billionaire philanthropist that gets around town riding on the backs of third world children.

I just usually travel by car.

My quest was to ride the train to the Stanley Milner Library in the heart of downtown.

I watch the movies – like everybody else. I know what a dangerous place the underground can be. So I came prepared, ready to fend off the dangerous creatures lurking under the tracks. I stretched for thirty minutes and practiced my karate chops before I left the house. Plus I’m an expert at knee to groin action. My mace was tucked away in an easy to access pocket in my bag, and my cell phone ready to dial 911.

Keeping my head down, I entered the ETS station. Clutching my bag tightly to my chest , I gave a menacing glare to the nice gentleman who held the door for me.

I was on to their antics – obviously they were trying to lure me in with kindness, like those men who offer crack to kids. I was too wise to fall for it, so I held my own door. Admittedly the kind man looked at me strangely. I confidently returned the expression.

The heated hallway as a nice welcome from the bitter cold. Couples were holding hands and students were rushing to class.

I stopped to read all the signs as I navigated this unknown lair, ensuring that every so often I would search for traps. I finally arrived at the ticket payment machine, and like a grandma, I slipped on my thick lense glasses and opened my coin purse – carefully counting my 3 dollars and twenty cents. I don’t use coins often – so this feat took me a while. And no, it’s not because I’m Oprah rich and don’t deal in currency – it’s just that I prefer my debit card. It’s a psychological trick I play on myself so I can pretend I don’t spend money.

After retrieving my ticket, my fingers brushed upon cold metal objects. Who would dare possibly insert little daggers smeared with deadly viruses in the ticket slot? Oh wait – false alarm. The cold metal objects turned out to be spare change.


Flaunting the ticket in my hand, I made my way to the platform, while ensuring anyone and everyone could see that I was a law abiding citizen and had paid my dues.

It wasn’t long before the train arrived. Skipping briskly into the car for fear that I would slip and fall onto the tracks to my imminent death, I found a seat next to the window. I wrapped my scarf tightly around my face in a failed attempt to look inconspicuous. Greeted by confused looks, I started to feel like I was doing this all wrong.

Slipping on my headphones, I started to relax in my seat. The train lurched forward, and me – like a curious two year old pressed my face unto the cold window – staring out in wonder at the same landscape I saw everyday from my car.

We started to slow down- was I supposed to get off here? I turned down my music, then removed my headphones so I could accurately hear the announcement.

“Next stop is South Gate Station.”

Reaching into my bag, I pulled out the neatly folded hot pink post-it with the name of the stop I was meant to get off at. Before I left home, I made sure to scribble down Churchill station and an emergency contact number for when the Ninja Turtles would kidnap me and ask for my 800 pepperoni pizza ransom.


This wasn’t the one.

We came to a stop, more people came on.

And then it happened. I could smell danger a mile away.

Several rowdy teenagers wearing button down collared shirts sat across from me. I averted eye contact and slowly reached in my purse for my mace. It was mainly for fear that they would pin me down and make me listen to Justin Bieber tracks over and over again.

Minutes had passed, and no one had attacked me.

They sat in their seats, with headphones jammed into their ears, waiting to get to where they needed to go. I could even swear that one of them was reading a book.

At each subsequent station, the music went down and headphones came off until I heard Churchill Station.

I made it.

That wasn’t so bad.

Maybe just maybe we shouldn’t believe everything we watch.

Sweet Dream World


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53 replies

  1. Lol. Sounds like a “scary” trip.

  2. Thank God you survived your ordeal. You are a brave woman ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I always have anxiety attacked because I’m afraid I’ll drop my ticket. I was busted by a transit cop once when I was 16 and never really got over it! (pro tip if you are caught: cry.)

  4. I love public transportation when it’s done right. I lived in SanFrancisco for 15 months, and there it is done right. I would have gotten rid of my cars if we had stayed in SF as it is so easy to take Muni and BART. And then there’s CalTrain to go down the Peninsula. Such a great system of public transportation, which we do not have in Fresno.

  5. Here in Egypt, given the security void, this wont count as comedy.

  6. On my last job, I took the express bus nearly every day into Minneapolis and it was heaven compared to driving rush hour, as well as half the cost of the parking ramp. The most threatening thing to happen on my commute was a potential mental health emergency due to the incessant video game noise coming from the passenger behind me one trip. Otherwise an excellent system. Good luck on the job search!

  7. Great story. I’ve done the city life thing and always used the subways. Great way to get around and you don’t have to worry about where to park. Now I’m a country folk and have to drive everywhere. Both ways have their perks, I guess.

  8. I love the honesty. We all try to act like we know what we’re doing when we use public transportation . . . even if we’re novices.

    And thanks for visiting my blog!

  9. haha this is hillarious. I love your use of humor and pop culture references. The world is always a scary place, but even more so in our own heads darling. Love it.

  10. Nah… you should try TTC…. just 2 subway lines…. 2 LINES!!!!!… and 4 emergencies or repairs per day… or why not… the “streetcars” (TRAM, for those of you out of the colonies)… same models as in 1950’s… yeah…. they knew how to make things last, back in da day! ๐Ÿ˜€

  11. I used to commute using the “T” in Boston, some lines were/are better than others, the biggest problem I had was random delays (usually on the bus) and when some idiots did an advertising stunt which shut down one of the stations b/c they thought it was a bomb. Glad to hear you survived in one piece! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. I’ve always enjoyed the pubic transportation in Canada when I’ve gone to visit, glad you arrived safe

  13. It’s a trap! They knew you would be suspicious of them on the first few trips so they are being extra nice to lul you into a false sense of security. Once content they will spring their attack.

    Usually in the form of an awkward encounter like going for the same seat as you or accidentally bumping into you and not apologizing. These attacks are vicious so be careful and prepared. The last thing I want to see in the paper is “local woman forced to mace assailant when the lrt slammed on its breaks and he bumped into her”.

  14. Glad to know the mean streets aren’t so mean after all the hype. Are you sure this one time venture wasn’t a ruse executed by the criminal riffraff to lull you into a sleepy state of mind to return without practicing karate chops and packing mace for your next visit? ~Jennifer

  15. You have a very fertile imagination. Your post reads like a whodunit.

  16. I can’t believe that kid tried to pull a book in you! Good thing you escaped. Thanks for swinging by The Kraken’s Wake, hope you enjoyed the journey.

  17. The entire time I read this all I could think about was the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. Very well written, felt like I was riding with you.

  18. Greetings. I’m a big fan of your writing style. Can’t wait to read some more when I get the chance. Keep on posting!

  19. very funny! love the beiber and ninja turtle references.

  20. It’s good practise for when you travel. We felt that way when we first did the Tube in London, and we are experienced riders at home. The way you have written this pretty much sums up how silly you feel when it is nowhere close to what people say. Nice article.

  21. Glad to hear you completed your journey safely without any need for “knee to groin action”


  22. This brought many memories of living in San Francisco, navigating and negotiating the Muni and BART systems. Sadly, those “rowdy teenagers” would indeed be rowdy and people would elbow you in their quest for a seat, any seat ;). I do enjoy your humor. Looking forward to reading more!

  23. Hi! I just had to stop by to let you know that Iโ€™ve nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. Please visit the page I dedicated to your award at Happy blogging! ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. I love your style, Lady! I like the dramatization and focus on the senses, and preconceived notions versus rational intellect. Very smart piece!

  25. hilarious! loved the part about stretching and karate chops- i sometimes do that too ๐Ÿ˜€

  26. We always loved the calming “Mind the gap” that blared when stepping onto The Tube in London. Sounds like you took all necessary precautions, and lived to tell the tale. ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Great stuff. A very fun read. I used to ride BART in the San Francisco Bay area every day. Some stations were a bit dicey, so I was totally understanding your narrative. I remember when a 20-year old woman in skimpy clothes with a voice like gravel scraping against a chalk board, gave me this thousand yard stare and asked to borrow my cell phone. Yeah, like I’d ever get it back. You can generally relax on public transport, but it’s smart to stay on your guard.

  28. Expertise at knee to groin certainly comes in handy! ๐Ÿ™‚ congratulations on your blog! I should write about New York subways. ๐Ÿ™‚

  29. brilliant blog. i love your sense of humour shareena. looking forward to the next one. x

  30. I think the scariest party of this story is where you said you’re in Edmonton!
    I thought it was cold in Ontario. It’s damn cold in Edmonton! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Great story.

  31. Thanks for posting pics of yourself on this blog. If ever I’m taking public transport in Edmonton I’ll know who to be wary of if I want to avoid a karate chop or knee to the groin ๐Ÿ˜†

  32. Love it! I live in a place where everyone drives! i’d love to try out the underground!

  33. An excellent narrative for your adventure . Hope for the best , prepare for the worst I’ve heard it said . A good read .

  34. You are my hero. I love your writing… light but I felt the tension… I was right there with ya on that trip! Wheeew… glad we made it! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  35. I love when you said Oprah rich. That line is from my favourite movie Zack and Miri make a porno ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. I can’t blame you. Teenagers are the worst.

  37. I have a serious fear about using public transportation (especially buses which are most common where I’m at), I always think that something terrible will happen. Although the few times I have used it nothing bad has happened. Maybe I should just get over this fear.
    By the way I love your writing style ๐Ÿ™‚ keep up the good work

  38. Downtown E-town is hardly Grand Central Station. I have to admit I rarely take the LRT now that I have a car. But since it is has expanded so far south it is a much better service.

  39. I do not miss the daily LRT rides I used to make from Clairview Station to University Station. Now I only use the LRT when I come to Edmonton for concerts and hockey games. It is nice to find a fellow Albertan lurking around on WordPress. You have some excellent wrting here! Very visual.

  40. I really love your writing style!! And I can actually relate to this experience/feeling except I take the subway everywhere haha


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