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