"So Much On My Mind"
So Much On My Mind
I parked my car on a Joliet side street, as I do every morning to avoid the one dollar fee the city charges for its commuter lots. I sat in the car for a few minutes, listening to the end of a Mekons song, during which time a guy got out of the car immediately ahead of me and started walking toward the station. I hadn’t seen him before, a fact I took little notice of since I’m not in the habit of getting to know my fellow Metra riders.
After getting out of my car, I couldn’t help noticing the sound of an engine running. That occurrence itself isn’t unusual, as people often sit in their cars when they have a few minutes to spare, listening to the radio and basking in the a/c, especially on hot mornings like this one. But I quickly realized that it was the car right in front of me that was still running, and the guy that I had seen get out was now far down the street. I thought of calling after him, but shouting on the marginal streets of downtown Joliet usually provokes only fear and a flight impulse. I took note of the car--a beat-up, dark blue Chevy Corsica--and hurried after him.
Stepping onto the platform, I saw him getting onto my train, and I hoped he would find a seat quickly so I could tell him about the car. But he continued walking the length of the train. I finally found him several cars back, sitting in the upper level. I approached him, standing on the aisle on the lower level, and said, “Hey, do you drive a blue Chevy Corsica?”
He acted surprised, coming rapidly up from deep in thought, and said yes.
“You left your engine running,” I said. “And I assume the keys are still in it, too.”
He immediately jumped up, rushing down the aisle toward the exit. He clambered down the stairs, and in the otherwise empty car I heard him wearily say, “I’ve got so much on my mind.”
He and I entered the vestibule at the same time, but the doors had already closed and the train began pulling away from the station. He exhaled in exasperation, and I paused to say, “You’ll have to get off at New Lenox and take the next one back.” He grunted in agreement as I passed into the next compartment, working my way to the front of the train to find myself a seat.
I had done my good deed for the day, acting as a Good Citizen, but there was nothing more I could do for him. I left him alone with his problem and the "so much" he had on his mind.
Copyright © 2006 Peter Anderson
I wonder if he locked the car, too. I did that to myself recently on a ten degree day. I fought with a coathanger for about an hour before the tow truck guy came and opened it for me, for $65.
Posted by: Steve at Jan 10, 2006 1:10:53 PM