Monday, April 29, 2013

Take the Blue Train... but not the 7:05 unles you are willing to play her evil mind games...

I have a love/hate relationship with our local commuter Metro train system. I no longer need to worry about becoming a fugitive from the law for the murders I commit mentally while sitting in traffic in the morning. My support of 'OPEC' has diminished considerably. And lets not forget the fabulous people watching which public transit offers.

That's the love part.

I HATE having to live by someone else's time table. Especially the 7:05 AM Blue Line.

In a perfect world (the one where someone else packs my lunch and I actually enjoy getting up at the butt crack of dawn to do my workout prior) I prefer to catch the 7:05 Blue Line – it gets me to work early enough to grab a latte from my favorite Big Box Coffee Store. And because the Blue Line originates at my station I always get a seat by the window. This means no sharing a seat with that weird woman who looks like she is dead when she falls asleep or the guy who just got off the over night shift at McHeart Attack.

But the driver of the 7:05 AM blue line is evil. Really evil. On the list of Top Ten Most Evil Men* she would fall somewhere between Ayatollah Khomeini and Idi Amin. On the list of Top Ten Most Evil Women she would land firmly at Number One, placing her above a couple of queens, several Nazi groupies and two serial killers. Why this high distinction?

Let me present the evidence:

  1. She arrives early. (and by early, I mean she waits until I am exiting my car to slowly move her train from the staging area up to the platform.) ((Sure, at this point I could walk faster, or run but it is clearly 7:01. Just seconds after the 7:00 red line has departed. And as Seinfeld once said, "I choose not to run.")
  2. She begins announcing her departure the minute she stops at the platform. It goes something like this: Blue Line to Shrewsbury. Please Stand Clear. Doors Are Closing. But she announces if over and over. AND THEN she begins her count down.
  3. She COUNTS DOWN TO HER ACTUAL DEPARTURE. Like a mother counting down a misbehaving toddler. "This train will be leaving in ten seconds." At which the poor saps on the number 13 Caseyville/Maryville bus (which arrives at its appropriate time) must sprint from the bus stop, across the tracks, wave their validated ticket or pass at the security guy and dive through the doors as she once again threaten that the Doors Are Closing!
  4. She leaves at 7:05. Just like she is suppose to. (Which is apparently an option. See 7:18 Blue Line.)

I have witnessed this little power struggle every day. I have seen her begin to roll from the station only to stop, open the doors and chide a straggler to Please Take A Seat this Train is Leaving! I have even watched from MY seat as a poor woman runs to the tracks only to watch from the station side as the train pulls away, the driver tsk, tsk tsking the tardy rider and making her an example for the rest of us.**

Because of this behavior, I refuse to make any effort to catch the passive- aggressive Blue Line.

Which leaves me with the 7:12 Red Line and Game Show Announcer driver: Now Arriving at the Emerson Park Station! I will trade you what ever is in your lunch bag for the contents of the unattended backpack on the Alta Sita bus! (This is really hard to take so early in the morning, even in the next to last car where the speaker is suppose to be quieter.)

Or I can take the 7:18 Blue Line. It is the Grateful Deadhead, Washed Up Hippie Line. The train eases into the station anytime between 7:12:05 and 7:17:58; leaving somewhere around 7:18. Because, you know, leave a minute or two late? We can always catch it up on that down hill stretch between JJK and Emerson Park.

And it is like a crap shoot of train drivers. There is the Mumbler, who sounds as though he is just as sleepy as the passengers. The Tired Chick, who starts off perky but by the third stop is pretty much just announcing every third word: Alta Sita Bus...Yield seats to elderly...Jackie Joyner Kersee...or The Guy Who Never Knows Where the Hell He Is. One minute the train is Eastbound, the next it is West sometimes we are pulling into the station we just left and other times we are just On The Blue Line. Occasionally I am not sure he is even aware he is driving a train. But my all time favorite is The Barry White...who sings every stop in a deep, throaty voice and Yea, baby's the really nicely dressed riders.

It makes for an interesting commute. It gets me to work with five minutes to spare.

But it doesn't get me my Grande Latte.

*The Top Ten Most Evil Men is a real list. As is The Top Ten Most Evil Women, who thankfully were not as well know or as comical as the men.

**Sorry Cheryl...I really thought you were going to make it. And Sorry I waved as we rolled past. In retrospect that was just cruel.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Desperate Times

Thanks to the quantity of April Showers it is taking to bring those May Flowers commuting to work has become a little more hazardous here on the Coast of Illinois. A brave co-worker put her life on the line and road the parking lot shuttle one torrentially damp day.

Not only was she subjected to the horrors adult bus rides but...she spotted this:

note the Hairnet's respect for the number one rule of public transportation: take only one seat, don't hog both on busy commute days!

Frightened at first, she noticed that the Net was actually huddled near the wall of the bus and being the caring person she is, she inquired after its well-being. Imagine her surprise to learn that this lone, shuttle riding Net was participating in Hairnets Without Humans*; a program whose goal is connecting rogue Hairnets with their human counterparts. She learned that their mission is global protection of food source contamination and hairstyle stability.

Such high ideals for such a tiny Hairnet. To this the Coast of Illinois says, "Dare to Dream, little Net...Dare to Dream!"

*Hairnets Without Humans is a grassroots start-up. Be sure to contact your local Paul Mitchell Salon prior to accepting aids from Hairnets. Hairnets Without Humans would like you to know they are not affiliated with HairScrunchies For Peace or Headbands For Hoochies. There have been reports of these unscrupulous Nets misrepresenting themselves as members of HwithoutH, duping humans into wearing Hairnets in places other than food service areas thus gaining entry into unauthorized locals and subsequently freaking out those unsuspecting people who find their remains.

What has this world come to.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Defiance, the Actual Town in Missouri...

So, I caved and watched the new TVseries Defiance on ScyFy.

 I like science fiction.

 I like 'good' bad movies with lots of cool special effects...or effects...

I was happily surprised by the show. It was sort of Sons of Anarchy with fewer tattoos but more...weird facial features. Sort of Game of Thrones with fewer dwarfs but more...albinos with graft skin. (Yes, their skin appears to be more like graft paper and less that isn't like graft paper...) MadMen with fewer fashionable outfits and snappy, symbolic dialogue and sex scenes but scenes. (Okay, one sex scene. But it was pretty hot. Fuzzy, but hot.)

The show nicely identifies our most notable landmark – the Gateway Arch. And it seems that our Arch holds some sort of mystical secret to the town of St. Louis now named Defiance.

But...Does anyone not from the Coast of Illinois realize that there is already a town in Missouri named Defiance?

Well, there is. But, it is surprisingly similar to the TV show which is now its namesake but with more Daniel Boone and winery stuff and fewer aliens.

However, there is a nice little BikerBar there.

And, I can tell you right now. Our Defiance Bikers would have totally kicked those creepy Lizard-bot Aliens' asses but with fewer cold fusion ray guns and more delightful crisp Missouri wine....

Of course the Arch doesn't fall with a piece missing. Everyone knows Eero Saarinen actually just buried a really huge clothes hanger sideways in the ground...

Monday, April 15, 2013

That's My Girl You're Dissin'

I try to keep this blog a-political, opting instead for unusual observations and embarrassing personal experiences. However, over the weekend I heard two separate news reports attacking an institution which I hold dear. And that is unacceptable.

That's right. I am here to defend Barbie*.

It seems that once again there are not enough serious issues out there to keep concerned parents focused. Consequently the new Mexican Barbie* is under fire.

Mexican Barbie* comes dressed in a ruffly pink gown and is holding a chihuahua. This has been deemed 'racist'. I can't really speak to the racial issue – I am neither Mexican nor a chihuahua owner. I am the mother of a girl and I can tell you this – little girls LOVE pink ruffly gowns and little girls LOVE tiny dogs.

And thanks to the brouhaha brought on by Mexican Barbie* the door was once again opened for the Barbie* Measurement Controversy.

People with way too much time on their hands in ratio to the superiority of their math skills took the time to figure what a real woman's measurements would be should she be proportioned like Barbie*.


Listen up MathWiz – have you taken the time to figure how big a man's chest would be with GI Joe's measurements? Or how much reconstructive surgery it would take to restore his 'smooth area' back to a more realistic proportion?

I didn't think so.

The fact of the matter is this. Barbie* is a terrible role model.

She is surrounded by vague and shadowy relationships. That dead beat Ken? I don't recall him every really having a specific job. Skipper and Tootie? Are they Barbie's* cousins? Her younger friends? Her illegitimate children that her invisible mother choose to raise as siblings?

She is unable to hold a stable job, jumping from secretary to airline pilot to veterinarian to pageant queen, masking her pain in Malibu Beach Houses, hot pink Corvettes and clothing and shoes with more glitter than is recommended by the FDA.

Oh, and SHE'S A DOLL!!!

I have played with Barbie* since I was four years old. The majority of my dolls were blonde. This NEVER caused me to run out and bleach my dark brown hair to nearly transparent gold. Sure my dolls had a fancy home but it took so much time to set up that by the time it was ready to be played with it was time to go to bed. In retrospect, this was the PERFECT way to prepare me for home ownership. My dolls did have wardrobes to die for. But many of those dresses were hand made by me. Just like my clothes were hand made by my Mom. That ability to design and create a one of a kind outfit has stayed with me into adulthood...for better or worse.

Never once did I consider following Barbie* down the path of multiple careers and illicit affairs with Johnny Quest. My life choices were influenced by my parents, who had the good sense to understand that a child can actually understand the difference between a plastic doll and the real world.

So what's my point here? I admit, we live in a scary world. We want to protect our children and send them off with a fair and balanced view of themselves and others. But give your children a little credit. They possess the ability to understand that make believe is just that. The message gets confused when grown ups start giving 11 1/2 inch dolls more power than their kicky pink pantsuits really hold.

*Barbie is the trademark of Mattel. No Barbies were harmed or deported in the writing of this blog.Malibu beach house, hot pink Corvette and glitter wardrobe and heels are still sold separately or delivered by Santa if you are really really good. 

Three of my favorite Barbies. Olympic Barbie (left) taught me to NEVER do a triple sachow off the dining room table. Malibu Barbie (right) taught me that surfing in the bathtub is really really difficult unless you use all the Mister Bubble. And PJ (center, and my favorite) taught me that if you go horseback riding with the SOB Johnny Quest your leg will pop off , he will pass out and Jane Quest will have to ride out from the bunk house to save you.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It Spring...And the Hairnets are Easy...

I caught a glimpse of it just yesterday morning...the final sign that winter is over...that's right, I spotted The Last Hairnet Of Winter!
                                                  (dramatic look)

Anybody got a ticket to Orlando? I have had enough of Midwest winters.

It was lying on the sidewalk, hidden under a crumbling leaf. Its weave was tattered from constant buffeting by transitional breezes.

Hairnet sightings have been down dramatically this past season. There were a couple of interior spottings but none which were caught on camera. I was witness to two:

One in an elevator where the Suit and I discussed who should actually pick the thing up and toss it. I did not document this spotting. The seventeen floor ride did not seem lengthy enough to explain what I was doing.

The other sighting was more disturbing. The Net was lying in front of the elevator directly in the path of Civilians. Putting my sense of cleanliness above my sense of self preservation, I picked the stray Net up between thumb and forefinger and gritting my teeth into a pleasant smile tossed it into the trash. The psychic scream emitting from my brain was heard for hours.

Yesterday's sighting was much less dramatic and a little sad. I began to wonder if Rogue Hairnets were going the way of pay phones and two dollar per gallon gas.

I need not have worried.

On the walk back to my car to return home yesterday afternoon I spotted no less than three tiny Netlets. Baby Hairnets. Trying out their tumbleweed ability as they fluttered from a fence and the broken concrete on a nearby construction site.

Welcome to Spring on the Coast of Illinois.

want more info on Rogue Hairnets? Click here... Oh! That Explains Everything!

Monday, April 1, 2013

I Am, I Said...outloud...on the train....

A thought occurred to me on my train ride into work the other day.

Why hasn't anyone done a musical based on the music of Neil Diamond?

Just imagine...

Emma Stone as 'Rosie', the pork rind salesgirl who is looking for love. She meets streetwalker with a heart of gold 'Caroline' (Michelle Williams) and together they follow Caroline's dream of redemption at a traveling salvation show. (Samuel L. Jackson as Brother Love.) The girls would find their true loves at Crunchy Granola, the breakfast cafe operated by beloved actress and national treasure Betty White. But only after a steamy rendition of Cherry Cherry in which Neil would appear to the girls in a vision and Rosie would finally earn the nickname 'Cracklin'.

It could be titled HOT AUGUST NIGHTS!

It was then pointed out that there is already a movie about Neil Diamond – The Jazz Singer. However, after a little research, I discovered that The Jazz Singer merely starred Neil. It was actually a remake of an older movie of the same name but given the classic Neil Diamond spandex and singable melody twist.

My musical would have much less family guilt and a whole lot more spandex...and sequins...and spandex.

This would also pave the way for a dance version: HOT AUGUST KNIGHTS! (Which was actually my husband's idea, sent to me via text message.)

This is the point where I actually laughed out loud.

It is also the moment when I finally understood why people rarely sit next to me on the train...