Today was one of those strange days. I spent a lot of it standing on train platforms. My cousin and I were going to visit her cousins, who I consider to be my cousins, even though technically they are not. Anyway, the expressways are torn up so she said, “Let’s take the train to Crystal Lake and Jannie can pick us up there.” She said that she would get on at her stop in Chicago and I could get on at mine and we would meet on the train. So, naturally, I hardly slept…I could see her in the window of the train waving as she passed by, because I missed the train. Then I couldn’t find a parking spot, so I had to call her and tell her that I wasn’t going. Insane, I know. I got about 4 hours sleep.
I found a parking spot and was standing on the platform when she texted saying that she was on the train in the third car. I would count the third car from the back but I did’t know if she would, so I texted back and asked. She said no, she was in the third car from the front, not counting the engine. Since the engine isn’t actually a car, I immediately started looking for Alice and the White Rabbit because how crazy are we? Seriously, what a conversation.
So, while I was waiting I watched a man walk on the edge of the platform, stopping to pick things up OFF the track and put them into a small white plastic bag. He got on the ground and reached/teetered as far over the tracks as he could, until he was able to grab whatever it was that caught his attention. I have the feeling that he does this everyday. He finally went away and a mentally challenged young man walked onto the platform, came right up to me, and started ranting about the fact that no one would help him. He was swearing about the terrible systems we have in this country that would allow people to go hungry and be homeless and he never finished high school and he lost his mother and father and sister and there was a fire and he didn’t want to be around the fire and he went to a place where they were giving out free donuts but they wouldn’t give one to him and he went to a food pantry at a church but they wouldn’t give him food…it went on like that for quite some time. I talked with him, pretty much agreeing with a lot of what he said, because he was right, but he was getting agitated. He complained about sleeping in he snow and the heat and yeah Chicago is a tough weather town, so I told him to hitch to Florida and he said he was thinking about it. I don’t know how poor he was, since he had an iPhone, with a cover, and a Tablet, which he said he might have to sell to get bread and he had had it since he was 13, but I sure wasn’t going to argue with him. He said he had peanut butter and chocolate in his pocket but he needed bread. So the train finally came and he didn’t get on because he was actually waiting for someone to get off. He did mention a case worker at one point but I did not go down that rabbit hole because Wonderland was already playing too big a part in my day.
I found my cousin and we began our trek to the country. We had a long ride and the cousin picking us up was late, so more waiting but we didn’t care. The cousins are sweet, generous, caring, loving, horse people and it’s always nice being around them. They don’t have horses anymore but they’ve always had anywhere from 30 to 40 cats. They have built heated bars for them and now they have had their basement remodeled into a cat sanctuary. They take care of feral as well. We went to lunch in Lake Geneva and they forgot to put a tomato on my grilled cheese sandwich and the tomato soup tasted so vinegary that I couldn’t eat it. Then we walked through some stores, and got ice cream, because we all love ice cream and we get it every time we are together, even if some of us get sick from eating it. It was delicious by the way (I had a twist cone dunked in chocolate). A tradition is a tradition and no excuses are acceptable.
Eventually, we were dropped off at the train station for our trip home, when an entire group of visually impaired people got out of a van and walked toward the tracks. They had white sticks and one man, in spite of his tapping, walked right into a wall. Stress levels rose instantly. He had a huge cut on his arm and he was bleeding. One of the visually impaired women was helping him and I gave them a wipe to clean out the gash. Some guy, a kind of cop, got saran wrap and they wrapped the man’s arm with napkins and then put the saran wrap over it. They told him it was a deep cut and could easily get infected and that he had to have his brother check it everyday. The man was visibly shaken and asked how long he should leave the wound covered and they said 4 days. I said that he needed to go to the doctor and get oral antibiotics right away. He had been cut getting out of the van when they arrived They told us that he was going to dialysis tomorrow and a doctor would see him then but they were worried about his diabetes. I just wanted to lay on the cement for about an hour. It was really hot and extremely humid and this poor guy had so many problems that I just thought, ya know, some people never catch a break. How much can one person take?
The train came and I couldn’t wait to get off. I only like to ride past graffiti and apartment buildings, warehouses, etc., not fields, but that’s just me. When I got back to my car I had a twenty-five dollar parking ticket under my windshield wiper because when I left this morning I was in a hurry and put the parking money into the wrong numbered slot. I came home, had a pb&j sandwich, some cherries, a cup of scalding hot tea and decided that I should stay in more often. Either that or never go into the country. My cousin and I are taking the cousins out next month but it will be in the city and she’s driving, so yay for that.
I can’t stop thinking about that man…he couldn’t see, he’s horribly sick and now he’s hurt. Nightmares don’t only come at night for some people.