A few years ago, I met my brother’s in laws. It was a day before my brother’s wedding. I told them I live in Chicago upon introducing myself to them. I did not actually live in Chicago. I lived in the suburbs. Most outsiders do not know the suburbs of Chicago, and it is a time consuming activity to talk about the suburbs. I lived in the suburbs for eight years. I would occasionally drive to the city, but most of the time I would ride the train to the city. The train rides were usually very interesting to say the least. I made some interesting friends along the way, and I had some interesting conversations as well.
One Saturday, I was riding the Metra back to the suburbs. There was a woman sitting a few sits away from me. She was a middle aged woman. She was rearranging her hair every minutes, and it bothered me after a few minutes. I decided to engage her in a conversation to find out why she kept rearranging her hair. I asked her if she was okay, and she started telling me her life story. She was an eastern European woman who was going through a divorce. She was wondering what were the next steps in her life. I listened without making any comments, and then told her to take strength and courage. She then asked me are you a therapist. I told her I was a thirty year old sailor who’s lived an interesting life, and I got off the train at my stop.
A few years later, I was working in Chicago and I had to commute everyday. During one of my commute I met this lady, and I discovered she was a lawyer. For many days she would just ignore me during our commute to Chicago, and I did not care really. I would be reading a book during most of my commutes. One evening during a commute back to the suburbs she sat with me. I was surprised. We started a conversation, and I ended up liking her as a person. I discovered she was a single mother, and I might have met her when she was younger, because she lived on a military base I served at. She made my commute actually interesting. We would talk about life, relationship and things we enjoy. This woman made me a better rounded person. Then she moved to the city and my commute became boring again.
These commutes were interesting at times. On occasional evening commute, there will be people who’d begin happy hours earlier. There would lovers having spats and it was basically dramatic and funny. I miss Illinois at times, but I do not miss the winter. I may return there one day who knows.