Sunday, November 6, 2011

The lady in red

Last week, I took an early train home and ran into a woman I hadn't seen since the summer of 2008 after she'd been laid off from the law firm she had worked at for 15 years.

We got all caught up and she's now working downtown again, obviously.

As we're talking, she suddenly switches gears, slaps my arm and mentions this GO train "weblog" a co-worker told her about and asks if I'd seen it. I decided to play dumb. So she whips out her iPhone and shows it to me. First, she explains how the lady who owns it changes the graphic at the top from time to time and then tells me, and tries to find, her favourite stories.

She's on a roll now and suddenly bursts out with, "Oh my God, you have to tell this blogger about the lady we saw that one morning. The one you said was pulling a Ben Johnson through the parking lot."

I'd completely forgotten about that. She has me pull out my BlackBerry and tells me to email the story. RIGHT NOW. So I write an email to myself. Seriously. She was leaning into me as I was typing.

It was Spring. I was sitting on the second coach from the engine, lower level, opposite of the woman forcing me to email this story, to myself.

I was staring out the window, in the direction of the parking lot, when all of a sudden I spot this woman, in heels and wearing a red trench coat, flying down the main roadway that separates the parking lots at Oshawa. She had at least two purses bouncing against her rib cage and had her arms pumping hard. In one hand, she was holding one of those old, kettle-bell shaped Tim Horton's coffee mugs which she swung with each arm pump. She was running so fast her heels weren't touching the ground. She's running full-tilt on the balls of her feet. Girlfriend had to catch the 755 (now the 753) something fierce.

It was so riveting a scene that all that was missing is the time-counter, ticket-tape graphic shown at the bottom of the t.v. screen when the Olympics are on.

For reasons only she knows, and with one minute left to departure, she veers towards the bus loop. I was almost certain she was going to pull a Bionic Woman and vault herself onto the bus shelter, and then Super Mario it onto the train, making sure to fist-pump the floating box with a question mark on it, gain five minutes as her reward, and then jump to the platform where she would vault herself through an open door of a coach.

She loses her footing, stumbles, regains her balance but loses her grip on her coffee mug. Her mug goes flying and implodes against the windshield of an idling GO bus, scaring the shit out of the driver. Coffee and plastic pieces fly everywhere. The woman stops and throws her bags to the ground and starts gathering what's left off her mug.

I didn't realize I had spoken aloud at that point. Apparently I stood up, too. "Forget the mug, lady!" I yelled (as if she could hear me). "Run! Keep running ... !" This girl was either her high school track star or she'd made running for the train a lifelong hobby. This girl was fast. Not even to this day, have I seen anyone match her stride for stride when hauling ass for a platform.

I can't remember if I was that engrossed in what I was witnessing that I actually stood and started cheering her on, but according to my 2008 train buddy, I did. She started to look out the window with me and I quickly explained what happened. By now, the doors of the train had closed and the train began its slow pull-away from the station. I'll never forget the look at that woman's face. It was pure dejection. All that effort only to be taken out by a coffee mug.

Anyhow, it was that incident that got myself and Michelle talking. Michelle, I am the Crazy Train lady.



WinF said...

That's hysterical. I would have so kept running!!!

lily p said...

This website is my guilty pleasure. Thank you so much for writing on the weekends especially when I'm sure you're busy. This story makes me wonder if she needed to catch the train so badly that she ran so hard why should would stop for a coffee mug. Maybe she felt bad that it hit the bus and was worried about the legal ramifications such as destruction of transit property. Things that make me go hmmmm.

Michelle said...

And you never let on ?????!!!!!
I had no idea. But that I know I am not surprised. You're the funniest person I've ever met.

C.J. Smith said...

But now that you know? Or you're not surprised that I'm crazy?