Day’s Verse:
So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase.
Acts 9:31

The Scooter Guy. He putters up on his red scooter, looking a little to large for its small wheels. He takes care to lock his sweet ride securely to the metal railing. With equal care, if less adeptness, he drapes its gleaming body with a gray, scooter-shaped tarp to maintain its glossy finish. His large girth, blue button-down shirt and khakis, commute into Boston, and coffee all point towards an SUV, but he belies all these indicators.

The Clinker. A tall, slender man who has an apparent deep fondness for pink shirts. He shows up early for the Boston train, not long after I do, and I can hear him all the way across the tracks and the wide parking lot, clinking as with small chains. I envision him dragging a ball-and-chain behind him, and can’t imagine all that noise coming from change in his pockets. He also reliably carries a coffee in one hand and, less reliably, a cigarette in the other.

Headphone Guy. He stands on the inbound platform opposite me each day with his headphones on, watching me stretch. He smiles awkwardly when I look at him, but he looks nice.

The Blue Shirt Crowd. This includes the half-dozen or more men who group together on the inbound platform in the morning. All of them wear khakis and a blue button-down shirt, usually tie-less. Many other people wear this same uniform, of course, but these gentlemen stand out because they all stand together in the same place.

The Reflector Person. I think she’s a she, even if she purposely blurs the lines. This character rides the afternoon train from Worcester to somewhere and consistently wears home-modified baggy dark pants with thick yellow reflector strips accenting pockets and cuffs. I have also observed this character intently decorating a pair of jeans with black and green permanent markers.

The Bicyclists. I routinely see two bicyclists on the way in to Worcester, and one who gets off in Southborough as I get on. One Worcester-bound rider prefers a fancy black mountain bike with wide, wide studded tires and a complex rear-tire shock system. The other rides a slender red Specialized road bike, and he dwarfs the vehicle with his height. His helmet brushes the ceiling when he stands up.

The Flower Guy. By rights I can’t claim to have seen him more than once, but the one time stood out in my mind. A regular guy standing on the train as it pulled in to Worcester, he gripped a bunch of flowers in one hand as you would a club, holding it straight up in front of him, and his face was frozen into a rictus of determination.

Me. I surely number among the notable eccentrics of the train ride. I always wear my puffy black shorts over long or short Spandex. My shirt comes from a large stock of T-shirts I got at races during my running years, and most are large or have holes in them, aside from the bright, tacky logos. Of late I have also worn my battered blue-and-maroon GoreTex running jacket, which surely clashes with my bright red backpack (free from the Sierra Club). Of course, I’m also at my loveliest, sweaty and probably red-faced from my ride with unwashed helmet-hair. Equally, I’m also at my most graceful, awkwardly maneuvering my mountain bike with slick tires, blinky lights probably still blinking because I forgot to turn them off, around on the train or the platform.

Riding the train certainly does expose you to many strange characters.

[Edit as of 4:00 pm] Speaking of strangeness: If you were a cookie, what kind would you be?

5 thoughts on “Train Station Characters

  1. I want to name something rich and gooey with chocolate, but in reality, I’d probably be a sugar cookie, a flaky one with a wierd variety of toppings decorating it, in the shape of an animal or something. Probably slightly burned around the edges.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.