Hopping on the train at the Lake Forest stop, I grabbed a seat on the upper deck, put the other two down near me, and proceeded to lay down and glance up at my phone as I browsed through reddit headphones playing music in my ear.
Sounds. It looks like the guy across is talking to me. Is he? Yes, he is. I take out my headphones and he wants to know if I’m okay as I was coughing while laying down. He mentions that, “I’ve seen people die on this train.” I assure him I’m fine and I go back to Reddit.
15 minutes later I notice he is saying something again. I take out my headphones to hear him. This time he seemed VERY agitated about the way I was sitting. Apparently he thought I might be taking pictures of him with my phone and he was upset by the way I was laying down.
Again, apparently I was being rude and I semi-open dangling legs were exposing my crotch to the Indian girl sitting several seats down. It was then that I realized I had been targeted. I sat up and attempted to deflect the verbal attacks.
The conclusions and assumptions made about me took me back for a second. Apparently I was some punk from Chicago coming down here to get off at Libertyville and I didn’t give a fuck about the other people on the train. I pointed out to him that NO ONE has ever objected to the way I’ve laid down before. He was the first one. He insists its a matter of being respectful. I proceeded to question him on how he knew what was “Respectful.” He appealed to the way he was raised.
I started trying to think to myself about why he was giving me such a hard time. It was a serious, “Dude, wtf?” moment of thought. For a bit longer, I suspected that other people were going to become involved as his tone of voice kept getting louder. (I was hoping the conductors weren’t going to get involved.)
It was here the conversation turned. I pointed out to him I lived in Fox Lake, I also told him about how I thought his age had nothing to do with whether I respected his opinions or not. I also essentially asked him indirectly what was bugging him. Conversations are something I live for. They break up the routine of my day. I made the most out of this one and I’m glad I did.
This fellow’s name was Jim. I plied Jim and found out some back-story about himself. He’s a 53 year old micro-biologist who works his ass off to put his two of his three daughters through college. He’s struggling financially, but fishing with his buddies gives him some reprieve. I felt a kind of kinship for Jim. It’s no accident that I feel as I’ve met people just like him before with a similar frustration with life. A sympathy for him wells up inside me.
He apologized several times to me later and throughout the conversations for his initial assumptions about myself, but I told him not to worry about it. “The past is the past,” I told him. Jim you see is a classic example of a guy going on through life who needs a chance to vent every once in a while, but doesn’t. It was the small action of the way I laid that set him off.
I literally told him when we got off the train, “There’s only so much a man can handle before he explodes.” Jim is a good guy, but he’s been through alot. He is rightfully distrustful of new and strange people. He tells me stories about how he’s been attacked and beat up in Fox Lake and the kind of crime he see’s happening right outside the Fox Lake train station and the Thortons.
Every story and conversation has a life lesson that should ALWAYS be learned from it. What happened to Jim – just one action- that magnifies to a great extent the rest of what he has been feeling and seeing can happen to myself.
All men out there need a time and a chance to vent. The key is doing it in a way that won’t get you arrested, hated, ect but to find a friend and/or an outlet to really get things off your chest. Reddit is one way, but face-to-face with a close friends is the best. Get it off your chest. It will make you feel better.
We all have pent up rage that builds. It’s a matter of fact of life. The people who explode are some how seen as terrible, immature, ect but the reality of life is that this is just a natural part of humanity. Let it go. Don’t be afraid to tell your friends what’s really on your mind. Be yourself and I’m not saying that in a BS “feel good” cultural way.
Before we parted ways at the station, Jim told me he was glad the conversation happened. I was too. It was a raw unfiltered and genuine conversation that should happen more often.