Friday, January 7, 2011

Racing Trains

Every afternoon I race the train. It is supposed to be a 4:45 train. I’ve tried to outsmart it by leaving 3 minutes early or 5 minutes late but no matter when I leave I still meet it on the corner of 48th street. That leaves me only 15 blocks and 2 stoplights to beat it to the crossing at 33rd. I’m not sure if it’s my “competitive nature” or just the stubbornness of not wanting to wait an extra 4 minutes to continue my journey home but no matter how fast the train is going I still try and beat it there. I accelerate quickly in my not so gas friendly SUV knowing that if I don’t hit the lights just right then I haven’t got a chance. The stretch of road is nice and 45mph so I don’t feel bad going 50. I’m pretty sure I’ve got at least 15mph on the train but I’ve still got to make the lights. I make it through the first one which is usually green and I let a little smirk show as I watch the crossing arms go down behind me. One light to go but it’s a tricky one because I have to wait for the left turn arrow. Sure enough I’m a little late for the arrow and even though I don’t see any cops around I’m afraid to break the rules on account of the traffic camera affixed to the stoplight. Once again I sit defeated for the next four minutes counting rail cars and examining the contents of the locomotive. I secretly enjoy that time even though I try so hard to avoid it. I turn the car off and decompress from the day to the chug chug cadence of the metal to metal melody. Once the train is gone and the crossing arms rise, I continue my journey home thinking about how silly it was to race the train, because to this day I’ve yet to beat it. It is futile really, but I’ll surely try again like chasing after the wind. Someday I might actually beat the train, but if no one is looking I might let it win just to hear the victory march I’ve grown accustomed to on my drive home.

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