Rage in a Cage

Usually, it takes a lot to really get my blood boiling, and even when it does start to bubble, I can usually keep it under control. I’m kind of like an M&M with a molten Sicilian center surrounded by a thick, level-headed German shell. Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.
But when I’m really stressed out at work, like I have been for the past two weeks, and then I lose my DSL and phone service for three days and have to spend 45 minutes beeping and booping my way through seventeen layers of automated help menus at AT&T, and the sushi place forgets to put my ebi in the takeout box and I don’t realize it until I’m all the way home, the little things start to make me crazy.
So today, the object of my hatred is the universe of people who simply do not understand how to ride a train. The collective rage deep inside me has been churning up, so much so that I had to do the only thing I know that can calm me down: I made a list. Some people drink, some people smash things. I drink, smash things, and then categorize. For your reference, I have listed these in the order in which I typically encounter them.
Premature evacuators
These are the people who, for whatever reason, feel the need to get up from their seat and stand by the door for the remaining five minutes of the train ride into the Loop. Apparently, if they are first off the train, they win.
But instead of simply asking the person next to them if they can get out, they will shuffle their papers and zip up their jackets and snap shut their briefcases and look at their watches and wiggle in their seats and exhale heavily all with great dramatic flair so that the person next to them gets up. Well you know what? You can shuffle your ass and snap your pleather briefcase all you want, but unless you speak to me, or until that train comes a-screechin’ into the station, I will never let you out. Ever. Even if I’m in a hurry. DO YOU HEAR ME! NEVER!
First-time revolving door users
Are there parts of the world that don’t have revolving doors? Because the train stations in the Loop seem to attract an inordinate amount of people who have no idea how they work. So here is my advice to those people: IT’S NOT F*CKING DOUBLE DUTCH, PEOPLE! JUST JUMP YOUR ASS INTO THE FIRST AVAILABLE SLOT AND SHUFFLE YOUR FEET! DONE!
I swear to god, at 6:00pm rushhourtryingtogethomeafterareallycrappyday why do I always get stuck behind the family from the suburbs that has just been on a shopping spree at the American Girl store and has fifty two bags and forty three children who are ascared to step inside the revolving door? And then they shove in, two at a time, which brings the entire process to a screeching halt.
Smelly food eaters
I understand that some people are stuck on the train for a good hour or so, right at dinner time. You want to eat? I’m totally cool with that. But please, please, can you please just not get the jumbo double onion burrito from Taco Bell or the extra garlic chicken wings from Popeye’s two seconds before you hop onto the train?
These are smells that waft through the train car like cartoon skunk spray, weaving their way around every single passenger and ultimately fusing with my skin cells, so I actually smell it when I get home. Look – there’s an Aunt Annie’s pretzel store right by the doors, or a Subway sandwich shop over there in the corner. Cinnamon raisin pretzel, turkey club and chips – healthy, satisfying, and pretty much odor free. That’s all I ask.
I’ve been toying with the idea of claiming that I’m pregnant so that I can ask people to not sit by me with their smelly food. “I’m so sorry, but you see, I’m pregnant [touches belly and smiles], and very sensitive to strong scents like the rank odor that is seeping out of your chicken and jalapeno quesadilla right now. Would you mind moving down? Two or three cars should be fine. Thank you ever so much!”
This will mostly make sense to Chicagoans, so I’ll explain a bit. Every summer, there are nightly open air concerts at a place called Ravinia Park, where you can bring a picnic dinner, some wine, and enjoy the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with your sweetheart.
Lovely, no?
No. Not if you are just trying to get home, but your train happens to be on the Ravinia Park route, in which case 50% of the train is filled with first-time train riders who don’t exactly understand that:
a.This vehicle is first and foremost a commuter train. For people to commute. It does not become your private party bus after 5:00pm.
b.You cannot stack your six lawn chairs with built-in cup holders on the four seats next to you, and make other people stand in the aisle.
c.If you and your eight friends from college carrying beach blankets and margarita mix do not move your frickin’ Corona ponchos away from the doors, none of us will actually be able to exit the train, in which case you will never get to hear the sweet soulful sounds of Patti LaBelle.
d.While I’m really excited that you’re going to see Bobby McFerrin and the Beach Boys all in one night, if your picnic basket hits my kneecap one more time, I will set it on fire. I carry matches in my bag just for moments like this.
That one guy
So finally, there’s always that one guy who, through no real fault of his own, just annoys the shit out of you. Okay, out of me. He annoys the shit out of me. In my case, it’s that one guy who looks like Harry Potter.
I mean, first of all, what grown man goes out of his way to make himself look like Harry Potter? Now, come on. Those glasses? Why don’t you just get yourself a wand and a lightning bolt scar and call it a day?
I honestly can’t help it – he doesn’t deserve my rage – I know that. He’s just minding his own wizardly business… oh, wait. Except for the part where he always has to call his wife/girlfriend/whatever and get all schmoopy woopy with her because apparently he can’t bear to live without the sound of her voice FOR THE THIRTEEN MINUTES IT TAKES TO GET FROM DOWNTOWN TO MY STOP where she then picks him up.
I’m not a praying woman, but please lord, let me never be so dependent upon another human being that I cannot somehow occupy myself for thirteen minutes without no-I-wuv-you-more and goo-goo ga-ga-ing with them on the phone in a public setting. Amen.
There are actually at least three to four more categories I could discuss, including the Seat Hoggers, Garbage Leavers, and Nail Clippers, but releasing this pent up rage into the universe has gotten me too worked up. Now I have to go back to drinking and smashing things.

28 Responses to “Rage in a Cage”

  1. Jessica Says:

    I just came by to say that I wuv you.
    Goo goo-ga ga,

  2. brandon Says:

    i like harry potter, too!
    wait, maybe i should read this post more closely.
    that guy

  3. jenny Says:

    Jess: BWAHAHA! Okay, so… you’re gonna pick me up at the train station tomorrow, right? Right?
    Brandon: No, you’re definitely not that guy. You’re that other guy – that one guy who pulls out a laptop and a flask of tequila and takes photos of people with his enormous camera for the 13 minute train ride. I like that guy.

  4. Dave2 Says:

    For me it’s the “stands-closer-than-necessary” guy. You know… the guy who, despite being on a mostly-empty train, simply has to be as close as to you as possible for reasons you don’t care to fathom.
    I’ve already written about “sloppy-drunken-bitch” girl… another train-riding classic. :-)

  5. rarity Says:

    For me it’s the sniffing idiot who *ssssnff* hasn’t heard of handcerchiefs (spelling.. please?) *sssnffhh* or paper towels… *sssnff*
    hillarious post!

  6. HarryWizardLover1992 Says:

    Hermione and I were on our way to Ravinia to see Weird Sisters. If we splashed our pumpkin juice margarita mix on you, you may be interested in this stain removal tip:

    1. Wait until third night after full moon
    2. Launch webcam session to HarryWizardLover1992
    3. Remove clothing. Slowly.
  7. mike Says:

    Two thoughts:
    Patti LaBelle, Bobby McFerrin, AND the Beach Boys? I can die happy now. Throw in a little James Taylor and I may prematurely evacuate (kudos on that term, btw… may you rock the urban dictionary)
    “Nail” clippers? E.w.w.w.

  8. kat Says:

    and THIS is why i moved to within walking distance of my office.

  9. jenny Says:

    Dave2: Ugh! I hate that guy! And his cousin, “Knee to knee toucher.” Hate them both.
    Rarity: HORRIBLE! Don’t you just want to pull out a box of Kleenex and hand it to those people?
    HWL1992: I think I saw Hermione making out with that red-headed kid. You’d better call her right now to make sure she still wuvs you!
    Mike: I’ll call you the next time Sweet Baby James performs there – remember to bring your Corona poncho!
    kat: Sounds dreamy!

  10. kapgar Says:

    Should you actually carry out that whole basket burning vendetta of yours, I will support you wholeheartedly. I might even throw some lighter fluid in the mix.

  11. shari Says:

    Revolving doors? They have those in Chicago? That’s it, I’m NEVER bringing my kids to a dangerous place like that. ;)

  12. Peggasus Says:

    You forgot Wears-Too-Much-Cologne-Woman (or man). Their stank can fill up an entire car, and linger for days.
    And how about Lean-My-Greasy-Oily-Head-Against-the-Window-Guy, the one that leaves the Brylcreem smudge. So gross.

  13. Fiorello La Guardia Says:

    Gosh, Jen, suddenly I can’t stop humming “People.”

  14. Cheryl Says:

    You should compile this info into a manual that can be handed out at the station to, um, perfectly nice people from places like L.A. who only take public transportation when they travel and, um, may have accidentally committed all of the afforementioned crimes except for the Harry-Potter-I-wuv-you one, because that’s just lame.

  15. jenny Says:

    kevin: I knew I could count on your support – just give me a heads-up before you squirt the lighter fluid on.
    shari: Yes, and we also have magical staircases that move up and down. It’s like living in outer space!
    Peggasus: Oh – I TOTALLY forgot the cologne-factor. I really should claim pregnancy with those people…
    Fio: Is that the “People… people who need people” song? Because I need people all right. I need them to learn how to ride a freakin’ train, is what I need!
    Cheryl: Say it ain’t so, kid! You? Smelly food eater? Premature evacuator? Lawn chair carryer? I refuse to believe it. You can ride the train in Chicago anytime you like.

  16. egan Says:

    Do you feel better now Jen? This is great, especially the Harry Potter guy. I dress up like a Milli Vanilli lead singer all the time. It’s fun for all.
    Oh, we don’t have revolving doors in Seattle. I think the first time I went through one was in NYC or Chicago. There’s no need for those bad boys here.

  17. ashbloem Says:

    Ah, Jenny. How I appreciate this rant, especially the damn food part. I have almost reached over, grabbed someone’s fucking gross greasy Burger King bag and threw it out the window on several occasions, only stopping myself because I suppose riding with that malodor is preferable to being beat up by the teenage loser who is eating it. BUT ONLY BARELY.
    I wuv you.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    Are there parts of the world that don’t have revolving doors?
    We have them, but here in the Southern Hemisphere they revolve the other way, just like our bathwater swirls down the plughole the other way. Maybe you’re just getting stuck behind Antipodeans, in which case just bark and you’ll be able to herd them in like sheep into a pen.

  19. the_editter Says:

    oops, that was me, from New Zealand.

  20. Strode Says:

    Here’s hoping today is a better day.

  21. Margaret Says:

    I’m impressed that even in your rage, you can still see your self as candy.

  22. jenny Says:

    Egan: As long as you only dress up like Milli – never Vanilli – I’m cool with that. And really? No revolving doors in Seattle? How is that possible?
    Ash: Yeah, you never want to mess with someone who’s all hopped up on bovine growth hormone. And no, I wuv you, my wittle shmoopsy woopsy bwogger wady fwiend… AAAGHHH!!
    Editter: Okay, now you’re just teasing me. They revolve backwards? I’d get stuck in every door! And then *I’d* be that person that people wrote about on their blogs – stupid backwards walking revolving door woman…
    strode: Well, actually I’m home sick, so in a way, yes it is a better day. No commuting, no commuters. :)
    Margaret: It is crucial that in times of crisis, we never lose our sense of self. My sense of self just happens to involve chocolate coating.

  23. Fiorello La Guardia Says:

    Just had to add: That Sicilian rage thing really looks good on you! I think I need to see this side of you more often.

  24. Tracy Lynn Says:

    Dude, sorry to hewar about the phone and internet suckage, and, as you well know, I am as one with any rage issues you may have.
    Oh yeah, and I tagged you.

  25. nicole Says:

    You just made me even more thankful for my short walk to work. What do people think? We had a guy cutting his TOE NAILS in the lobby of our theater. TOE NAILS.
    Hope your next commute is a pleasant one!

  26. Sarah Says:

    1. This post does nothing to make me feel sorry for you. Having to take that train every day means you get to live in Chicago. I would give anything to be sitting next to the triple onion burrito. Woe is me.
    2. You forgot my very favorite from my days of employment in Evanston…more grating than the Ravinia fans going north. The Northshore Cubs fans headed south to the big games. Oh dear God.

  27. Dop Says:

    Jen, I am right there with you. My person hell has occured during the beginning of Cubs night games. I transfer to the Red line at Fullerton. I only have to go two stops to get to Wrigley. But they are the longest two stops when the train is full of suburbanites visiting the city for a ballgame. They are loud. They are already drunk. And they don’t seem to understand that the rest of us actually had to work until 5:00 and don’t want to be included in their little party.

  28. TCho Says:

    My personal pet peeves are pole huggers and guys who site down but spread their legs as far apart as ergonomically possible, thereby taking up 3 seats and then get all this attitude when you try to site down.