Thursday, September 17, 2009

And Down the Stretch He Comes!

Train stations. They're wonderful Microcosms of Life: You can study behavior there. You can shop there. You can eat there. You can sleep there. You can catch a ride there. You can hang out there. You can people-watch there. You can get lost there - either accidentally or on purpose. And you can be entertained there.

Now, the great thing about Train Station Entertainment is that, sometimes, you find the entertainment. And sometimes, it finds you. Like that one time, when we ventured outside of Chez Wheedleton for a trip to The Big Apple for the day. We like to visit New York City, and most of the time, we travel by train - because hanging out in train stations in The City That Never Sleeps is far from ordinary, and rarely dull.

So, there we were: waiting, waiting, waiting for the arrival/departure board to show our train's status. Remember, we here at Chez Wheedleton are easily entertained. But this time, the entertainment found us when Handsome Boy spotted a humongous cockroach. Humongous! (Seriously. That thing could've picked up a small mammal and hauled it off to its secret lair without even breaking stride.)

Anyway, Handsome Boy jumped up from his seat, shrieked, "Look, Daddy! A cockroach!" and pointed to a spot on the floor about fifty feet away. There he sat: Mr. Humongous Roach. Let's call him Hugh for short.

So, Hugh was perfectly still, sizing up the rolling bag resting next to the feet of an Unsuspecting Young Woman. We barely contained our giggles as we each took turns narrating what Hugh must have been saying to himself as he contemplated this potential travel conveyance, then darted out of sight beneath it. We tittered as we imagined the scene when this Unsuspecting Young Woman opened her bag later and discovered her stowaway. And we groaned with disappointment when Hugh suddenly scurried back out from under her bag.

Our spirits lifted again when Hugh moved on to potentially greener pastures: a rather large suitcase was sitting on the floor a mere five feet away - but guarded by a Rather Large Man. Go for it, Hugh! we urged, trying to muffle our guffaws. You can do it! Then, zip! Hugh disappeared beneath the rather large suitcase. We cackled as we imagined the Rather Large Man screaming like a Very Tiny Girl when Hugh greeted him as he unpacked later. But alas, it was not meant to be, since once again Hugh came scrambling back out the other side.

By this time, Hugh's prospects were mighty dim. People had started picking up their bags from the floor as the arrival/departure board began lighting up with arriving train notices. Hugh frantically scurried toward one bag after another, only to have his efforts thwarted when each bag was snatched up and carried away. We felt for Hugh. And we were a wee bit sad that Hugh would not complete his adventurous travel quest.

Hugh must have realized the same thing, because he began to skitter toward the safety of the floor beneath the line of chairs opposite us. But between him and it was five feet of shiny train station corridor. He skittered back and forth, in a quandry. We decided he needed some more encouragement: Go, Hugh! Go! we cried. You can make it! Hugh rattled about a bit longer, then took the plunge.

By now, we were laughing out loud as we took turns giving the play-by-play of Hugh's journey toward the safety of the chairs. We cheered at his every thrust forward. We commiserated with every setback. Yet overall, things were looking good for Hugh - until the arrival/departure board posted the dreaded "all aboard," and a crush of people began barreling down the corridor...straight toward Hugh. We covered our eyes, but peeked through our fingers as he bobbed and weaved and dodged the feet and wheels and canes and things that people dropped. We shrieked at his close calls, and cheered him on as he popped in and out of view.

Finally, he was only inches from the chairs. We were giddy with glee. He's gonna make it! He's gonna make it! Go, Hugh! Go-go-go-go!

And then, just as he got to the edge of the chair row, a pointy high heel sent him spinning out of control. He bounced like a pinball from sneaker to business loafer to boot, and then a great big shoe came rolling by: Heel. Toe. Gone.

And Hugh was nowhere to be seen.

"I lost him, Mom. Where did he go?" asked Lovely Girl, squinting out at the floor of the now-clearing corridor.

She didn't see where he went. And neither did Handsome Boy. But I did. "I think he's hitching a ride on that guy's shoe, kiddo."

Unfortunately, he was riding on the bottom of that shoe.

So long Hugh. And thanks for the memories.

1 comment:

  1. You. are. cool.

    Seriously, I loved this story. It made me wish you were my mom for a split second. lol

    Although I have to admit, I would've been screaming like a little girl if Hugh had come anywhere near me. I hate bugs. I even freak out when ladybugs are on me. *feels like going to take a shower because her imagination just kicked in and suddenly I feel like something is crawling on me*

    Thanks for the reminder that even everyday things have the potential for entertainment and wonder.


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