Monday, January 29, 2007
A COLD WEATHER STALKING
It’s finally cold. Cold makes me think of Chicago, of course. Freezing, waiting for the train. What kind of crazy city planner puts exterior trains in a city as cold as Chicago?
I was sort of stalked once. I was on a train in Chicago, a redline train which, for those of you who have never lived there, is the train where they keep all the crazy people. The train stopped, I remember—I mean, it halted between stops. We were all just sitting there, helplessly waiting in that inter-stop netherworld. The crazies were getting restless. A man with a bucket kept singing “I have no shoes, I’ve got the blues” in a reggae style. I was reading a book, as is my wont, trying to ignore the tense unrest of my fellow passengers as we sat on a train going nowhere.
Some men consider a woman who is reading or writing to be an open target (For further evidence of this phenomenon, please see my very first blog entry). The freaky-midwest-serial-killer-type who sat down next to me was no exception. “What are you reading?” He kept asking. “Is it good? What other books do you like? Why?” It was as if he had just finished reading an article in FHM magazine entitled Ask her questions about herself and ten other ways to get a stranger into bed. I tried to pretend that I didn’t speak English, but my English book sort of blew that cover. I tried ignoring him, he kept on. I tried excusing myself, politely requesting to be left alone. He was having none of it. And there was nowhere to go, you see, as we were stuck, as I said, on a immobile El train. So I sat for a long time and just endured. I stared blankly at my book and comforted myself with the knowledge that I would never again have to see any of these people—not the crack heads or conspiracy theorists, not the amateur rappers or the shoeless reggae singer, and definitely not the serial killer who droned on incessantly for the duration of the train’s respite from its south-bound, late night journey. I would never have to see him again.
Three days later he showed up at my office.
I was working as a Field Manager for an environmental organization. He showed up to canvas for clean air. Somewhere the Fates, those wretched bitches, were cracking up.