Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ordwell on the Purple Line, part 1

The tracks began to tremble, tremble, and the commuters’ feet, not so athletic, stayed in one place, so the commuters trembled, trembled as well. Giant fans were that day plugged into the wall at the subway station, and the outlets had dirt and grime all over them as a reminder that one is not at home yet.

Mr. Ordwell dreaded summer each year. After all, the weather got much warmer, and his clothing as perennial as it was, wasn’t used to adapting to new circumstances, such as heat. The air, odors, and particles in the MBTA Customer Service booth tumbled like a gymnast each time a train approached. Everything up in the air! The only smooth landings from the ruckus were the flaps of a certain oversized jacket as they wafted back towards the large hips from which they had leaped when the frenzy was over. They had the advantage of being attached to Mr. Ordwell, who was the expert on such things as train wafts; the foul scents of the tracks often wafted towards, and then hovered over, his lunch each day.

Mr. Ordwell knew so much about train wafts probably because he knew so much about trains. He could identify a train using any combination of two senses: eyes and ears, nose and taste, eyes and touch, or nose and touch, et cetera. But one day, with his eyes and nose peeled, Mr. Ordwell had to open up a third sense as well: his ears. The train that was approaching didn’t smell like dill weed, as the 3:55 Green Line train normally did after Gardner Guttenberg got on.


[An ending?] He returned home, a place where he was very glad to be, not because it was a place that provided him the reasons for a complete contentment, but because it was at least not anywhere near as strange as the regions he’d passed through that day on his altogether unexpected excursion on the Violet Line. All rides on that branch must be unplanned, he thought to himself as he took slowly the three steps to his dingy door. If they were planned, I would have seen them on the schedule! Then he was in the door, and if not happy to be home than happy he was not elsewhere.

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