Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Seen on the westbound Fullerton Bus at about 2:40 p.m., January 24th, 2011

Spring was on the bus today. Her rough and ragged hair was pulled straight up—thick, messy, light green sprouts bursting from the crown of her head. Her skin was pale, but underneath there was a ruddy tinge, the first signs of fresh, creative mud. She wore a blue scarf that flooded out of her gray coat, a sign of sunnier skies to come. Late April and May were already blooming at her feet; vivid puffballs of tulip pink, iris purple, and leafy green floated atop her daffodil converse. She pressed life and warmth and new beginnings into the ground wherever she walked.

This girl seriously had the best outfit ever. It was epic.

Monday, January 23, 2012


Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m.

The book lay open on Donny’s lap, but he was long since asleep. And it’s no wonder; with subject headings like “Session Interface” and “Transaction Interface” and “Query and Criteria Interface,” the computer book could not have been a thrilling read. Despite the fact that Donny enjoyed computer science, this particular tome probably wasn’t the smartest choice for an early morning train ride, when the tendrils of sleep were still wrapped around his brain.

Donny’s face twitched. He was dreaming, dreaming that the words from his book were morphing, dancing, sprouting legs and arms and hands and feet. Then there were three bodies that shared one giant face between them. They were inky black in front of a shining white background. They were female, and naked. Donny tried to keep his eyes on their face.

“Yes?” they enquired.

“Um…” Donny wasn’t quite sure what to do. Wait. Query. That was a word he remembered. He had to ask a question.

“Can I stay here with you?”

Donny covered his mouth in surprise. That was not the question he thought he’d ask.

Their face lowered its eyes and sadly replied, “I’m afraid not.”

“This is Davis,” a man’s voice interrupted, tinny over the speakers. Donny shuddered awake, got off the train, and went to work.

Sorry for the relatively slow updates. I've been doing some rather large projects at work. It is annoying. Anyway, I'm going to head home so I can work out and go swing dancing. And before you ask: no, I don't really know what the dream means. I just tried to write something that sounded dream-like. I leave it open to your interpretation...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Future Fable

I want to write down a story my grandmother used to tell me when I was little.

“In the old days, the whole world was engulfed in an invisible blizzard. The snow was not visible to the naked eye, and the people could not feel it or catch it with their tongues because each snowflake was made of an idea. Words, pictures, numbers, sounds all furiously blustered and tumbled together in the air, and when they fell to the ground they melted and mingled and became new ideas. There was so much snow that it even seeped between window panes and beneath doors and filled their homes. The blizzard was constant, and magnificent, and many thought it would never end.

Although people could not physically see the blizzard, they could see it if they had access to an electric brain. The electric brains came in many shapes and sizes, and with the help of one of these devices, a person could see any individual snowflake at any time, or even multiple snowflakes at once. Because the electric brains allowed people to play in the snow, society flourished. Great business deals were struck, new products were invented, knowledge of all varieties was made readily available, lovers were introduced, friends and family were able to keep in touch, songs were heard, face-to-face conversations were happening between people on opposite sides of the globe, art was sold, literature was shared, celebrity was gained, news was spread, protests and revolutions were organized—and all this could happen in a manner of weeks, days, hours.

Certain powerful people, however, feared the blizzard. They hated it because they could not own the snowflakes, and because other people were using the blizzard to challenge their authority. The powerful ones were wealthy, and they promised their money and their support to the leaders of the people, as long as those leaders promised to destroy the blizzard. The leaders were greedy, and they sacrificed what was best for the people at the behest of the powerful ones. Slowly but steadily, laws were written, fines were issued, people were imprisoned, and the blizzard finally dissipated. Without the blizzard, the electric brains were no longer useful, and the people set them aside. Society was no longer as vibrant, for ideas were no longer easily shared, and innovation was not valued.

Society will remain this way, slouched and sluggish, until the blizzard returns.”

As you can probably tell, this story is not about someone I saw on the CTA today. I wrote this story to voice my opposition to PIPA and SOPA. The internet we know and love is under attack, and it's important that we fight to preserve it. If you don't know a lot about PIPA and SOPA, educate yourself. Then sign a petition, and/or contact your Senators and Representatives

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Seen on the Purple Line to the Loop at about 5:15 p.m., January 16th, 2012 

The ring was more than obvious, its diamond gracefully extending from her finger, shining in the dingy, fluorescent light. Ever since he proposed, Pam had got into the habit of resting her left hand on top of her right so she could more easily see the physical representation of that sweet, awe-inspiring promise. It always made her heart swell and beat proudly against her lungs and stomach. But lately it made her heart ache, too.

Pam kept her left hand on top, but she closed her eyes, avoiding the glare. They were supposed to get married last summer, but he lost his job, and they couldn’t do much with her teacher’s salary. Her parents didn’t think he was good enough, and even some of her friends were starting to not-so-subtly insinuate that she could do better; it irritated her, but it was starting to get to him on a deeper level.

The other night, Pam was watching TV while he browsed for jobs. In the middle of a cheap commercial for fast cash advances, he suddenly clapped his laptop shut, fell to his knees in front of her, and demanded the ring back. He couldn’t provide for her, he said. She said she didn’t care. It’s no good, he said. He tried to pry it off her finger, and she slapped him. The ring left a hot, red mark on his face. He was quiet. She kissed his cheek.

Pam opened her eyes and stared at the pristine stone, so precisely cut, and she thought perhaps it was an inept symbol for something so messy. Or maybe not. Diamonds are beautiful, dazzling, and worth a great deal; but they are hard, and sharp, and they can cut.

Hello all. I've been doing so many things! Swing dancing like a nut. Went ice skating the other day and didn't fall down. Writing group tonight. Busy, busy, busy. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. 

I actually think diamonds are ugly...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m. 

Leonard is a plain young man, made even plainer by his shapeless haircut and his drab gray coat. He wouldn’t be noticeable at all were it not for the fact that Lady Gaga’s “You and I” is blasting from his headphones. He doesn’t look like the type, and he doesn’t want to look like the type; he’d be mortified to know that everyone on the train is now aware of his musical guilty pleasure. Happily for Leonard, he doesn’t know. Thus, the musical number in his head continues. He stands before an old-fashioned microphone, hundreds of thousands of fans screaming in front of him. He is decked head to toe in sequins and feathers; he is resplendent. He smiles as he belts the bridge:

“We got a whole lot of money, but we still pay rent
‘Cause you can’t buy a house in heaven.
There’s only three men that I’ma serve in my whole life
And that’s my daddy, and Nebraska, and Jesus Christ.”

He basks in the warm roar of the crowd. He is loved.

Wooo! Done with work. Taco family dinner night tonight. Delicious.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Seen on the Brown Line to Kimball at about 7:10 p.m., January 4th, 2012 

Angie’s head is tilted forward, the lower half of her face completely swaddled in her thick, orange-flowered pashmina, like the world’s most fashionable freedom-fighter. Her eyebrows are crinkled together, and the folds in her forehead practically spell out the word “pensive.” The train is delayed; she shoves disdainful thoughts about the CTA to the back of her brain and shuffles the evening’s schedule in her head.

It is getting late. Maybe it would be better to eat, then do her Zumba DVD, then get to work. Angie normally likes to exercise before eating, to go easy on her stomach, but now she’s sort of hungry. Sort of. To be honest, at this point she is tempted to chuck dinner and Zumba out the window and simply lose herself in the tearing. She can’t wait to hold her special project down with one arm, ripping it straight down the middle when she jerks her other arm unmercifully backward. Angie loves the feeling of shredding it, of slicing it, of pulling apart each fiber. She revels in the power of it, the power of destruction, the power of creation.

Angie pulls the dress pattern out of her purse and spreads it on her lap. She pictures the pile of old thrift store clothes she picked up the other day, and imagines how she will make them new. 

Well, I tried to get off to a good start in 2012. Fail. Work kind of kicked my ass at the end of last week, and yesterday I had a horrible migraine and did not actually leave the house. I wrote this story on my way to go-go practice last week. Pseudo New Year's Resolution: I'm going to really get better at swing dancing this year. I've already been twice. Last night I learned to Charleston, and I sort of learned to Lindy Hop. That needs much more practice. But I'll get there. Someday. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Tiffany; Martin

Tiffany: Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:30 a.m., December 22nd, 2011

I saw him again. Or at least I thought so. But the train was moving so fast…No! No, it must have been him. I’d recognize that ass anywhere. God, why am I still thinking about his ass? Why am I still looking for him at all? He doesn’t deserve my searching eyes or my longing heart. After what he did, he deserves nothing but scorn. Actually, total indifference would be better, since that’s how he behaved toward me. But indifference met with indifference isn’t much of anything, is it? I want him to hurt. I want him to regret it. I want him to come back.

I’m not crazy for trying to find him, right? It has to be a natural response when someone leaves you without a word. Especially after being so close. I was so worried at first. Where could he have gone? I just wanted to die when his mother told me she had heard from him, that he was well. Well without me. I wonder how he thought I’d do without him. I wonder if he ever looks for me. I wouldn’t even know what to say if I ran into him.

He was waiting for the Red Line at Wilson. Is that where he lives now? Maybe he’s found someone else, and that’s where she lives. Maybe it wasn’t him. 

Martin: Seen on the Purple Line to Linden at about 8:40 a.m., December 30th, 2011

Wisdom drips from the crevice of Martin’s brow, rolls along his hooked nose, and finally splatters on the pages of his book. His ears stick out, curved with experience; the sounds of many years—whispered affections, school lessons, announcements of war, factory gears, seagulls, opera, rock ‘n’ roll, news reports, children laughing, shrieks, narration—have made them grow big and thick. Whereas the mouths of some old men are pursed with discomfort and disdain for modernity, Martin’s are slack with acceptance. But his too-prominent cheekbones and the pillowy bags beneath his small, dark eyes betray his exhaustion.

Sorry for the long break! The holidays and a bout of stomach flu will do that to you. Not so much fun. Anyway, I'll hopefully be back in the swing of things from here on out.