It's not hard to get addicted to public transportation, which is one reason I am somewhat apprehensive about moving to an area of Dallas that is not accessible by rail. Boarding a train, unhindered by other drivers, coasting down the silky metal tracks, barreling through tunnels and finally arriving just a stones-throw from the office is like a drug coursing through my veins. It's so soothing to know that I am not at the whim of other drivers, and that my transportation has a schedule free from highway gridlock. It's mass transit freedom; it's bliss.
With my creamy cup of Cafe DuMonde doused with hazelnut creme I jogged from the bus stop to the platform and climbed into the train car and took my seat next to an Indian woman sheathed in an emerald trenchcoat, clutching a local tabloid daily. I settled in and opened Collected Stories of Carson McCullers. We glided through the city under the cloud-dappled morning sky clad with sky scrapers and a horizon cut with highways. People, buildings filling with workers and streets supporting cars and hurried drivers -- everyone had a destination, and by 10 a.m., the downtown thoroughfares are calm, the traffic has cleared and Dallas rests in a mid-morning lull.
There are so many sights from the window of a train car that I feel privy to the lives of a visually fascinating few. A woman walking to the West End in a sweater of a salmon shade and chinos with a delicate crease clutching a small leather bag and a panicked Siamese -- my imagination takes hold and to me she's cradling and cooing her sweet child that shares her lonely downtown abode. They're returning from a harrowing trip to the veterinarian and there's a cool can of tuna waiting for her spoiled companion. The Siamese is the only presence that assuages her loneliness. The Siamese is her defining grace, sharing her life and the remnants of her sanity, of her 30-something charm.
I hop off of the train, giddy from my fantasy, I wave to the conductor and he toots his horn. Skirting the platform as the train disembarks, my Dallas morning leaves port.