Pains, trains, and automobiles

At my workplace the administration decided to implement parking fees to the tune of $400 per year through payroll deduction. After working there for more than a decade with free parking I was less than enthusiastic upon hearing this news. It was optional, meaning if you didn't pay you couldn't park on the premises. The only way around this was to find a spot on the many side streets nearby. We were given a few week's notice before the fee went into effect so I had time to troll around the neighborhood to seek a precious "free" parking space.

I was actually successful in finding a couple of streets with forgiving stretches of fee free areas. Most other streets had 2-hour maximums. One such spot that I use the most when it's not taken already is literally half a block away; an easy 2 minute walk. That short jaunt has a pair of major train tracks that carry thundering commuter and freight trains all day long. Occasionally I'll get temporarily stranded waiting for a freight train that seems to stretch for miles.

I walk across the tracks on a daily basis to and from my vehicle. Along a rod iron fence that separates the sidewalk from the track area is a makeshift shrine to a young man that was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Friends and family cemented an ornate, white rod iron cross along the fence indicating the general area where the tragedy happened. It's surrounded by artificial flowers, candles, beer cans, rosaries, and even live plants growing from the ground. A laminated photo of the deceased hangs off the cross. He was hispanic, looked to be in his early 20s and was somehow killed there on September 11, 2010. Not a good day for many people. Today as I walked by it I noticed a handwritten sign that read "Happy Father's Day Mikey." I thought, my God, he was a dad. What the hell was he doing wandering around railroad tracks? Why wasn't he with his kid or kids? Most likely he was in a drunken stupor, either alone or partying with friends. Foolish waste.

From time to time when I take my daily stroll across the tracks, sometimes I'll stop and stare at the tracks themselves. My eyes follow the tracks to their vantage point, each side angling toward the other then meeting at the horizon. I'll have a momentary flash of hope that a train will come out of nowhere and instantly take me and my pain away. It wouldn't be suicide. It would be an "unfortunate accident." It will never happen but I can't seem to control disturbing thoughts like these. It's troublesome and just part of the game I have to play every day.


  1. That parking arrangement seems like robbery!

    I wish you didn't have to play this game, but I hope that you keep trying. I'll save the platitudes and just say I can empathize.

  2. Sometimes I think it would be wonderful to be hit by a car, but what if I'm only seriously injured and become a bigger burden. So I always jump out of the way.

  3. One must also think of the driver of the vehicle that you've chosen to take your life in front of. It makes it all the more selfish and transmits your tragedy into theirs. Better off to just take a handful of pills and go to sleep, hopefully forever.