Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Mom Jr.

If I'm getting on the westbound bloor line, I always get in the front car of the train. After years of subway riding, I've finally gained that magic, stress-reducing transit rider's sixth sense: how to ensure you get on the train in the exact right spot to spit you out in front of the escalator at your destination station. Seriously, is there anything better than the doors opening and you're the closest to the escalator or stairs, thereby avoiding the aggravating crush of your fellow passengers? ANYWAY, I was at Christie Station earlier this evening, and I had to wait for the train. No biggie - gave me plenty of time to walk to my preferred end of the platform to await my ride. I had no book to read, my ipod batteries are dead, and I've yet to master knitting standing up, so I was basically just standing on the platform, spacing out. As you do.

So I'm standing there, dreaming of my apartment and the oh-so-cozy duvet that awaits me, and I gradually became aware of someone approaching my area. There wasn't another soul on either platform, except this slowly approaching dude, and myself. Not usually a problem, except this was a very strange dude. He came to a stop about 30 feet to my left, then began to stare at his feet and carefully side-step along the lines in the floor tile until he was about three feet directly behind me. I never thought I would curse my hard-earned transit sense, but there I was - alone and trapped at the end of Christie station with a....well, a possibly weird dude.

Thankfully, our train's headlight was now apparent at the far end of the station. And that's when I did the most ridiculous thing I've ever done. I suddenly had this overwhelming conviction that this person behind me was planning to push me off the platform into the path of the oncoming train. No idea why, but an honest-to-god sense of absolute, every-man-for-himself terror washed over me, and I grabbed my shopping bags and quickly did a side-step or two myself and walked until my back was touching the wall, where I stood, heart racing, until the possibly weird dude got on the train and the train departed.

Now before you write me off as a complete hoser, you have to realize something - my mother is the sort of woman who wears her purse strap over her shoulder and then clutches the purse in both hands and holds it directly beneath her boobs whenever she is in public. You know, just in case someone tries to grab it. The same woman who taught me to walk at night with my keys in the palm of my hand and stick the key's themselves between the cracks in my fingers like a sort of primitive set of brass knuckles. The same woman who can calculate in her head, within fifty cents, the exact price of her shopping cart full of groceries, including tax. The same woman who has every single piece of tupperware, spaghetti jar, or margarine container that has ever passed through her home because WHAT IF SHE NEEDS IT ONE DAY.

Tonight, standing alone on the westbound platform at Christie station, watching the tail lights of what should have been the train to reunite me with my duvet grow faint in the distance, I came to terms with the fact that I had just pulled a "mom". I came to the realization that I, too, will one day worry and call my child every single time I hear of something bad in the news that happened within 100km of their abode. I will save tupperware and clutch my purse and ask questions about the families of friends and boyfriends, and cut out job ads for company's that are close to my home town to entice my family to live nearer. I will teach them to stick keys between their knuckles and keep their head up when they're walking, and basically do everything in my power, no matter how crazy, to keep them safe.

The guy, the possibly weird guy on the platform tonight is most likely innocent of any malicious thoughts involving me and the oncoming train. I know that, you know that, even my mom knows that. But regardless, I have now officially turned into my mother...and to tell you the truth, I'm totally okay with that.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ers, I have to say that any child you have will be incredibly lucky to have you as a mom.

I mean, you do tons of thoughtful things for me and I'm just a friend that you barely ever get to see. You take an interest in what's going on with me, you go out of your way to say a kind word and you email me links and notices about events you know I'd be interested in.

I'm glad you're OK with seeing your mother in yourself. And I really wish I had her shopping cart ability.

12:33 AM  
Anonymous cmh said...

That sounds freaky. Good for you for getting out of it.

9:30 AM  
Blogger ers said...

Thanks guys - I really had to laugh at myself for being so paranoid. (Keltie - the shopping cart math is something I wish I had too!)

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Oh Berin, such a cute story! lol

12:34 PM  
Anonymous roro said...

Listen, Berin, I'm right there with you. And if you'd started bashing that guy with your purse, then you'd have become MY mother.

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wonderfully told. I should get you to write for the Toronto Guy - if and when I start him up

10:40 PM  
Blogger ers said...

Thanks cupcake!!

12:41 PM  
Blogger my name is kate said...

ers .. i just read this and i thought "OMG .. I'm not ALONE!" A number of my friends have chalked-up my suspicious nature and subsequent behaviour to my American upbringing (you Yanks are so suspicious). But clearly, it isn't so. Great post!

3:34 PM  

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