Reconstructed journal: November 23, 2011

This post was taken from a daily prompt from a LONG time ago, but thinking about the prompt made me want to give a specific story, from a time when the seat-mate wasn’t “just there,” but was engaging in conversation and seemed nice enough as a vigil.

Yes, indeed. The date from this journal is one day after The Crash II.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

After a surprisingly sound sleep considering how my mind was racing last night, I woke up at 06:40. I suffered no ill effects of the crash last night–didn’t wake up in the hospital again, didn’t find myself on a bathroom floor, etc. The sun was shining, as the rain from last evening had dissipated.

My breakfast was reminiscent of what I would occasionally have at home anyway–I had yogurt and Grape-Nuts. While I was eating, I chatted with Alan, Menucha, J., and G., to whom I was incredibly grateful for allowing me to stay over in a pinch. Desperate situations like yesterday call for desperate measures, and there was no way I was going to risk a problem sleeping in my roommateless Engelhart unit.

Given how lucid I was, both last night and this morning, Alan, who previously served in the IDF, told me that I was likely in the clear since I seemed normal. It’s good to have friends who have been around people that have suffered major trauma.

He drove me back to Engelhart at around 08:30, and I then called Mom for an update as to how I was feeling. The good news is that I seem to be okay other than the headache and  shoulder pain that I am suffering. I also posted the following message on Facebook:

I. AM. SO. LUCKY. Was biking last night, got HIT by a turning car head-on, and my helmet saved me. CT scans showed no problems and I’m just a little sore.

Likes and comments poured in, and continued to appear (that is, considering my previous interaction with social media). I’m glad that I have a strong social network! [By the end of that weekend, it had garnered 14 likes and 31 comments.]

Needless to say, the first thing I did after getting home was to start filling out an incident report. Mom said that I should also do some research on the prices of my bike repair, lost batteries and broken headlamp, as well as other items that might have been damaged or destroyed. I’m glad my glasses were intact!

Shifting gears, I opened my box of Noble Victories cards, and seemed to get a pretty good haul. I also filled out information for the print runs that Nick15 on the ‘Gym forums is interested in researching. It’s a fascinating thing to look into that sort of pattern.

Shortly thereafter, I rode the L so as to get to Union Station. I’m so glad that I was going to Milwaukee anyway today for the Thanksgiving weekend. On the Purple and Red Lines, I chatted with some Skokie residents, and the conversations included, first, the flat-out “I was hit by a car last night, so please seek emergency attention for me if I start behaving erratically.” I didn’t behave erratically, and we chatted about Birthright.

When I transferred to the Brown Line, it stalled briefly between Armitage and Sedgwick. I was not in a terrible hurry, but it’s still annoying to play the hurry-up-and-wait game. It allowed me to do a little bit of journaling. At Quincy, I de-trained, walked down the stairs, and with a little pain near the right knee, walked the few blocks to Union Station. The shoulder was also hurting significantly, but as I’ve said many times before, I have a high tolerance for pain which originates from the outside.

Once in Union Station, I continued my tradition of getting Nuts on Clark before taking a train or plane out of here. The caramelcorn was excellent, and I just hope that an injury means that I shouldn’t eat certain foods. I suffered no ill effects, so clearly there was no problem. I think I worry too much about effects on my body [which is the antithesis of my blog title!]

My phone kept buzzing with comments and likes of my status. I wonder what it means for people to like a post  that has a negative thing. I’ve heard that it’s usually a “I feel for you” or “Hope you are okay.” [Later, I posted a post about Likes and Comments on social media.]

Eventually, the train boarded, and it was packed. I sat in the middle of one of the cars, taking the window seat. Just like what happened on the L, I was the first one to strike up a conversation with this person. Her name was Micha, and we got into conversations about our memories. Of course, I first divulged my injury situation, heaven forbid I start acting weird. (As if I am not already weird enough 🙂 )

She is a student at Le Cordon Bleu, a culinary school in Chicago, which I have seen many advertisements for on the L. I never realized how much training prospective chefs must undergo, and how challenging professional cooking is. It’s not something that I would do well, (a) because I’m not THAT sort of a details person, and (b) though I have gotten more adventurous in eating, there are still many foods that I won’t eat.

She is from a small community north of Milwaukee, and while we were chatting, she had a few alcoholic drinks. Evidently her grandmother has not approved of some of her decisions, and so there was an air of dread of the Thanksgiving weekend for her. The idea of dreading family time is foreign to me, but my family (or MY personal situation) is probably a rarity in that I get along with everyone.

She related to me her times in Vegas, with her somewhat eclectic life. Toxic relationships and exes, time in clubs, and various other topics were part of this conversation. I didn’t feel threatened at all by this, but perhaps mystified or intrigued. I told her my story of Vegas simply being one of going to some shows and doing a little bit of gaming, but not getting into clubs or hookers.

Her conversation about her former relationships made me mention that I had never had a girlfriend (of course, I was not trying to make one right here and now–I mentioned that I would rather have a platonic friendship develop into something more). She seemed shocked by this, as she claimed that I was good-looking, smart, and a good listener. I suppose that is true, but another relationship quality that I don’t currently possess is assertiveness for requests.

We were somewhere between Glenview and Sturtevant at this point, and I was starting to get a little yawny. I wouldn’t normally be tired at this time, but the racing mind is wearing me down. Thus, I chose to take a nap, asking her to watch over me in case I started acting weird. I used the Speed Sleep MP3, and effectively took my 25-minute nap. The remainder of the train ride was uneventful, but I’m glad that I had a seatmate who was willing to chat with me and be a vigil. I love train rides and meeting people, even if those meetings are usually one-and-dones. You never know when they might reappear in your life!

We arrived at the Milwaukee intermodal station, and then Jason, Ilana, and Jared were there. This was my first time meeting Jared, who is Ilana’s boyfriend. I hope that my injury situation doesn’t give him a bad first impression of one of Ilana’s cousins! I still feel like myself, and I’ll be as much “myself” as I can be this weekend. (How is that difficult anyway?)

After a short drive along Lake Drive, we arrived at Aunt Soni’s house. I hugged everyone (i.e. Aunt Soni, Gramma Lea, Papa, and Aaron) there, and had some water. It was about 15:00 at this point, and it was too early for dinner. Therefore, we sat around the living room talking about sports, bars, family, and many more topics. I decided that before dinner,  I should probably take a shower. Thankfully, though it was painful to move my shoulder, I still somehow managed to wash off without screaming bloody murder.

After I dried off and got dressed, the conversations continued. But, nothing really resonated for me. That’s okay–it’s understandable considering how my mind would still be racing. Eventually, we decided to leave for dinner, and ate at Water Buffalo downtown. It’s a restaurant on the river, just like when we went to John Hawk’s Pub two years ago. That’s a good tradition, I think! The ambiance was dark, but it was quite charming. Our seats were in an alcove that overlooked the river–certainly prime real estate within the restaurant.

The conversations continued, and it was mostly listening to Ilana and Jared talking about life in big cities (i.e., New York). Discussions of dinky apartments came up–comparing the alcove that we were in to the average size of an apartment in New York. Wow–and I thought Engelhart was small! I didn’t really get to know Jared that well, but maybe I’ll be able to talk with him more tomorrow or later tonight. Nothing from these conversations were too much to write home about, but I still enjoyed them.

I got salmon stuffed with spinach, mixed veggies, and rice. It was an excellent combination of food, and I liked it a lot. And to think that I would never have liked this four years ago or so. Perhaps there is something about talking with a culinary student earlier today! While I was eating, I also heard a song that I haven’t heard in a long time– Lullaby by Shawn Mullins. Mom strongly dislikes this song, and I’m not a big fan either. But, sometimes hearing the songs that you don’t like will bring up conversation or salience anyway!

After we finished eating, we returned to Whitefish Bay via the freeway. But Uncle Jess made a wrong turn–YAY! That means (a) I’m on a Weiss Vacation (TM) and (b) he still drives like a maniac!

Back in Aunt Soni’s living room, we enjoyed the evening. Conversation topics spanned the gamut, and I got some chances to talk with Jared in the circle of conversations. Some of our family traditions came up, as well as good memories of yesteryear. Clearly, our quirks came out in full bloom. Neuro tests were also administered for free, as well as a return of Papa’s Dr. Hairbrain costume. Yay!

I called Dad at one point, and told him about my bike. He said that I am likely looking at a totaled bike, because the dent makes it unsafe to ride. I’ll take it to Turin next week, and I hope that they agree. During this break, I also took some Tylenol. I’m glad that I had some spare liquid Tylenol from a while ago–it’s still effective! And I’ve still got that complex about swallowing pills.

These conversations continued until about 23:00, when everyone decided to call it a night. I got to sleep in the den area, since all of the beds were otherwise accounted for. Wow, it’s been a long day. See you in the morning!

>> TO BE CONTINUED…

===============================================

Thanksgiving Day: 3 days.

Finals Week: 24 days.

Joint Mathematics Meetings: 44 days.

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This post is in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Middle Seat.”

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