Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Stunned And Staggered

I guess you haven't lived until you've run for a train. It was my brother's birthday last weekend, so I went to visit him in Ottawa. My train home was early Monday morning - leave at six, arrive at eight, digital communications assignment due at nine.

The alarm rang like an air raid siren. Ready to go? We stumble out the door into the dark. The alarm read 5:45 but the car reads 5:58. Shit. Speeding through the streets, we're stopped at the last light, train station in view. The radio says "Good Morning." and tells us it's five to six. One minute later, I'm in the station and the clock reads two past. Still stunned from being asleep mere minutes ago, I stagger to the kiosk and ask if the six o'clock has left. "Gate four." he says. "Run."

The contents of my bag: four articles of clothing, a camera with two lenses, two text books, one large notebook, a big fat old amplifier, a big rock (high in heavy metals, of questionable origin) and a bag of apples. The last three were loot from the trip. It must have weighed 65 pounds

I've never been a runner, and I'm wearing sandals - not done up, so I sprint down the escalator. Halfway through the tunnel, my sandal comes off - precious seconds lost. I reach the ramp and charge up it, Sisyphus heavy on my mind. At the top I see endless train on both sides. A woman with blond hair says: "All the way down! Run!" So I run, and my heart beats like hooves in a stampede. The air breathes like acid, but my goal is in sight. I clutch my bag to my chest like a leaden baby. "Don't hurt yourself." says the lady at the car - an older woman, a matriarch.

As I stagger aboard the train, still stunned from waking, she speaks into a radio: "Let's go. I've got the last runner."

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