I've been pretty lucky to not get stopped at train crossings, and living on south hill, that's lucky! As of late, I've not only been stopped at them, I end up sitting and waiting for the ones that seem to take FOREVER!
In one day, last week, I was stopped at three different times of the day. A total of 45 minutes of my day was spent sitting in my vehicle staring mindlessly at passing train cars.
Here, is a peek inside my 25 minute wait at the first train:
For once, I was going to make it to the office by 8 a.m. This rarely happens. In my morning routine, something always seems to put me behind schedule.
THIS time, I was going to be not only on time, but early.
I made my run to Tim Horton's as I do every morning and on the way to the office, I see a train heading east. I look at the clock in my vehicle and its 7:45 a.m.
Yes! I'm still going to make it on time.
As I turn the corner, the railway crossing arm comes down, the engine fires off the siren and it passes through the crossing.
So I sit. A few minutes later, I shift my vehicle in park. It is now 7:51 a.m.
The train crawls through the crossing now. It seems to have slowed down. Usually, I marvel at all the brightly coloured graffiti that covers the train cars. But this train is graffiti-less and boring to watch.
Now I start talking to the train. "What? Why are you stopping? You aren't a long train, but for some reason, today you are the endless link of handkerchiefs being dragged out of the pocket of a goofy-looking clown. I know there's an end to you...but how much more of you is there?"
Rewind. Now the train is backing up.
I look to my left and see a man standing waiting for the train. I think to myself, "CP Rail should really put in benches or shelters similar to bus stops for the pedestrians."
This is a long wait to be standing, with nothing to do but shift your weight from side to side, hands in pockets, watching the same boring graffiti-less cars.
It is now 8:02 a.m. - I'm officially two minutes late.
Through the spaces between the cars, I can see two lanes of vehicles lined up on Government Road past Bison Avenue. I wonder what other people think about when in their vehicles stopped at trains.
Mesmerized by the clanking and dinging of the train, I start thinking about hopping on a car and taking a cross-country tour, about how I used to count cars from the backseat of my parents vehicle and about the talent of graffiti artists.
The crossing arm goes up. I snap out of my day dream, back to reality. Put the car in drive and continue on to the office.
I miss waving at the caboose.