I take the train sometimes.
Living in Philadelphia, which you’ll frequently hear me refer to as Trilladelf, Illadelph, and things like that, it’s an experience in itself. If you really want to see where the wild things are though, take the L.
The L to me for a very long time was this ambiguous thing that transported people all around Philly. I knew it was some type of transit but didn’t know exactly what it was. One would figure that maybe L is the first letter of the name of the line or maybe the letter of the train….you know like they have in New York….A,C,E….It’s none of those things.
The L is the Market Frankfort line, aka the Blue Line as it appears on a Septa map……which takes me to the next Philadelphia marvel….Septa.
I’m a Jersey girl and growing up roughly 10 news headlines jump out at me fondly in memory:
1) 2Pac gets murdered
2) Awwww shit they got Biggie
Items 3-10) Septa is going on strike
SEPTA, at this point should be the highest paid transportation entity on the planet. These people strike all day everyday and each time they do the world as Philly knows it comes to a crashing halt, envision the Purge. Live in the city and want to leave work early? Say you need to get moving because the strike has things all fucked up, chances are SEPTA will in fact be striking.
Philadelphia Community College , “Know Your HIV Status”, injury lawyers, and “Be a Sperm Donor” ads dominate the terminals and train cars alike. The plastic bodies on the posters almost seem to reach out and grab the riders..mostly brown. I find it interesting but I’m too involved in people-watching to further conjure my conspiracy theories and be that woke on my joy ride….I’m not really going anywhere I just came to let my mind float.
“Doors are closing, please secure your electronic devices.” This announcement is especially for anyone who has never taken the L, but most of us have. This train is full of familiar energy. A man in a flannel shirt, Champion sweatpants and gutted tennis shoes is asking for exactly 40 cents… Some chick in a school uniform is Facetiming bae. A woman in a bubble coat and sunglasses is singing….it’s too hot for that coat, she also doesn’t sing too badly.
Sounds: “Hey Sis”, “S’good Ak”, headphones loud enough to shit on Alpines, screeching. Smells: old vinyl/leather, urine, alcohol, train (can’t really describe that one but we’ve all smelled it). Feels: this train is mooooving, everyone is kind of on a lean, don’t be too cool to grab a rail before we stop.
And we do stop. Ride’s over. I shuffle with the herd up the steps then around to the turnstiles. The L is pumping us out one by one. It did its job, we’ve been delivered, just barely, but we are above ground now.