My wife (she has all the best train stories because she travels the CTA on “off-peak” hours) was on her way home from the movies. Actually, it was an aborted movie trip, because the print of “Titus Andronicus” had burned through.
It was about 2:30 p.m., and a short, 35-year-old white man with sandy buzz-cut hair got on the train at Wilson headed north. He sat across the aisle in a seat facing her. The train was packed with people.
The man, who appeared to be extremely drunk, took out a box cutter from his pants pocket and began to systematically cut the upholstery of the empty seat next to him. He was deliberate in his tic-tac-toe patterns. Very absorbed, and oblivious the throngs around. And as usual, people were ignoring him.
But not my wife.
She leaned across the aisle and asked: “Why are you doing that?”
He looked up, rather startled, and said: “Oh! I’m sorry ma’am. I’m just having a bad day. My son shot out a neighbor kid’s eye with a B-B gun yesterday, and we’re gonna lose our house insurance. We’re gonna kicked out of our house….
“And then, a few hours ago, I got hit by a bus.” Then she noticed his horrible black eye. He apologized again and said, “I’m really sorry ma’am, I just had to take it out on something.”
When the train pulled in to Thorndale, he lurched off the train, leaving his handiwork behind.