Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Time Travel



I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read on the train.
-Oscar Wilde


There were several activities that should have qualified as my childlike activity for the week or my play date. We rode on Chicago’s giant Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier during the day. I went to a Dinosaur Junior rock concert at Chicago’s Green Music Fest with my college room mate and out to a nightclub afterward. 
But the Ferris wheel ride was more about a mom sightseeing with her kids. I explained to them like a noted historian all about the 1893 Chicago’s World’s Fair and the race to outdo architectural wonders like the Eiffel Tower. I  bored them with the story of how the original wheel weighed more than two million pounds and could carry more than two thousand passengers per turn.I recounted the piece of fiction from the novel Devil in the White City about the first untested ride and how a woman pulled a dress over her head and flashed a man to shock him out of his intense claustrophobic reaction. I spent the whole ride taking pictures.
The rock concert and nightclub were more my friend’s deal. It actually made me feel old. The people head banging and playing air guitar looked like they were mocking somebody much younger. I had no desire to climb on someone’s shoulders for a better view of the stage. The girls teetering on their high heels and slurring their words as they waited in line to convince a bouncer they belonged inside didn’t impress me either. Those days were fun while they lasted, but not worth repeating.
No, the activity that transported me back in time was the train ride into the city. I remembered the times us suburban girls snuck into the big bad urban jungle. I remembered rushing to catch the last train home because no one had the cash for a cab much less a car. I remember running into the mysterious boy I had a long standing crush on coming home by myself from Taste of Chicago in high school. I remember my Dad taking the train everyday to work and tallying up how much of his life was wasted commuting; two hours a day five days a week 300 days a year for thirty years. I remember wondering about the business man who sat next to me once with his tall can of beer in a paper bag.
Beyond memories, just the thought of train rides evoke feelings of romance and exploration. I typed in train rides as metaphors and found a lovely blog post Daily OM that talks about choosing our destinations, unscheduled stops and getting on the right track. Check it out.
My question for the week is: what is your preferred mode of transportation for time travel?

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