Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Sunday, 25 October 2015

The clickety-clackety noise of the train; journal of an African immigrant in USA

Unlike the trains back in Africa that use wood fuel and have zygomatic-like pistons telling of the effort to move the wheels as they chug along, the T-train's only noise was the sound of the panels vibrating. An occasional squeak, like an umpire moderating a foul or about to end a match, would be heard as the train made a curve. I was one of the many passengers of this morning ride from Sunnydale to Downtown San Francisco.

On this particular morning (October 22nd, 2015), the San Francisco Metropolitan Transportation Authority has extra conductors on the trains and buses. They are there to ensure that all transport fares are paid. They do their work so fast so well. When that was done, an SFMTA officer happened to see a long lost cousin. The SFMTA officer made eye contact, drew the mother's attention, they happily met and talked. This cousin had a three year old child.  This child must have sensed that the mother was giving someone else attention. The child made the loudest noise about this. As a child would do! The train, joined in the noise making. It had reached at a particular area just after AT&T Ball Park stop, where the rail is so straight and in some places it has bends.These bends cause it to vibrate. That must have scared the child more. More noise!

A lady next to me, probably a child welfare officer, walked to the two persons in deep conversation and oblivious of the child. "Excuse me sir, can you leave the mother so that she concentrates on re-assuring her child? You are taking up her time." The perhaps child-welfare officer said.

"Hey, I know her. Did you pay? Next time when you pay just go to the front cabin where there are no children. Can you imagine that? Can you believe this is still happening in America?"  This from the SFMTA officer. He asked whoever was listening and watching this newer event.

The child never ceased to make noise even when the mother soothed her. The SFMTA officer  bent down, gave the child a sticker and at first this seemed to pacify the child. No sooner had he straightened up, than the child got noisier. No amount of convincing could take her away from her mother. This seemed to be the strategy of this man in black, the child must have thought. Meanwhile, the perhaps-child-welfare woman had walked back to her place and when the train stopped she got out.

The train continued and we finally got to my stop. I got out wondering. The child was doing what the child does. The train equally so and all of us onlookers did what onlookers on a morning commute do. Life, meanwhile went on and on and on! In life, things that are meant to go on, will!

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