I wasn’t looking forward to a boring train ride alone back into the city last weekend. I had been at a company outing at a Schaumburg Flyers game, and had tried to get out of it with the “I can’t get out there” excuse. It was quickly met with “the train goes right to the stadium parking lot,” rebuttal. So there I was.
Several yards from the train stop, I saw her. An enchanting creature she was, wearing a long sweater and some sort of mismatched shorts ensemble. She had several bags overloaded with crap including a bright yellow, unruly garden hose.
And man, was she ever drunk.
“HAVE YOU SEEN ANY TRAINS GO BY?” Trashed Girl said badgering a police officer standing nearby. “M’am, I know trains DO go through here, but I said I don’t know the schedule,” he answered. When I got close enough, I shot him a reassuring look. I had this one all under control.
I told Trashed Girl that a train should be through shortly and offered her my schedule. Since I had recently, well sorta hopped on the wagon, I was feeling mighty superior to Trashed Girl.
As we stood waiting for the train, Trashed Girl decided to get her act together and tame the hose. It was flopping all over the place, and I was afraid she was going to fall head first onto the tracks.
“Can I give you a hand?”
“Cool,” she said.
I bent down and grabbed the hose and began to wrap it up. Stagnant, foul smelling water started to spill out. Sweet. “Um, are you planning on fighting a fire?”
“Nooooooooooo,” she slurred, laughing. “My dad didn’t need it, and I needed a hose. So I took it.” Trashed girl then explained me that she lives in Wicker Park and was out spending the day with her parents, thus all the bags of stuff. Presumably they were doing keg stands too.
Trashed girl wasn’t drunk enough to forget her manners because she offered me a tomato for my efforts. This after criticizing my hose-wrapping techniques. "You're getting KINKS in it!" Trashed Girl observed.
The train came and I let her go ahead of me.
“S’UP!” she greeted the conductor. He seemed instantly captivated with her. Now normally you’d avoid sitting next to a stranger who would remotely attempt a conversation with you. This is a rule I follow, but not this time. I plopped down in the seat next to her.
“So, do you work downtown?” I asked Trashed girl.
“No, I’m in between jobs, I got fired.” she answered. Shocker. She went on to say that she was working at Burger King but they fired her because she left early. “I had to be somewhere.” Trashed girl now babysits, YES, BABYSITS for dough and lives with her boyfriend. They karaoke (she loves to sing country), but mainly she just goes to support her man’s karaoke efforts.
Hmmmm. What else can we talk about, I thought. Iraq. . . healthcare. . .
“Well Wicker Park is a cool neighborhood, right?” I asked.
“YOU THINK SO?” Trashed Girl wondered aloud, I mean really aloud. Among other things she didn’t like about the neighborhood, living next to a retirement home was less than ideal in her mind. “There’s a bit of an odor from there,” she said raising her drunk eyebrows. Yes, old people do smell, Trashed Girl.
When the train pulled into Union Station I thought I had my fill of Trashed Girl, and let her go ahead alone. As I waited for a cab home I thought about her.
We all have a little bit of Trashed girl in us (some of us have more than others, and at inappropriate times .) Was she sent from above to remind me to chill out after a virtuouso performance at a wedding reception two weeks ago? What does all this mean? Trashed girl, what are you trying to tell me?
I was snapped out of my trance quickly.
“Hey-hey!” It was Trashed Girl and her boyfriend from across Jackson. She smiled and waved while walking toward the blue line.
I waved back. Good night Trashed Girl, good night.