Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Trip: the L

You picture what you don't know as being similar to what you do know. I make this mistake all the time. When heading over to take the 'L' to the parade, I simply thought of it as being the same as the subway in Toronto only eLevated. I was wrong.

We waited for the train to arrive and when it did, my heart sank. There was a huge, impassible (I know because I tried) lip for me to get over. I bumped my chair against it several times, panicking because I was afraid that the train would move. Finally, I gave up and told the others to hop on, that Joe and I would go back and get the car and meet them there.

They all said, "No."

They were determined to stay with me until we were all sure of what was going to happen next. It was then that I saw a fellow getting a yellow ramp out and putting it onto the train. I hurried down to where he was and by then he'd got it in place for me. I got on easily. He asked where I was getting off and said that there would be someone there to put a ramp out for me to get off. And there was.

So we rode down on the L, together.

All of us.

It meant something to me that, to a one, they all said that they would stay with me and help figure out how we would deal with the unexpected barrier to the trip. We rode downtown expecting to get of at the stop closest to the gathering point to the parade. Suddenly, a stop or two before, the ramp is being put down adn we are being told that the elevator isn't working at our stop so I need to get out here as it's the closest one to where we were going.

Again, I said to the group, "Go ahead, Joe and I will meet you there."

Again, they said, "No, we'll all walk together."

It was starting to sink in - I was a part of the group. Everyone treated the walk from where we landed to where we were going as an adventure in downtown Chicago. Not only were they willing to get off the train early to keep us together, they ensured that I knew it wasn't a bother but an opportunity for even more fun. Inclusion, I discover, feels really, really, good.

Somehow the words 'pride' and 'solidarity' sound really good together don't they?


theknapper said...

Indeed they do

Anonymous said...

Yes, they do!

Anonymous said...

So often it is not the destination that brings the highlights of the trip - but the journey. So glad you have good memories to treasure.

John R. said...

Pride and meaning for; P.S.!!

It's all in the journey.

Louna said...

Yes, being part of a group is a great feeling. On another note, though it is a pain that you had to walk/roll further because of the broken elevator, it's good that they were aware of it and told you about it before you got there.

Anonymous said...

It is a pain that the elevator wasn't working (a sign of aging infrastructure maybe?), but I'm impressed by the level of communication and the fact that things were worked out *before* you got to the station in question.

I still remember the story of the the man in DC who got fined (I think if I'm remembering correctly) because he ended up cursing in frustration due to the various elevator outages, being diverted to more than one station, and the final inability to exit at a nearby station.

As a bus rider I am astounded at the number of times the hydraulics fail on the lifts. Sometimes if the bus is really crowded, I have to wonder whether it's the lift that's broken or the driver's patience.

Anonymous said...

Heartening story.
Thanks said...

Dave I am a newbie to your site. That story just warmed my heart. This reminds me of what is important in life: friends, kindness, having someone's back, making sure you always enjoy the moment. Thanks.