my newest sport: the daily commute.

In high school, I played basketball, volleyball, was on the golf team, on the track team and played some serious back yard football. I was very athletic. I miss playing all the sports I did when I was younger, but I have to say I am still using things I learned from all of the sports today, and everyday.

When I was in college, I mastered a different sport (besides beer pong with Ken…who I am confident we were by far the best team at PSU from 1996-1999)…I mastered “getting through a crowd effectively”. I now use that often when walking to and from my office in a large crowd of commuters. I also bring in some basketball experience to help out. I mastered the “pick” when I was young and I still find ways to use it effectively. Now, instead of having a teammate “picking” someone else so I could go in for a lay up, I know use street signs, stationary people, and any other object that I can to get where I need to go faster all the while other people struggle to move forward. (and do not worry, I am not one of the pushy people…just a person that slides through crowds really good, and someone you should get behind if you want the same.

My favorite move on the basketball court was the “box out” because I am short and I loved to hold back the taller people so I had a chance to rebound. I still find myself using that move today, when getting on the train with a bunch of crazies!

I was only on the track team for one year (conflicted with golf) but I did learn a few things about running to beat your opponent. Now, my opponent is time, and a pulling-away-from-the-station Metra. At the very beginning and end of the work day, I often find myself running to the train.

I still play golf, not as much as I would like, but the other “sports” keep me busy now. I long for the backyard football when life seemed so uncomplicated, but we all give and take . I try to enjoy the simple things in life (like details in my commute) and try to find humor in everything I do…and that is what jenz.digitalclutter.com is all about (well besides the tech posts that Amy skips over because they are “boring”).

metra riders: single seats are upstairs.

I have been riding the Metra for over five years now, and not once have I ever put my bag next to me on a busy train to try and deter other people from sitting next to me. I have also never asked someone to move their bag until this morning. My morning express is like most other express trains, jammed. There is always that one jack ass that decides he is too good to have someone else share the two person seat and usually I will go out of my way to not strike up any conflict. I have gone back three or four cars looking for a seat in the past, but something was different this morning – I finally had enough.

We are all adults. The seats on the bottom level are two seaters, not one. So this morning there was only one seat on the bottom of my car with only one person in it, but his “$19.99 Father Day special briefcase” was sitting next to him. At first I walked past, but then thought, “my god this is ridiculous” so I walked back and said “can you please move your bag so I can sit down?” and after a few huffs and puffs, he moved it. Get over it. I am now going to seek these people out 😉

Lesson for all your Metra riders: if you do not want to sit next to anyone, go to the upperdeck with the single seats, especially on packed trains.

six flags, take two.

Having a Six Flags’ season pass is great. We can make a last minute decision to go to Six Flags in the afternoon or after dinner, and that is what we did on Saturday. Figuring the park would start to slowly empty at 5pm, well we were mistaken, but perhaps it was because we just happened to choose the dayof Gospel Fest. Yeah, just our luck. Church busses, vans everywhere. Ok, I can deal with that, but the lines were crazy. And I am guessing “Thou shall not jump lines” was not in the Ten Commandments, because there would have been a lot of sinning going on (well more that there was). It is very frustrating. Which brings me to my thank yous…

A big thank you goes out to the woman (I cannot even call you a mother) in front of me in the American Eagle line. Wow. Not only was I so sick of your obnoxious daughter “practicing screaming” for 30 minutes at the top of her lungs, I was really hoping she would have taken a dive off of the railing or the fences that she was crawling up uncontrollably while you just stood there and laughed. Seriously. Two kids, completely out of control, thanks for sharing. Then I had the lovely opportunity to sit in the car right in front of the screaming hell child. Yeah, that is why I screamed all sorts of word hoping the hell child would pick them up while on the ride. My ears were ringing after dealing with the murder screams. For this, you win the “wow we should really test people who want to be parents because you would never make the cut”. PS, you are her mother, not her friend, so take some responsibility.

Next up, a friendly reminder to the men out there…cut your freaking toenails. If they are pointy, or they extend past the actual toe, it is time to cut them. Also, to the men out there with crazy and out of control ear hair…come on, take a few minutes and trim that. (That also goes for nose and eyebrows too). Thanks for standing right in front of me for the hour I waited to get on the Viper.

A final thanks to the person who forgot to tell me that wearing a basketball jersey was required to fit in. Was I at a basketball convention that had rides or Six Flags?

Oh, but wait, how could I forget the cell phone talkers? Thanks for proving me wrong; thinking you would not be able to hold an hour conversation while in line for my favorite ride, the Raging Bull.

Yeah, the visit was less than heavenly, but the Raging Bull makes it all worth while.

Metra Rail and Police

Not sure what is going on…with all the elevated terror warnings my city and the Metra seem to think that putting six police officers at my train station to hand out ticketsto riders that run in front of the gates when they are down is a good idea. Sure, the Metra has a responsibility to educate the riders and community on the dangers of crossing in front of trains, but six police officers? Today marks the third day of us, at one stop, looking at six officers talk and stand around while the terrorists are out there!! Why aren’t they looking for suspicious people with suspicious packages? What? What was that? Oh…yes…the terrorists are not causing problems…but how convenient for the people in power to hold the threat over our head. I just thought of a great joke…what is the difference between our VP and Mr Bin Laden? Our VP has a heart condition. (they both hide out in caves, we know exactly where they are at all times, they are both paid by US money, and both are making millions off of the terror threat) I love our country, do not get me wrong, but it does not mean I have to love every administration, and free speech gives me the right to talk about it.

Flood = Standing Water = Swarms of Mosquitoes

Whoa. I did not just play a crazy round of paintball…no those are welts from the mosquitoes. I grew up and ran around where we had dirt roads and lots of foilage, but never the kind of mosquitoes that left welts. I was using OFF’s (yes even OFF has a web site…and a killer URL) botanical blend…but I needed some deet, so I am now using deep forest OFF. I stink like OFF all day, and am sticky, but it has to be better than these crazy mosquitoes swarming onto my pale skin, right? I have some welts that itch so bad that I thought that slicing it open and pouring some deep forest OFF on it had to feel better than itching…pain had to be better than itching! Do not worry, all my welts are still intact. Even the bites on my fingers, in the crease behind my knee, and on the bottom of my foot. Come on city, where are the wonderful planes with your cancer causing agent?