Back when Robb and I lived in Baltimore, I used to work both as a theatrical scene painter, and also a decorative painter. A lot of my work was in Washington DC, and I was always thrilled to have a job near a Metro station, so I could take the train to work and avoid the misery of driving on the Washington Beltway in rush hour.
(Did you know that putting on your turn signal is a sign of weakness when you are on the Beltway, and any driver who sees you do this will speed up in order to fill the gap between cars that you are attempting to merge into? Did you know that it is not uncommon to see people filling out crossword puzzles whilst driving at highway speeds?)
Robb and I lived within walking distance of the MARC Camden Yards station, which ran a commuter train right into Union Station in DC. I loved that commute. The regulars knew each other. There was a train newsletter. The conductors were awesome. I loved seeing the jockeys exercising the horses when we went past the Laurel race track. Best of all, most of the ride was a Big Group Nap. I had a theory that there were special "rumble strips" on the rails just outside of DC which woke everyone up in time to collect themselves before they had to disembark. (Amtrak riders will, of course, know that the more correct word is "de-train," which always made me giggle.)
One winter morning, as I was walking toward the approaching train, I slipped on a patch of ice and slid feet-first right into the train.
I mean, I literally slid into the train.
My feet had slipped out from under, me, and I skidded right through the still-just-opening door of the moving train, like a baseball player sliding into a base. I made quite a spectacle of myself. If I had slipped just a few seconds earlier, I would have surely slid right off the train platform, and found myself tangled up in the wheels of the train.
I went skidding into the train, and not one single person said or did anything.
Nobody asked if I was alright. Nobody offered me a hand up. I was pretty stunned, a little hurt from the fall, and very red-faced. I was shaking when I stood up. I took my seat and thought uncharitable thoughts about my fellow commuters.
But that night, and the next morning, every person I passed at the station asked me if I was all right. Apparently, everyone was so stunned by my fall that they were struck dumb, and could do nothing at that moment but stare in disbelief.
I tell you this: Since we moved to California, I have not missed icy sidewalks. Not one bit. And I'm so thankful that Robb, with his balance issues, doesn't have to deal with them.