Something bad's happened somewhere down the line. There hasn't been a train in over 10 minutes, and I already know what the apologetic voice over the intercom is going to say: "There's a delay on the Bloor line east-bound." No juicy details: "Sorry for the delay, but a depressed teenager jumped in front of a train.' No explanation. The slowdown doesn't bother me. I crack open my book, a 900-page Stephen King hardcover I bought on eBay for $1.20. You can't do this in a traffic jam on the 401. The people around me aren't so happy. These folks have a time clock to punch.
A short lady wearing a frumpy dress and red lipstick swings her huge black leather purse from shoulder to shoulder. A young guy dressed like me - business casual with pleated khakis - crosses his arms and looks down the tunnel more and more often. Commuters continuing to descend the stairs on either side stand on the platform listening to the TTC announcement: "There's a delay.' We all think the same thing: "No kidding!" Just down the platform stands a man with tinted glasses, a baseball cap and unkempt white hair. He shakes his head. "Fucking government workers,' he says.
The train is packed beyond capacity when it finally arrives. The doors open and riders push their bodies from the car and pull their bags from the crowd. The people surrounding me surge forward. They don't fit. The bell rings - ding, ding, dong - and the doors slide halfway closed, hit somebody's bum somewhere down the train, open again and close again. Now clear of asses, elbows and briefcases, the doors zip shut and the train roars out of Bathurst Station. Those of us who don't fit in the car check our watches, wonder if our bosses will question why we're late. "It's the goddamn TTC."
More trains arrive, all stuffed. Happy with my book, I wait and watch.
The crowds thin with each passing train, and when I finally climb aboard there are three empty seats available for me, my bag and my book.
This is luxury travel.