Friday, October 06, 2006

Kids, don't try this at home

Another True Story of Jon The Intergalactic Gladiator's Past

Several years ago, I worked in downtown Chicago and lived way out in the suburbs. Way, way out. Fortunately, I lived pretty close to a train station and was able to take the train to and from work every day. Riding the express during rush hour was usually just over an hour, but if I took a train that made all the stops, it would take 40 minutes more.

Every year, the Waukesha (or Brew City) Hash House Harriers hold an event on Pearl Harbor Day weekend. Hashers from all over the Midwest would trek to Milwaukee to run, drink beer, and throw flour bombs at each other just like in WWII. Many Chicago hashers went and so we typically accommodated that weekend by having a hash before or after for anyone passing through. This particular year, we had a prelude (or pre-lube) the night before. Fortunate for me, the venue was fairly close to one of the train stops on my route so my plan was to hash, have a few beers, then take the train home. I would get up the next morning and drive to Wisconsin for their event, of course.

Oh yes, for those who don't know, hashing is a social group who typically consider themselves “drinkers with a running problem.” It's a hare and hounds-type game with beer and socializing afterwards. I got started when I was stationed overseas back in 1990 and I still participate, though not as frequently as I used to, what with being an Intergalactic Gladiator and all.

The trail was fun and the beer after was pretty good. My friend (I’ll call him “Jim”) was the hare and he found some nice alleys and urban crud to run the hashers through. After that, we drank a few beers, had some food, sang a few songs, and hung out. In short order, I had to run to catch my train.

I got on the train and because of the fatigue of running 5 miles, plus the several beers, plus the fact that it was a Friday night and I had a long week, I immediately dozed off. I actually snoozed past my stop and when I woke up, I was all alone in the train car with the train stopped somewhere that wasn’t familiar too me at all.

I stopped a conductor walking past and explained that I missed my stop. He replied that the train was heading back and that I could just ride it to my town. I thought cool, no problem, and I sat down and waited for the train to head back.

The next thing I knew, I looked up out of the train window and saw the corrugated roof of Northwest Station’s train yard. I stopped the conductor (I think it was the same guy) and told him that I missed my stop. He essentially told me that I was out of luck, that the station was closing and there were no more trains running that night.

The conductors on Metra are all really nice people. They deal with a lot of stuff throughout their day and yet they always have a smile and/or a joke. That being said, it’s not their job to wake up some idiot who’s asleep on their train. I sure wish they would have, though.

I had few options. I didn’t have a lot of cash, I didn’t know the El system very well, and I needed to find a place to crash so I could get home the next morning. Taking a taxi to my hometown was definitely out of the question.

So I hopped a cab and took it to my friend Jim’s apartment. The cab got to his street and turned the wrong way. Frustrated and low on money, I gave him my cash and hoofed it the last couple blocks to the building. I rang the doorbell for a couple minutes and eventually Jim came down to open the door and give me a “what the heck are you doing here?” kind of look.

“I fell asleep on the train and missed my stop and fell asleep on the train again and went back downtown and now there’s no more trains and I have no place to go!” I quickly wailed. I made it sound a bit more desperate than I actually was, but it did sound funny. If nothing else, I still had my sense of humor.

Jim kind of shrugged and led me upstairs to crash on his couch. When I got there, I saw that one of the harriettes was in his apartment as well. They were in the process of “hooking up” and I had unintentionally spoiled the mood. Jim later thanked me for it though, so I guess all’s well that ends well, right?

Kind of, I got ribbed for my blunder the next day in Milwaukee and pretty much every weekend after that for a couple years. I still enjoy telling the story though, as it was one unusual night.

Of course, the next time I fell asleep and missed my stop, I was sure to get off at the next stop and take a cab back. I wasn’t taking any chances, that’s for sure.


Wedge Antillies said...

I keep telling people that going through the 'Cheddar Cheese Curtain' into Wisconsin is harder than you may think. Thanks for prooving my point.

Shephard said...

I wanna know what happens to beer when it gets jostled and shaken while running... I think that would make me go urp. Then again, maybe it's like a carwash for the lining of your stomach.

Visiting from Michele's!

barbie2be said...

i used to fall asleep on the train all the time. coming home it wasn't a problem because i was the last stop but going in to work was a problem sometimes.

michele say's hello!

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Typically I would have a one or two beer handicap before the hash, just so I wouldn't look too good on trail.

KaraMia said...

too funny, though I cannot imagine running and drinking ..within the same week, let alone the same night..ugh.
Here via michele today

archshrk said...

What's a train? Haha. Don't have/use trains much around here so that's not a problem I've ever had to face but did take a bus or two while in school and the risk was always there. Especially after pulling all nighters or double shifts. I'm just glad to see you survived, the hasshing and the train ride.

Hello, Michele sent me.

Jean-Luc Picard said...

'Takes on a train'....? I seem to have heard of something like that.

Kookaburra199 said...


Professor Xavier said...

I can see how hashing would be a good training regimen for an intergalactic gladiator.


Brony said...

Michele says hi

Darth Nepharia said...

I think I would enjoy the beer well enough. The running? Absolutely not and I would probably refuse unless I was running for my life. I will walk, bicycle, and dance. Running is reserved strictly for emergencies. :D

Erifia Apoc said...

Hairettes? This is a foreign term.

Florence said...

I've seen that face when the person wakes up, looks out the train window then looks back half confussed and half shocked.

Just pin note to your shirt with your stop on it and then others will know when to wake you, easy :D