Riding the CTA red line at four in the morning is always an adventure. I usually ride in the first car closest to the conductor because they say that is the safest place. Although there are a lot of homeless in that first car and it smells pretty bad, I usually do. Yesterday, however, I didn't. It didn't look that bad. For the most part everyone looked like average folks on their way to work.
As the doors closed behind me, I took a seat & the noise set in. Three gangmembers at the other end of the car I wouldn't have seen were laughing and being obnoxious. I played on my phone and kept my head down so as not to draw attention to myself. They continued to get louder. I continued to play the 'I'm too involved on my phone to notice you and though I know you're being exceptionally loud to draw attention & power to yourselves, I don't care' game. It usually works.
Then I hear someone else yell, "Hey!" I look up and look at the gangmembers on the other end of the car. I see them pushing this man that is seated across from them. I thought he was a drunk homeless man or something because I've seen that kind of sick play before. This man, however, slumps to the floor. One of the gangmembers proceeds to beat the shit out of this man, punching him and stomping his face. As soon as my side of the train car realized what was going on, the train stopped. Two of the gangmembers leave the train. The last gangmember walks all the way down the car right by me with a sense of accomplishment & leaves.
I'm just stunned. I go over to the man on the floor & hit the conductor button letting him know a man has been beaten. The man sits back up and there's blood all over his face, all over the train. I looked at the two people sitting right there as it happened that did nothing. Do I blame them? Do I not? What happened here? It's four in the morning, I'm still stunned, dumbfounded and exhausted-- not at all sure what I just witnessed. All I can manage out of my mouth to say to this stranger? "I'm so sorry that happened to you." He just said "Damn kids." and continued to blink hard every few seconds.
At the next stop a CTA guy got on with a bag of ice. I tell him that a man has been beaten. He doesn't respond. Another CTA guy gets on moments later & tells us all to leave this car and sit in another one. I'm dumbfounded and angry by the lack of concern or sense of urgency. When I texted Veronica later that day she happened to be at the CTA closest to us and tells the worker there about what happened expecting horror and disgust. The guy there says, "Oh yeah, tell her to sit in the front car." Apparently this isn't news. It happens all of the time.
It's only later you ask yourself all of the questions. What could I have done? What should I have done? What's the smartest response? What's the most moral response? Could I have done anything? Could I have done more? How could those people who knew what were going on just sit there? But did those guys have guns? How do we stop this? What is wrong with this city? How can we fix this as a community if our politicians are too busy lining their pockets? What is the right thing?
Riding the escalator out of the subway into the cold morning air, I'm still dumbfounded. I walk my block to work, open the lock and go into the office and it's only then that it hits me-- That was fucking scary. I sob for approximately two seconds and then make the choice to get it together. My Team is coming in and I'm not going to let any acts of violence and lack of love ruin my day or theirs.
Later that day I got home with a headache from keeping it all in. I took the longest shower & cried for a really long time. It felt really good.
There is a quote that says, "Life isn't measured by the number of breaths you take but by the moments that take your breath away." Well, Friday morning was a moment that took my breath away and a moment of life I will never forget. Yes, I will never forget those images but I will also never forget the choice that I made. The choice that the bad guys don't win. Why? Because love does. Love wins. And I realize that there is too much love in the world to let that happen. So I decide to focus all of my energy toward giving love-- to my Team, to the customers, to everyone I meet. If that is what we're up against, then we need to make a difference in our daily lives because it's needed. My choice is to make as many tally marks as I can on the love side of the scoreboard. I know you'll join me. :)
In the spirit of Love... here are some moments that took my breath away in a positive way. More pictures from my trip to Hawaii. It's been a nutso week & a crazy couple of days... I love this Hawaiian experience I had and love even more that I have these pictures to take me away and remind me of something given to me in love.
Click on them to enlarge!
On our Road to Hana tour around Maui
we stopped at Black Pebble Beach.
we stopped at Black Pebble Beach.
It's sooooo beautiful.
These suckers smelled so bad but I found
them fascinating. :)
These pictures do Hawaii the greatest
From a look out point.
A cave!!! :)
The light at the end of the tunnel.
It was so pretty & peaceful in there.
I just wanted to take a nap!
Or re-enact scenes from 'The Descent.' ;)
From the inside looking out.
Apparently it's very safe.
The current isn't a problem at all.
...and the hazardous cliffs are like anthills...
...and the ocean life just adorable!
More pretty trees in Hawaii...
Everything in Hawaii is unique.
At first glance you think, 'Oh, big trees.'
But at closer look, they're twisted & unique
and you wonder about the fairies living inside!
Everything in Hawaii becomes a magical story.
It's uniqueness-- what you can't find in the States like this--
is what makes it Hawaii.
The bushes aren't just bushes.
Trees aren't just trees.
Everything is just a bit more green, a bit more blue.
The ocean sparkles in its own unique way.
And that's truly what makes it paradise.
And this whole trip was one of my favorite breathless moments.
Spread love and beauty.
Make a difference.
We should all be more like Hawaii. :)
Love & coconuts,