The Calgary CTrain is Full of Colourful Clientele (and Odors)

I’ve blogged on this topic before, so it’s no surprise I’m bringing the subject up again. Let me first reiterate that I love the CTrain and public transportation in general. Maybe it’s because I grew up not really having it so easily at my disposal, or maybe I’m just more of a tree hugger than I appear, but I am fascinated by the Calgary CTrain, so I was elated that my job allows me to leave the car behind and part walk, part train into downtown and back each day. It never fails; there’s always a wide, colourful variety of people on at any given point of time, so it’s easy to follow the logic that travelling to and from work at peak times of the day means even more opportunity to experience that variety. My train ride into work is less crowded than the ride home, but both trips are incredibly packed regardless.

Let’s take your typical day… like yesterday, where I trained home packed in like a can of sardines. The person over my right shoulder was reaching over my head to hold onto the hand rail on the door in front of me, and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t avoid his smelly armpit in my face. I turned to my left to point my nose as far away from the BO wave as possible, only to get a deep whiff of the alcohol saturating the man over my left shoulder. The girl beside me on my left is texting so fast that I wouldn’t have been surprised if her fingers had caught fire. I think she texted the whole city of Calgary in the span of the 10 minutes I spent on the train with her. Seriously, if there was a text messaging contest that came to town, I would nominate that chick. And as we got to the last stop out of downtown and even more people packed into the limited space, I became horrifically aware of something wet that had penetrated my pant leg. Welcome to the Calgary CTrain.

I’ve already lightly toyed with the idea of driving in a station or two just to eliminate one or two stops and thus my total train travel time from the equation, but that really defeats the purpose and the enjoyment (not to mention entertainment) of being able to solely walk and use public transportation. And let’s face it, the healthy aspect of walking and training into work in the fresh air far surpasses taking the car and also trumps the nasty traffic on Deerfoot or Memorial Drive as you get closer to the downtown core.

Really, when it’s all said and done, it’s only a 15 minute ordeal, even at its worst. And in the dead of a -30 Calgary winter, I may warm up (pun intended) more to the idea of a packed train ride, especially when I look out and can see the rest of the city (slowly) fighting the daily commute — not to mention each other and the elements — during inclimate driving conditions as I effortlessly glide by. No thanks!

Here’s to hoping the novelty of the Calgary CTrain never wears off ;)