Amtrak 2151 Acela Express. With Centi.

7:28 a.m. Boarding time: 7:52 a.m. Amtrak to Philadelphia. Rocky Balboa. Eagles. Flyers. Liberty Bell. Cheesesteak Sandwiches.

I’m waiting at the Stamford train station, sitting on a hardback plastic seat. So hard, you could substitute it for Kevlar. Lower back, displeased with status. I shift, restless.

To my left and across, two men, middle aged, hard hats on floor, work boots, unshaven – sit and discuss his work injury…hurt so bad…Percocet…MorphineFloating. Both chuckle.

Across from me, large man, head bobbing, mouth gaping, asleep.

Passengers pass by through the automatic doors to Tracks 2 & 4. The doors hiss, at each open and close.

My eye spots movement below.  A centipede.  (And I’m not interested in you Entomologists out there telling me that it’s not a centipede. Where’s the 100 feet?  We’re going with Centipede.)

Back to my Friend.

His legs are flailing.  Turtle on its back, issuing an SOS distress signal. I watch it struggle for a few minutes and then turn away. I flip through emails.

Can’t focus. Distracted. Anxious…must be Centi’s anxiety transference. “Help me DK!”

I look around to see if anyone is watching. Then when I’ve established the coast is clear, I reach down and gently try to flip him. He sees a Giant: Danger! He rolls into a tightly, tucked black ball.

I grab my iPhone recognizing that there’s a story here.  I’m 9 snaps in.  Fuzzy shots. Too far away. Too close. Blurry.  I look up and see the Percocet Boys are now watching.  What’s that Idiot Suit doing?

I wait for him to unravel, my head is down, eyes are locked in.  Please, unravel, and do so with 100 feet down.

I wait.

I slide my foot ever so slowly to the left giving him more clearance.

He peeks through his shell, concludes that the threat has waned, and slowly unfurls.

Feet up! And he’s flailing like a mad man again.

I can’t take my eyes off him. Wonder if there’s a story in this for me. Flailing. Repeating the same bad habits over and over again. Refusing to take help. Reminds me of colleague’s unsolicited assessment: “Looks like you live with your feet in the fridge and your head in the oven.” I laughed when I heard it. Weeks later, it’s less funny. What the h*ll did he mean by that?

He’s still on his back. Little feet are thrashing from side to side.

I can’t tolerate this.

I reach down and try to flip him again. He sees the Giant Finger, and rolls in a full-tuck ball again.

I watch. And I wait.

He comes out of the shell, and there he is – on his back again. Good God Man. Get your sh*t together.

I pull out my iPhone to try get a better shot.  Percocet Boys now turn their full attention to me.  Look at that guy, I’m sure he’s lost it. He’s taking pictures of the floor!

Centi continues to thrash about on his back.  Maybe I need to grab him by his back and place him feet down. Maybe he has a head injury and has lost his bearings.

“Amtrak 2152 arrives at Track 2 in three minutes.”

Damn it Man.

I reach down and try to grab him, he rolls into a ball again. And then again, unfurls onto his back.

I reach down, he curls up again and I sweep him gently under the seat. The miniature bowling ball rolls up against the wall.

I grab my bag and head down the escalator to the platform.

Could this possibly be me?


Notes:

Comments

  1. We can learn so much from wildlife!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I know this situation well. Yesterday (-night) I checked if all lights were turned off in our basement after the cleaning session…. All was well, except a HUGE black spider. Just sitting there; completely ignoring this human being. I quietly sneaked into our ‘fruitier’ (pantry), pulled out a LARGE plastic cup and the instruction booklet of some kitchen gadget, went back and turned up the cup over the spider, slipped the bookled underneath and carried the poor thing outside of our house where I shook it to its release (although it didn’t ask to be going out in the night….). The number of ‘stranded’ bees and bumblebees I saved after they bumped into the windows must surely allow me a grand-stand place in animal heaven.
    And you were right: It turned into a fabulous morning story! Thank You

    Liked by 2 people

  3. OMG! That was a hoot!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This one is hilarious! I nearly laughed out loud at the thought of a bug (looks like what we call a Roly-poly in the Midwest) with a head injury. And perhaps the hard hats were wondering what kind of injury you had suffered. I am glad you helped the little guy, so out of his element. We all need a little direction sometimes, even if it’s just to a safe, dark corner where we can collect ourselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We’r’e with you! The care for the insect actually sounds very buddhist–concern for all of life’s creatures. And, we can laugh with your humor: “Percocet Boys now turn their full attention to me. Look at that guy, I’m sure he’s lost it. He’s taking pictures of the floor!” And, imagine if one had asked you what you were doing, and if you had tried to explain…. [I hope you’re laughing!]

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reminds me of a Heinlein quote:
    “In the long run, we’ll all be dead”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reminds me of my little baby Anoli story yesterday. Spouse and I arrived at our FL villa. We were tired and jet-lagged.

    We open the door to get in, set down our luggage and IMMEDIATELY notice this little baby Anoli jumps inside too with us! He’s now ahead of us by the front door, clutching his tiny Anoli suitcase initialed “A” _only I noticed that detail_ and screaming ‘VACAY TIME YO’. Hmmm now what?! Spouse ‘as it usually goes in any situation that involves harmless, defensless at best, completely terrified of humans, little tiny creatures’, jumps, leaps and screams..and now!? He’s in the kitchen way far from the imminent danger zone! Leaving me behind one km away! ‘WHAT WAS THAT?!!!’ He screamed! He’s 6’6.

    I’m used to this by now of course! So I patiently coax little A back outside, all while he’s insisting and protesting ‘but I’m harmless!!! Look at me for Goodness’ Sakes!!! C’MON!!!! At least let me see what’s inside for once!!! I’m really tired of peeking through the screen! Can I can I can I??pleasaaase!’. His frontal little Anoli claws conjoining together and begging!
    Me: ‘sorry little one! Can’t! Hubster is terrified of you and finds you a bit intimidating! Please don’t take it personal’!

    Lil A jumps in definace! Gaaa I’m really tired but I’m also really loving watching him up close and personal inside my house, where he looks soooo cute! I seriously wished I could keep’m, show him around, have a French pressed coffee together by the pool, watching him stretch his tiny little legs, Chat it up about the latest in Anoli-Ville! Nope! None of that was going to happen! Alas…I had to basically attempt to scare the little guy off with all what was left of my human strength!

    I waved my hands, he jumped inside the coat closet by the door! Spouse yelling again: ‘make yourself look bigger and shoo him out’! I contemplated responding ‘yah..he’s not a bear! Won’t work now anyway, he’s already on his way to the bedroom! Go snuggle’ but I didn’t think he’ll find it funny! So I upped up my game to say adios to little A, picked him up by his little tail and gently placed him outside the door!

    Bye little A! I’m sure I’ll see you around xo.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hmmmm….when help is proffered us by the Universe do we roll up in a ball and ignore it, just keep flailing? Stubborn cusses, some.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. “She asks me to kill the spider. 
    Instead, I get the most 
    peaceful weapons I can find. 

    I take a cup and a napkin. 
    I catch the spider, put it outside 
    and allow it to walk away. 

    If I am ever caught in the wrong place 
    at the wrong time, just being alive 
    and not bothering anyone, 

    I hope I am greeted 
    with the same kind 
    of mercy.”

    ~ Rudy Francisco

    Ps. This is not a centipede

    And, yeah, what the h*ll did your colleague mean by that? I wanna know!

    Like

  10. the vinyl, faux terrazzo floor must be dizzying for the potato, pill or sometimes called the sow bug. when the bug is righted its Armour looks like an Armadillo …the sow bugs love my strawberry plants…/// one of the photo texts we rec’d from home today was of a giant spider high on the wall…she hates spiders…I replied “That must be a relative of the two big guy spiders your Dad put outside a few days ago…(good Idea that I didn’t hint at the possibility of there being a hatching from a possible hidden nest under the couch or her bed!)

    Liked by 1 person

  11. yup. also called pill bug, or potato bug some call them roly pully/// there is also a squash bug that likes potato leaves, – it looks almost like lady bug though it is long and yellow…///so did you indulge in consumption of a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich, with a side of cole slaw?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. We’re reading this, and we’re all rooting for you, and the little critter! This is life, David! We’ve all been there. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. In your share of the construction workers I thought of “Ferris Buller’s Day Off” and the dancing construction worker dancing on the scaffolding…

    Liked by 1 person

  14. and i’m sure the percocet guy thought he might have taken just a bit too much after watching you and centi

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Hahaha – I was going to ask you if that was a self-portrait, when first I opened your post! Well, I won’t give you an entymological appraisal, but as kids we called these ‘pill bugs.’ We loved watching them roll up and unfurl with the sort of wonder that children possess. Perhaps that was the pill bug’s message to you – to lighten up, enjoy the ride, curl up when needed and surrender when open(!) I would have taken the poor critter outside somewhere and plopped it in the dirt. Doubtless it would have then unfurled with landing gear down. Aloha, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh my, this Idiot Suit is so lovable. And he finds teaching moments everywhere. But does he learn to unfurl on his feet?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. “…recognizing that there’s a story here.” As a fellow blogger, I know that feeling.

    and you made it into quite a story!

    Liked by 1 person

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