Thoughts and illustrations on living on the autism spectrum.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Crum Lynne

I’m riding the regional rail into Center City this early morning, thinking it might be nice to have an adventure.

They punch my ticket three times. I reach to take it back, but come up empty as they clip it to my seat instead.

On public transit, you have to let go of your control. This car pitches and sways and does what it wants, as do its occupants.

We trace a path through a landscape of refineries, industrial decay, the seedy underbelly, so to speak. Crum Lynne, Prospect Park, Glenolden. Various locales defined more by the railroad stop itself than any other feature.

We hover just long enough at each station, moving again before newcomers find their seats. My seatmate knits, I gaze out the window.

At my destination I disembark, and emerge into the busy hub. Not knowing which way is up, I must take time to orient myself.

And then out into the city. I crunch across icy walkways, dodging droplets of water beneath the overhang.

You can lose your way just wandering the near-deserted streets.You have to go down to go up, and the long way around to get back where you started. And where you’d like there to be stairs, there aren’t. Everything here is foreign to me. An intense world. A kind of uncomfortable that won’t fade with time or familiarity.

I don’t linger for long, retreating inside to a table and wi-fi, and the aroma of the delicatessen. How free can you be when your ride home rides on the clock?

The train home is “Late 2,” reads the timetable, but a few moments later it’s “On Time.” I climb to the platform and wait for it to arrive.

We retrace the morning’s stops in reverse, silence punctuated by noontime snoring, until we reach the end of the line. Home, I can feel the relief of my control returning.

I’m grateful for this expedition, knowing it will be easier next time, but knowing further that I’m not eager for a next time. I wanted adventure; I found more of a disruption. The search must continue another day, down a different track.


  1. "Home, I can feel the relief of my control returning." YES. yes. so hard to go on those adventures...

    - Hanne