Dear Diary,

      I thought I had a few hours to myself when I stepped into the train. Thought is the key word here. I made myself comfortable and waited until the train would leave. It had been such a busy weekend that even during the night I didn’t have the opportunity to just relax and sit back for a while. My nieces and nephews, you know, Melissa’s kids, decided it was fun to jump on my bed around two in the morning, because “they never saw auntie Jen that often” and “mommy and daddy needed a bit of space and time in the bedroom”. Don’t ask.
      So they came to me. Don’t get me wrong, Diary, I love them very much, but there is a reason that I am still single and childless. Those two words also happen to be the words that best describe my social life. While many of my ex-classmates got boyfriends, fiancés and husbands — and later also children — I stayed single throughout the years. There had been flings and one nightstands, but nothing special and nothing lasting. I didn’t really mind, because I quite enjoyed the time I spent by myself. People felt, and still feel, sorry for me. They tell me I will end up a cat lady, even though they know I am allergic to cats. Dog lady, more like, or bird lady.
      So, back to the train. It wasn’t very full and I could feel myself slowly falling asleep when it started to drive away from the train station. The soft mumbling of the other passengers didn’t bother me, but made me more relaxed. I never can stand complete silence. I always need the television, radio or some music on if I am by myself. If a place is completely silent, I will get the eerie feeling that someone is watching me, even though I know that only happened in scary movies that I don’t watch anyway. The mumbling intensified a little bit when the conductor entered the compartment and asked for our tickets. Unfortunately, the man also wanted to see my ticket, so I had to get myself out of my comfortable position and reach into my bag for the small card I took out of the machine before I entered the platform. He seemed satisfied and continued his way, until this older lady stumbled in and tried not to fall over. Her small chihuahua didn’t seem very nice, because it barked at everyone that looked at him (or her) and growled when a child reached out his hands to “pet the cute puppy”. Good thing his mother immediately pulled him back.
      The woman was startled by the conductor and handed him her ticket, after which she made her way through and sat across from me in the four-seater. I mean, of course I don’t mind people sitting across from me, but I wasn’t too happy about the small chihuahua almost peeing on my bag, and trying to bite my ankles. I closed my eyes again and I tried to relax and not think about the feisty rat that didn’t make me feel very happy and peaceful, but I decided that if the woman kept the dog with her, it wouldn’t be too bad.
      Boy, I was wrong. I have never been more wrong in my life, I think.
      She opened her mouth as soon as she got her bottle of water and knitwork out, and she started to talk to me. At first, when I just had closed my eyes again, I thought she was talking to somebody on the phone, but when I opened my eyes to look at her, she obviously fixated her attention on me and her dog, which she talked to as if he were her own flesh and blood. His name was Prince and he got treated like one, because never did she pull him back on the leash to keep him from biting down on my new shoes. Of course I tried to get the dog to leave me, my limbs and my stuff alone, but the woman was too busy knitting and moaning about her personal life that I, at one point, almost felt Prince’s teeth in my calf. Look, I get that having a child (dog) isn’t always easy, but at least raise them well!
After I kind of succeeded shoving Prince under the chair next to the woman, I looked up at her again and started paying attention to her words, but because I missed the first half of the long complaint, I had no idea who or what she was talking about. She was talking about some woman (her sister maybe?) who apparently stole her husband (?) and her other three big dogs (thank God she didn’t bring those on the train, because they would have eaten me alive). Also, in addition to this drama, she started to sob horrifically when she mentioned that Prince had cancer and that she would lose him very soon too.
      I can be honest with you, Diary, that this was the most annoying and terrifying train ride I have ever done. Even after the news about Prince’s cancer, I couldn’t stand him growling and barking at every single moving object in the train (which was everything, because, you know, train), and I was very afraid that he really once would plant his teeth in my leg and never let go. I tried to be a kind passenger and smile at her and try to comfort her, but every time I moved Prince pulled up his upper lip and I immediately stopped. I can be a nice person, but not when this rat is trying to sink its teeth in my skin. So I decided not to intervene and to let her tell her story, even though it seemed to change all the time. I had no clue what she was talking about, because I heard names she didn’t mention before (Richard? Jackie? Priscilla?), and every now and then I just smiled, nodded and closed my eyes again.
      Worst train ride ever.

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