Thoughts from the train

Most of y’all know that I’ve got a new gig that I LOVE.  It does mean that I am working downtown… which has it’s upsides…

Like working from the rooftop patio during nice weather…

rooftop patio

And my view from my office space:

It does have it’s downsides too…


But I’m not fighting traffic at least because, as you know if you FaceStalk me, I take the train.  And the train commute is nothing if not entertaining.

So over the last few weeks, I’ve jotted down a few thoughts from the train.  Nothing spectacular really but then today… well I’m getting ahead of myself…

Thoughts from the train…

  • It’s like a game of frogger maneuvering before your stop. Maybe leap frog except for the unfortunate quiet ones who miss their stop because no one heard them say “Excuse me.” Me? I’m not shy. I’m sure that surprises you all. 
  • It’s amazing how many people try to do business on the train. On the phone. Loudly. Hey dude- discussing things like age and marital status of the women you aren’t hiring should probably happen behind closed doors since you know, it’s not ok to base your hiring decisions on that… And your conversation about how awkward one of your employees is with customers was entertaining but far from professional. 
  • Dude dancing in the aisle. It’s a packed train. Way to find your own groove in the space of a shoebox. 
  • The moment you hear that they are doing fare inspection is a bit late to decide to buy a ticket. Especially since we are already moving.Arguing with the fare inspector though is entertaining for us all.
  •  It’s amazing how much energy people put into cheating the system. “All you have to do is buy a ticket on your phone and wait until there’s fare inspector to activate it”. This is why people think no one rides the train. I can tell you that it’s standing room only every time I’ve ridden so it’s really not a problem with people taking the train as much as its a problem with people PAYING to take the train. 
  • When it’s standing room only, you can’t help but overhear conversations and see what people are doing in their phones. Morning commute includes reading the Chicago Tribune, Vanity Fair, New York Times. Conversations about political unrest, financial offshoring, and the socio-economic changes in Austin. Me? Oh I’m over here laughing at pictures of people who dressed like their surroundings, playing Words with Friends and Candy Crush and realizing I may not be as good at this adulting thing as those around me.It’s also a completely different experience to take the train during the day compared to say, a Friday or Saturday night.

But then today…

Today after work, working later than normal for a late afternoon meeting (that included root beer floats and a helluva lot of productivity – not even being sarcastic) I find myself sitting in front of THAT GUY.  The one who Knows Everything about Everything.  And insists on telling anyone who will listen… Which for Josh and Jordan who work at Trendkite was unfortunate.  They didn’t have seats and were standing right in front of this guy who had WAY too much energy and was still slugging back espresso… or maybe something stronger.  

But before I get much further – Let me share a bit about Trendkite because through the course of the conversation I couldn’t help but think to myself that it’s a great business.  Not only that, you can tell that the employees are really passionate about what they do and that is ALWAYS a sign of a good company.  Trendkite is a PR Pro’s dream – seriously.  It gives you a voice at the table to be able to truly demonstrate your ROI and come on – I know plenty of brands and people in PR who struggle with that.  How cool that someone way smarter than me pulled together a solution and the funding to make that a reality.

Straight from their website –

“TrendKite revolutionizes how the world’s biggest brands and media companies measure the impact of their PR. Our advanced analytics and beautiful reporting measure real business impact and communicate success in a way that legacy solutions can’t.”

If you are in PR or Marketing and looking to join a company where you can corner your CEO in a nerf gun battle and be passionate about your work, you should check them out because Trendkite is hiring.  If you work for a brand OR an agency, you should learn more about how they can help your fly your RockStar flag and I say this with all sincerity.  I’m NOT being paid for this post and they didn’t even offer me a nifty T-shirt for my promotion.  

I really would have loved to talk with them more but Mr IKEAE (I Know Everything about everything) was way too inquisitive for anyone else to get a word in edgewise… (For the record, Mr. IKEAE mentioned where he worked too but that tidbit got lost in the shuffle of my brain…probably for the best)

It started off fairly innocent to be honest.  Just random passengers on a train discussing where they work and what they do.  At this point, I learn that Mr IKEAE is a loud talker and I’m regretting leaving my noise cancelling headphones at the office… 

But then… then it gets personal…

“So when are you getting married or do you just not wear a wedding ring” Wait – WHAT?  Did he just ask that?

She replies that they are getting married July 4th which sparks a literal DIATRIBE on how Mr. IKEAE just doesn’t understand why ANYONE would get married on July 4th (uh… because it’s her favorite holiday and who DOESN’T want fireworks at their wedding?!? ) 

{note – not sure that’s the real reason for the date selection. The fireworks part I mean}

{other note – Speaking of Weddings if you need a fantastic Photographer and/or officiant, Check out Austin & Christel.  They are awesome.  Just sayin…I know… shameless plug but I’m not getting paid for that one either}

The conversation continues on about Mr IKEAE’s Cheesecake Factory experience along with various cheesecakes in great detail, his experience teaching at Harmony schools, the full employment history of everyone behind me, how his wife would kill him if he watched Dr Who episodes without her, the history of AMD and Intel chips, the downsides of living in the burbs, computer science vs engineering and geography…

“Do you know where Madagascar is? You don’t right? And Malawi… You don’t know right?!? Nobody knows geography but I was part of the STEM team at the Harmony schools and I can tell you where every country is.  And before that I worked in Africa…”

Josh was TRYING desperately to be patient… for now… “See this thing in my pocket? It can tell me everything I need to know”

Mr IKEAE “What stop is this? We’re about to hit a dead spot. There are a ton of dead spots on the train. I don’t know why my phone works in my car and in my house but not on the train.  So where did you work before this job? When did you graduate college? How old is your fiancé? What does he do for a living?”

He’s peppering the poor Trendkite peeps with question after question and God bless their pea-pickin’ hearts they were so nice.  Too nice.  I might have been less nice but that wouldn’t surprise y’all either.  Or I would have just bust our my Smart Ass super power.  It really could have gone either way.

Josh finally pulls up Malawi on his phone and OMG YALL I CAN NOT MAKE THIS UP!!

Mr IKEAE pointing at the phone – “See that corner right there?  Yes.  Right there is where I picked up the parasite.”

Seriously?  He went on in great detail about this parasite but I was trying so hard to stifle my laughter that I couldn’t hear him.  As I made eye contact with the various passengers around me, the secret messages ranged from the guy who was trying desperately to keep his head down listening to his music although there’s a bit of a debate on whether or not it was actually playing} to the guy who was UBER thankful he was JUST out of range to be sucked into that hellacious conversation but my mistake was looking behind me.  You see I made eye contact with Josh and he mouthed the words “OH GOD HELP ME” in that silent scream kind of way and I lost it.  I thought to myself “Best Facebook Status Updates EVER” and by “thought to myself” I mean “said out loud” and then I couldn’t help but laugh so hard that tears fell freely from my face and I had a hard time breathing over the ridiculousness of the conversations. 

Mr. IKEAE offers to talk slower so I can type it all and when I assured him that I’m a professional, he offered to high five me.  The dude who just spent the last 5-10 minutes (which honest to goodness felt like 5 minutes UNDER WATER) discussing all the relevant details about his parasite wants to make physical contact with me – OH GOD NO.  But I know enough now to know that he’s persistent so I calmly almost-high-five and make it look like I sorta kinda made the effort to humor him… and may have made a comment about his parasite… to which he calmly responds as if he’s explaining something as mundane as how to put your socks on; 

“Oh don’t worry. Parasites aren’t contagious. They would have to burrow in through your pores and I’m just sloughing off eggs so I’m totally not a danger to you”

If my stop hadn’t been next, I might have been tempted to get off anyway and wait 30 more minutes for the next train at that point.

Someone pass the Purell.




  1. Amazing post, just hysterical! I think I’ve met Mr. IKEAE, or someone like him, before. Thank you for the kind words about TrendKite and say hi to Josh and Jordan next time you see them – they are now your fans, as am I!

    • Thanks so much for stopping by! Happy to share good stuff about Trendkite and am following on Linkedin. I believe in the value of what y’all offer so there may be occasional updates here to share the good work y’all are doing!

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