“Hey buddy, I’m on the other side of the world right now. Nice foliage.”
That was one of the first outdoor-voice declarations coming from the seat behind me in an Amtrak car a few days ago. I don’t board Amtrak often and usually end up having to run for whatever window seat I can get, wherever it is.
“I asked him to stay somewhat sober today and he said he would. But I know he’ll be a wreck when he picks me up from the train station.”
He spent hours calling everyone he knew, some of them more than once.
“I’m going to Syria next week to take care of some bad guys. Semper Fi.”
It was at this point, the Semper Fi, that I set down my book, pulled out a notepad, and started taking dictation. He’d already covered machine-gun manufacturing, kiboshes, and horse farms. Shame on me if I missed another word.
“I can’t get ESPN, can’t get the scores of my games, don’t know if Buffalo’s doing anything. I’m just lost, and I’m not used to being lost on a Sunday.”
We need more Quiet Cars - on the rails, off the rails. Unexpressed thoughts are becoming an endangered species.
I took a break in the café car. As I stepped closer to the counter, I recognized the cashier from my last Amtrak café car, 3 months earlier. I stayed quiet, no small talk, no big talk – a remembrance of café cars past would unnerve him. I placed my order.
“That’s what you got the last time you rode this train,” he said without a smile.