Monday, March 20, 2006

Amtrak, mi amor

I have returned from California. My sister and I took the train there and back, totalling 36 hours of travel. I can safely say that 6 of those hours were very enjoyable, 16 hours were adequately tolerable and 14 hours were mildly nightmarish. As it turns out, trains in the United States are not like trains in Europe. Trains in the US are full of people who can spare the 18 hours needed to get from Santa Fe to Los Angeles, a trip that would take about 2 hours on a plane. We interacted with all sorts of train people, a term that I should clarify as an insult. There were the drunk teenagers who had just gotten kicked out of the navy, the middle aged sexual predator who made loud conversation with anything female that moved in the lounge car, the group of cousins who entertained themselves by listening to the free 30 second song clips on their cell phones, and my favorite, the two slightly-deaf geriatric women sitting behind us on our return trip who fell asleep before 10 PM, woke up at 4AM, tried unsuccessfully to get breakfast at 5 AM, and spent every waking minute having the following sorts of conversations:

"It's white outside; do you think it snowed?"
"It probably snowed; it is white."
"Yes, it looks like snow. It is white out there."
"Kids these days spend too much using their credit cards."

Their extremely high volume and nasally, nonstop chatter left my sister and I confused about when they actually took a break to breathe. Whenever they ran out of pertinent topics such as snow, blankets, pillows, kids these days, or coffee, they reverted to the following conversation:

"Is the train slowing down? It feels like it is slowing down."
"I don't know. We might be slowing down. Where are we right now?"
"I don't know. Does the train feel slower? I think it feels slower."
"There could be snow on the tracks. Is it snowing?"

Needless to say, I learned a lot.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

update please

2:38 PM  

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