Sunday, June 22, 2008

Train Thoughts

8:46AM – Well, I’m pretty sure I’m on the train, but according to the arrival/departure schedule up in the station, I couldn’t be on the train because it’s running 15 minutes late and hasn’t arrived yet. So who am I gonna believe, the station, or my lying eyes?

Business class definitely paid off this time – the car is maybe 40% full, and I’ve got the entire row to myself. I admit I was a bit worried when I saw an entire family of bleach blondes in jumpsuits lug what appeared to be an entire roomful of luggage onto the car (seriously, a 4 ft long keyboard should be shipped, not taken on the train as luggage), but they’re staying mostly to the back and being pretty quiet. In fact, the entire car is quiet. Aside from the blondes, I don’t think there’s anyone else traveling together, so no one’s having any conversations. Tres bien! Now, do I sleep, blog, or do work? Hmm…

8:52AM - Well, that was a silly question, of course I’m going to blog. The recent trend of high gas prices has gotten me started on #5 of the Top-10-Things-I’d-Like-To-See-Happen-During-My-Life list (yes, I have a list; yes, I will post it). Transportation in general, and especially in this country, sucks. Our roadways are clogged, outdated, inconvenient, in disrepair, and amazingly inefficient. Our airways are expensive, have lousy service, are a hassle, and increasingly late. And unless you’re traveling between DC and Boston, the railways are all of those things, plus worse.

9:11AM – I spoke too soon. The old guy behind me is hacking up a lung.

9:41AM – The old guy has stopped coughing, but now there’s an odd smell coming from his seat. I hope he didn’t die. Random thought: how did anyone ever manage to take extended train rides without instant text messages or laptops to keep them company?

9:59AM – One of the parents is exercising their 5-year-old daughter by running her up and down the train aisle. In flip flops. Hopefully she will tire soon.

10:46AM – Wow, the girl is still going. She’s panting now, but her pace hasn’t slowed. On some level I’m glad she’s running off all this energy, her parents will have a much easier time when they get to wherever they’re going.

11:13AM – We’re stuck about a quarter of a mile outside of DC Union Station, apparently there’s congestion up ahead and they don’t have a track for us to use. This is annoying. We do, however, have a lovely view of the construction happening at Virginia, 6th, and D.

11:35AM – The conductor just got on the horn to say that the train is fully sold and that we’ll be using every seat. If that’s true, it means that coach is a LOT more crowded than business class, since I doubt there are 30+ business class passengers getting on, and that’s what it would take to fill up this car.

11:38AM – Whee, we’ve got power again! We’re running a bit late out of DC and I’m kind of worried about missing my light rail connection at Baltimore, but one of the good things about Baltimore’s light rail trains is that they run every 20 minutes or so, so worst case scenario is that I spend some time outside tanning my ridiculously white legs.

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