Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Yesterday Sunshine and I went to Boston on the train to the Science Museum, more on that later, but first I needed to say a few things about trains.

I had forgotten, or perhaps I blocked, some previous train experiences until yesterday when we sat about 10 minutes from the station with mechanical problems. At first a 5 minute fix which then led to a 35 minute fix and people coming from the station to fix it. I wasn't as freaked as I am when they say mechanical problem on a plane, I mean at least I knew we weren't going to fall from the sky if something went wrong.

What I remembered of my previous train travel were three specific events.

The first one was when I was probably 10 or 12 and my parents took me to Rockefeller plaza to go skating. On the train ride down the car we were in had NO HEAT, it was probably December and it was COLD. Of course all the other cars were full of people so we suffered. When we arrived in NYC we bought extra layers we just couldn't get warm. I am sure that my parents remember this much differently than I do, and I'm sure it involved lots of whining on my part.

On the way back home on that same trip, different train, they couldn't control the heat in the car so it was, at least as I remember it, 100 plus degrees, and remember we were all sorts of layered up for the outside skating. Again, I'm sure there was whining and probably even crying.

The next episode happened probably in my late 20s. I was headed to NYC with some family to take in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas show and shortly south of Albany we stopped. And were were stopped for a while. I think it must have been an early morning train because I remember lots of people in business suits on their cell phones with brief cases who were worried about being late. Well, come to find out some yahoos had sent an ATV from a hillside into the side of the train for fun, I suppose. But when the police arrived and couldn't find a body much mayhem ensued.

I've always thought of trains as pretty reliable and a straightforward kind of travel, maybe I've just been lucky, or maybe things like this happen all the time and I just didn't realize it.

On a related subject, I was fascinated to sit in the train station in Boston and watch the crowd of people stare at the board for the commuter trains. Like zombies in some sense, starring intently at the golden light in the sky and moving in a heard to the correct boarding gate once a number filled the TBA slot on the board. I was, at this moment thankful that this is not part of my every day work life, I suppose I could get used to it, but I'm glad I don't have to.

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