It’s one of those days on Amtrak: oddities abound, and the common theme is, well… I’m not sure, but I bet the French have a word for it. Presented for your consideration:
- There’s an old high-school classmate of mine sitting in the seat across the way. At least, I think he’s an old high-school classmate. So far, we haven’t exchanged the mutual squint that will embolden one or the other of us to say “aren’t you…?” Frankly, I’m feeling antisocial now, so I don’t plan on doing any squinting in that direction.
- There’s a rumpled, blonde, untucked-oxford-shirt-with Vans-wearing trust-fund type sitting in the seat next to him. His longboard-style skateboard is rolling around in the baggage compartment overhead, and he’s on his cellphone trying to find a cheap apartment in Geneva for his friend in Cape Cod that just got busted selling cocaine three times to the DA (and getting caught on camera doing it.) He’s dropping the F-bomb every other word: “Fuckin fuck, man, that’s fucked up. Fuckin’ you need to get out of the country. Fuckin’ I can get you a fuckin’ apartment in Geneva, man. You stay in a fuckin’ youth hostel for four years, you get residency…”
- There’s a disgruntled monthly rider squatting (literally and figuratively) in the bathroom, the door wide open. He’s sitting on the toilet, fully clothed, with the lid down. The conductor came to ask him why he was there, triggering a bristly tirade about how 17 of the last 28 days his train has been late, about how his morning train has been cut from eight cars to five, about how three of those are cafe cars, and how it’s his right to sit in the bathroom, it’s a right, and as long as there’s ten bathrooms on each train he’s gonna ride in one.
- There’s a French couple sitting on the floor with me (when the train is full, I like to sit cross-legged in the wide-open wheelchair area; the wall reclines, and you have some elbow room to use a mouse.) They are very attractively dressed, but WOW do her feet stink.
All these people are within arm’s reach, literally, and I’d better push “submit” before someone catches sight of the screen.
For a better Amtrak story, go read Nicole’s blog (scroll down to St. Patrick’s day.)