Taking a train ride is a bit like going to a supper party with arranged seats. You never know who you’re going to sit next to, or how long the time will seem. I like trains. I like getting up and walking around, and I like being forced to converse with a random person. Trains are more social than planes. There is almost the expectation of small talk with the people that share your berth.
So I got to the train station and sat down with 3 Swedes that averaged about 280 pounds and were already on their third beer. They were happy drunks though. The guy across from me was about 50, had really bad tattoos up and down his arms and insisted on telling me all the scams I should be aware of. “I sleep with a knife,” he said. “If anyone tries to steal from me, they will get cut. Of course if they gas me, I can’t do much about that.” And he shrugged.
I shrugged too. I really didn’t need to think about that. But in general I try not to worry about those possibilities. The chance of getting ripped off in a train with 30 occupants seemed slim. The chance of getting gassed, well, that just smacks of terrorism, and I’m not going to spend time worrying about that.
Aside from their dark side that occasionally emerged, they were a really jovial lot and they seemed to have made the decision that when they were awake, they were going to enjoy themselves as much as possible. Apparently that required drinking and telling jokes really loudly. They were carrying on well after everyone had gone to bed. I finally said, “OK, guys, I need to get some sleep,” and they downed the last of their drinks and turned in so as not to keep me awake. I guess they didn’t care about the rest of the car. They approached sleeping with the same gusto and commitment as waking, and all were snoring loudly by the time I fished out my newly aquired earplugs.
End Note: there was no picture in the last entry. That was a mental snapshot. I did not bring my camera cord, so unless I find a new one, I won’t be uploading pics.
posted Thursday January 2008