Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Train Sweet Train

© 2009 Karen Van Fossan

Finally, I counted. I had to. Twenty-seven here. Eighteen there.

This summer, I spent nearly 100 hours on the train. I'm not bragging, not complaining. But, as much as I long to tell you about the places where I went, rather than how I got there, all I can hear in my head is that cross-country train.

Years ago, I used to get a couple of seats to myself. When gas prices hovered at $1 or so a gallon, when airlines kept their financial woes to themselves, when "green" was a word no self-respecting CEO would say -- the train was my little secret.

But now, I've entered R.E.M. sleep with so many random strangers, I've lost count.

This summer, as I traveled the country, I contemplated the meaning of life, and language, and the train. I realized that the passenger train is almost entirely lacking in cliches.

We've got the high road, the fast lane, who's in the driver's seat; we talk about "paving the way."

But how about Amtrak cliches?

Here's my first try...

1) When the trip is just beginning, and your heart is full of adventure --
Train sweet train.

2) When you find yourself leg-to-leg with a dude who has Restless Leg Syndrome --
Fuel efficiency loves company.

3) When you miss your bathtub so much, you wish you'd brought a picture --
Cleanliness is next to impossible.

4) When you start to wonder how many times the family across the aisle can watch that same, freaking, boring DVD --
Good boundaries make good neighbors.

5) When you're startled awake by a chorus of frogs...or bears...or who-knows-what? --
If you can't stand the snoring, get out of the train.

6) When the nighttime lights keep streaking by --
All that glitters is not easily blocked by your eyelids.

7) When you can't help but question the Self and notions of private property --
Home is where that little-tag-placed-above-your-seat is.

8) When your seatmate wakes up chatty --
Bloom where you and your random seatmate are planted.

9) When a person has to be neighborly, even on the train --
'Tis more blessed to give up your window seat to a married Amish couple, than to receive.

10) When the engineer cranks the emergency brakes --
You can lead a train to the mountains, but you can't make it climb (unless a couple of freight engines come to haul it).

So, the next time you're on the train, save me a seat. Because...

A friend in the train is worth two in the bush.

Words to live by.

5 comments:

JGH said...

100 hours!! No wonder it's been so long since I've seen you!! What are your plans tomorrow night?

Michele said...

"9) When a person has to be neighborly, even on the train --
'Tis more blessed to give up your window seat to a married Amish couple, than to receive."

And the conversation with them could be quite interesting.

Karen Van Fossan said...

Julie,
Heading to Urban Harvest tomorrow night -- how bout you?

Michele,
Yes! And I learned that some Amish folks read USA Today and even eat Lays potato chips. Who knew?

blogslut said...

This is my favorite blog by you!!! And the next trip we take will be on foot, bike, in a car, or by hang glider...but not in a train!

Kristi said...

What a wonderful list of Amtrak cliches! You put a smile on my face this morning.