I am on the Amtrak at 6:55am going to New York City. I think we can all agree that’s hellaciously early. FINE, not all of you can agree with that. Some of you get up that early daily for whatever reason. Milking cows, maybe. Going to school or work. Tending to children.
Me, I get up between 6 and 6:30 every morning, and when I can, I sleep later. I don’t like waking up early. Never have. Left to my own devices, my internal clock wants me to sleep from about 1am to 9am daily. Unfortunately, this is not how the world works, so I’m forced to work against what I was given at birth. Yawn.
However, there are advantages to taking the train this early in the morning. You get to see all sorts of people.
What sorts of people, you might ask?
Well, it’s nice you asked, because I will TELL you.
THE PEOPLE YOU SEE ON AN EARLY-MORNING AMTRAK TO THE CITY
- LOUD BUSINESSMAN – Loud Businessman is very important. He also wants to make sure you know just HOW important. So he gets on his cell phone the minute he enters the station and doesn’t get off until…well, I don’t think he gets off ever. As we speak, Loud Businessman is on his cell phone berating someone. “I WILL BE THERE IN A COUPLE OF HOURS! THAT CAN WAIT TIL I ARRIVE! NO, DO NOT SELL ALL THE ORANGE JUICE SHARES!” (I made that part up for those of you who love Trading Places as much as I do.) “THOSE WERE ON THE DESK, CHECK THE DESK! BUY BUY BUY! SELL SELL SELL! I AM IMPORTANT! ARE YOU THERE?! ARE YOU *THERE!?!?!?!*” It’s Loud Businessman’s world. We just live in it, and are forced to be in his earspace.
- GUY WITH THE CROUP – it is a little-known fact that, no matter where I sit, I will end up next to someone with some sort of wasting disease. Right in back of me is someone who is hacking up a lung. I am breathing his air, therefore, in 24-48 hours, I will probably have TB and have to go to a sanitorium. That’ll be fun, right? Right. (Also, if you’re on public transportion, it’s nice to cover your mouth when you cough. Just saying.) Also, update, he is now sneezing repeatedly, and seems to be purposely doing it in the space between the seats so it showers me. How thoughtful.
- GUY WHO IS RAPPING – there’s a guy who’s listening to music and he’s totally rocking out and every once and a while comes out with some rap lyrics ALMOST under his breath, but not quite. He’s actually not as bothersome as the other two people. He’s at least TRYING to be quiet. Whenever he bursts out into song, he looks really embarrassed about it. I get it. Sometimes I can’t control the mad beatz in my head, either, yo.
- WOMAN WHO I THINK IS POSSIBLY CRAZY – luckily, she ended up in another car, but in the station, there was a woman who was ducking and weaving and talking to herself and batting at invisible flies. Now, listen, I am used to this on public transportation because I was without a car for years (and people with mental problems are drawn to me – I think I project a safe vibe or something, or maybe they think I’m a kindred soul.) But Amtrak is kind of pricey. So really crazy people aren’t always on it. So, I guess congrats, crazy lady, for having enough money for nice transportation?
- PEOPLE WHO THINK GETTING ON/OFF THE TRAIN TWO SECONDS BEFORE EVERYONE ELSE WILL GIVE THEM A MAGIC SEAT – people will seriously cut a bitch to get in line here on Amtrak. Thing is, if a train’s crowded, getting on early doesn’t make you any more apt to get a window seat than someone who got on later. Everyone wants a window seat; if the train comes from somewhere else, those window seats are probably all taken, and you’re sitting on the aisle. End of story. Please don’t shove. It’s so early in the morning. My reflexes aren’t even kicked in yet. I’m going to go over like a ninepin.
- PEOPLE EATING SMELLY FOODS – there is always at least one person eating something fishy, spicy, sour, or fermented. I guarantee you this. Isn’t rule #1 of being a human being not to eat something that’s fragrant around other humans in a confined space? Because I don’t know about you, but I don’t like gagging on your scents for an entire train trip. Bad enough that I can smell the bathroom from where I’m sitting. Blergh.
- SOMEONE WHO IS SNORING LOUDLY – listen, on the second train, that’s going to be me. I’m exhausted, and the gentle motion of the train makes me sleepy. The last long-distance train I took, I conked out about ten minutes in. I woke up and the WHOLE TRAIN CAR was GLARING at me. My throat hurt, which means I was snoring. (Or maybe sleep-talking; I do that, too.) I was all, “mutter mutter sorry” and then read for the rest of the trip. Can’t help it, folks, blame Amy’s Dad; that’s where the snoring gene comes from. I know it’s unsexy and unladylike. Can’t even help it.
Getting sleepy, jellybeans. Think I’ll try for a little shuteye. Think Loud Businessman can compete with my snoring?
Let’s find out, shall we?