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Tag Archives: trains

People Who Are on the Amtrak at 6:55am Going to New York City

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.

    MUY IMPORTANTE!

    MUY IMPORTANTE!

  • 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.

    "Hmm. 104 degrees. I think I'll go on mass transportation."

    “Hmm. 104 degrees. I think I’ll go on mass transportation.”

  • 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?

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Wikipedia tells me Baltimore is “The City that Reads.” I’m down with that, Baltimore.

As you read this, I am SPEEDING my way toward Baltimore.

PRETTY!

PRETTY!

Well, I mean, in a perfect world I am. You could probably check my Twitter feed and make sure it happened. If all goes WELL, as you read this, I am speeding toward Baltimore. Let’s just say that. So we don’t jinx it. I should be there in about half an hour, and I’m there until early Monday morning. I don’t know that there will be time for blogging – R. and A. have planned a Baltimorelicious trip for me, full of magic and wonder. We have multiple adventures planned for each day, which I will not tell you about, because it will ruin the surprises for when I get back and I blog about them. I will, however, give you some highlights:

  • Much time will be spent making a very big deal out of seeing Baby CeeVee in person, because she’s just about the most wonderful non-official niece I have. She is beautiful and smiley and of COURSE the most brilliant and I plan on cramming many years worth of love and doting into a four-day (and a few extra hours) trip, because how else will she know that her far-away unofficial Aunt Amy loves her more than all the chocolate in all the world, I ask you?
  • There will be both giraffes and penguins on this trip, and also sharks. This is a very animal-centric vacation. That’s why I love R. and A. – they know that I need to see all the animals on my vacation. I promise if there’s a chance to act like an animal, I will be all over that.
  • There will also be two literary-themed excursions, but not ones I’ve mentioned before, so they will be SURPRISES. I will be obnoxious and take many photos, promise. My camera battery is charging and I’m taking my power-pack thingy for my phone, just in case.
  • There will be flowers and crafts. FLOWERS AND CRAFTS! Also possibly hippies. Maybe even dirty ones.
  • There will be something historical and fighty.
  • There will be something theatrical that will make you all laugh and laugh.

There! Those are some hinty hints. I promise you are all going with me in spirit. But not in person because you couldn’t all fit in the guest room. I will take photos and get souvenirs and remember all the good things and blog about them when I return. ALSO, there is wifi at R. and A.’s house, so when I get home I can get online. That is EXCITING. So I can’t promise a blog for the next few days, but maybe. And I will try to be better about Twitter and/or Facebook, but sometimes I get distracted by real people and actually having experiences when I’m on vacation so the internet disappears for me. That’s not always a bad thing.

SO, what I am SAYING, is that if you contact me/comment on the blog/tweet me/whatever the hell, and I don’t get back to you in a timely fashion, don’t fret, jellybeans, I’ll be coming home Monday. Promise.

And don't get crabby. Get it? Crabby? Because Baltimore and I'll be by the sea? URGH FINE I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY!

And don’t get crabby. Get it? Crabby? Because Baltimore and I’ll be by the sea? URGH FINE I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY!

Dad is quite sure that a., I will be killed on the train (and when I said, “Dad, I don’t think too many people are killed on the Amtrak, wouldn’t we hear about that on the news?” he said, “SIGH AMY! It’s GOVERMENT SUBSIDIZED! They cover up the murder statistics!”) and b. I will join the government while I’m there because those are my people. I said, “DAD. We are not even going to Washington!” and he said, “IT’S ALL WASHINGTON OVER THERE.” I like that he knows all the things. Mom is just worried I’ll be killed on the train. Not because of the government coverup, but because of sexmurderers. Mom thinks you will be sexmurdered anywhere but your own living room, and she’s got her eye on you, living room.

...and of sexmurdering. And covering up murder statistics. As they do. AS THEY DO.

…and of sexmurdering. And covering up murder statistics. As they do. AS THEY DO.

Also, in sad news of failure, the Lucy’s Football household is officially a one-cat household again. Over the past two months, Newcat was…how to say this nicely…not playing well with others. Me, to some extent (there was extensive growling and scratching and attempts at biting) and Dumbcat – well, I’ve had cats that didn’t get along before, but it was more of the hissy-spitty variety. This was more of the full-on attack variety. She wouldn’t allow him to use the litterbox, sleep, eat, walk, or exist, basically. She would lurk and leap at him whenever he went anywhere to do anything. He’s nervous as it is, but he started getting extremely neurotic; he’s licked the fur off a number of places on his body, which he’s never done before, and he’s throwing up everything he eats and going to the bathroom wherever he can, because he’s afraid of what awaits him if he uses the litterbox. He was spending most of his time under things; the couch, the desk, the entertainment center. He’d only come out when I went to bed and then snuggle so close to me it was like sleeping with a furry hot water bottle. (And it’s getting warm out, so it was a furry hot water bottle I didn’t so much want.)

I tried many things. None of which seemed to work. Mostly I had to pick him up and carry him over her, and scold her when she attacked, and that was not a way to live for him, and did nothing for her. I kept thinking it would get better. But the other morning I woke up and his face was covered in dried blood and he meowed pitifully when I got it off and she’d clawed him in about five places overnight and I decided that, no, I didn’t have time for this, and neither did he. He’s 13. He doesn’t deserve to live his senior years afraid to go to the bathroom, or to eat, or licking his fur off because he’s nervous.

I brought her back to the shelter today. I didn’t even care that they were judgey. I used to be judgey of people returning animals, too. I know. It’s tough. You have to put animals down there. It’s a shitty job. But I have to think of Dumbcat, who I promised, eleven years ago, I would take care of to the best of my ability. This wasn’t a good fit. She was miserable; he was miserable; I was miserable.

We’re going to stay a one-cat household until there’s no longer a Dumbcat. Which hopefully will be a billion years from now, because I don’t like to think about that.

And since I dropped her off this morning, he’s come out from under the couch and is tentatively sleeping near me, and only looking around a little to see if he’s about to get pounced on, even though I am telling him she is gone now.

It’s the worst; I feel like I’ve failed as a human. But I did what I could, and I had to think rationally. I asked the people at the shelter where I got her if she was good with other cats and that I wouldn’t take her if she wasn’t. They said she was; that they’d had her around MANY other cats. That was obviously not true and they were just trying to get her adopted. All’s far in love and war, right? No. Not when it’s a living creature. That’s shitty, and unethical, and I will be warning people away from there if I’m asked about that place in the future.

ALL of your faces, lying volunteers. Every one.

ALL of your faces, lying volunteers. Every one.

On to a million things more I have to do in the next three hours before bed. Yes. Yes, I have to go to bed tonight at 7pm because I have to get up at 3am to leave for the train at 5am. I know. Such is the life of a fancy travellin’ lady. Hope you’re all ready for a trip to Baltimore! Here we go!


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