Thursday, June 26, 2014

Notes on Riding Amtrak back from Boston

For the first half of the trip, until Old Saybrook, across the aisle was a white-haired older man (actually, he was probably my age; such is the disconnect between my perception of my own youth and other’s old age). As soon as we pulled out of Boston he took a pair of blue jeans from his knapsack and went forward to the rest room. He returned wearing the blue jeans, and then folded his trousers very neatly, aligning the creases with military exactitude. (I recalled Bonne Maman telling when her father was in the Belgian Cavalry father had learned to put his dress trousers under his mattress to keep them pressed.) Then he read the newspaper. After that he read on his kindle or nook or device of some kind.
In New London another older man with white hair (though this one had a mustache and glasses with black frames) got into the same seat. He heaved his duffle bag onto the overheard rack with some difficulty. He did not change his pants. But he took a small zippered kit out of his backpack; it was full of small vials with colorless liquid. He filled a hypodermic needle and injected himself in the belly. It looked to me that he stuck the needle right through his shirt but I couldn’t be sure, and I didn’t want to stare any more obviously than I already was. Then he read a novel by Agatha Christie for the rest of the trip. An actual paperback book.
Just before pulling into New Rochelle I discovered the SKY MALL catalog in the seat pocket in front of me. The SKY MALL catalog is one of the strangest and most mysterious catalogs I have ever encountered, because it is full of things that are completely and totally useless under any circumstances, and other things that might be useful, but why would you buy them while riding a plane or a train? Vying for the Most Useless and/or Bizarre Category were the Towl Hub Towel Holder with 4 USB ports, and the Bigfoot Bashful Yeti Tree Sculpture.

1 comment:

Rebecca Rice said...

I love the juxtaposition of the bizarre with the comic...thanks for making me laugh...and I totally agree with you about the Sky Mall, but I didn't think it was available on Amtrak...guess it's been a long time since I've been on a train!