Reporting, Recording and Relaying - But Always Telling It As I See It

Monday, February 27, 2012

Riding On Trains With Old People

Recently, I was dispatched by my parents to go to Sarasota, Florida to assist them in getting back home. Not a bad gig if you can get it. It did, however, require me to travel via (clich̩ coming) planes, trains and automobiles. I was to fly to Florida on a Thursday; drive from Sarasota to Orlando on Friday; load us and their vehicle on the Amtrak Autotrain Friday afternoon; spend the night on the train; arrive in DC on Saturday morning; and drive them home from there. So yeah, a couple of thousand miles in forty-eight hours. I did it Рhere is the train part.

2:30PM – We board the train without being asked for any ID and without one bag getting searched. Zero, and I mean Z-E-R-O security on the rails – just sayin’.

2:50 – The old lady down the car leans her head out of her room and asks me if they have started serving the free wine and cheese yet.

3:00 – They announce that free wine and cheese is now being served in the lounge car. Stampede of old people toward the lounge car begins in earnest.

3:05 – I arrive in the lounge car to what looks like a pack of jackals fighting over an antelope carcass.

3:06 – I go downstairs to the bar for a Sam Adams. (The first of many.)

3:25 - My son Dylan calls me and says, “Dad, we have a major dilemma. Shingles are blowing off of our house.” “Dylan, I am on a train in Florida!” Frantic phone calls ensue. (All is well.)

5:00 – Our call for dinner. You have a choice of the 5:00, 7:00 and 9:00 dinner times. My parents of course choose the earliest one, which means after dinner I am going to have about five hours to kill.

5:03 – We arrive at the dining car and are served salad, dinner and dessert in about twenty efficient minutes.

6:15 – I am back in the lounge car drinking Sam Adams and reading Rolling Stone. Turns out Pete Townshend just sold his all of his publishing for an estimated $30-$50 million. Not a bad gig if you can get it.

7:10 – Two cute blondes sit down at my booth to watch a Dolphin movie. (Not sure which one, the dolphins may or may not have been talking.)

7:15 – The cute blondes mom tells them they have to go and get their pajamas on.

8:00 – I head downstairs to a little slice of heaven known as the smoking lounge. I smoke a cigarette but feel (and smell like) I smoked a pack since it is like smoking with three other people in the middle of a group hug inside a phone booth.

8:05 – 9:00 – I drink more Sam Adams.

My coffin (strap array on the right)
9:30 – Kyle, our porter, turns the “roomette” my dad and I are sharing into a double-decker, coffin sized sleeping berth. The top bunk I will be sleeping in is suspended by an array of what appears to be seatbelt straps.

9:45 – As my dad goes to sleep he says, “Be careful you don’t fall out of that sonofabitch, you’re liable to strangle yourself in those straps.” Thanks, dad, you sleep well too.

10:00 – 6:00AM – I spend a fitful night being jostled around in my crypt while worrying about death by hanging.

8:00 – We arrive in Lorton, Virginia, retrieve the car and drive home.

Mostly, I ask my kids to put away their laundry and take out the garbage. Mine just asked me to come to Florida. Not a bad gig if you can get it.


Kristine said...

Another funny one! I like the analogy of jackals fighting over antelope carcass! haha!

FreshGreen Kim said...

Kris, that had me laughing, too. I may have to borrow it to describe an upcoming church dinner when the dessert is served.

Dave Meyer said...

I probably should have researched a bit to see if that is indeed an apt analogy. Do jackals fight over antolope? At the least I should have tuned into Animal Planet! But thanks!