First, I think it’s important that I let you know how Halloween turned out. Well it was dead at work, which wasn’t so bad. Not for us. Dressed up as the Sanderson sisters from “Hocus Pocus.” Are you ready? I don’t think you are. At Chipotle and a few other times I was reminded how much I actually look like good old Bette. I’m not mad
This weekend was a real bear in a cape. It just was. I was given Friday to Sunday off for a much needed respite. I purchased train tickets to and from Chicago and was packed obscenely early. As in, I left Friday morning right? I was packed on Tuesday. This is unheard of in my life. Not to mention my train didn’t leave from Waterloo until 7:33 a.m. Or at least wasn’t scheduled to. I woke up at 4:30 because I couldn’t sleep anymore. Got my business out of bed and was on the road in way too much time. How much time? Well, as is the custom with Amtrak my train was running about 25 minutes late. So I get to the platform (because that’s really all Waterloo has, and even that’s generous. It’s a sidewalk) just before 7. Around 7:40 I start to get out of my car. I put my keys in my book bag and planned to unlock the passenger side door, but got distracted by an old lady trying to carry a very heavy looking bag. I offered to carry it for her, and of course, as I did I closed my now locked door. Having never unlocked the other door. My keys and all of my worldly possessions are now locked in my car and the train is coming in less than 20 minutes. Even a few weeks ago I would have wigged out. I probably would have just called my mom and cried and not gone on the trip. BUT instead. I instantly took off the antenna on my car and began trying to pry the window open. Five minutes later my arm is holding the window open as I unlock the door and gather my things to wait 10 more minutes for the train.
I’ll get to your train lessons and etiquette soon, but for now to the weekend.
It was exactly what I needed. I got into the city and realized I had no idea where I was going and had no real instruction. So I asked strangers. Strangers led me to all of the wrong places. Finally Hannah just insists that I come back downtown to her office. After work she gets me safely on my way to Jenn and Courtney’s. At this point I was nearly finished with the only book I brought on the train. Girl, Interrupted. This is probably not a healthy life choice as far as reading. But it didn’t seem to be destroying me. I read until Jenn got home, and I got to just sit. On the couch. with two of my very dear friends and hear about their lives. Kyle made us a wonderful minestrone. And we all headed down to Lady Gregory’s where Steve was working to meet up with the Glasses. It was pretty perfect.
The next morning I was able to sit with Courtney over coffee and just relax in the company of friends. I spent the rest of Saturday with Hannah. Saturday afternoon turned into Saturday night. And by Sunday morning I was in love with Elias and Jane. Hannah, the kids, and I went to meet up with Posegates (yeah. that’s right not the Hardings) and Cara for lunch. It’s just so good, ya know? Being around people who have known you so well.
But really probably most importantly by the end of Sunday Hannah and I were sitting on her couch watching four whole episodes of Doctor Who. I’ve got to admit I’m pretty proud.
I got to the train station last night, not certain of where I was going. Providentially I found myself right in line for my train which was boarding immediately. A tiny piece of panic set into my heart. Panic I hadn’t seen all weekend. Panic I hadn’t actually seen for a few weeks. I was instructed to sit in the 49th seat on my car. Next to a girl headed to Bryan. She was nice. She was also asleep the instant we started moving. Conveniently, I finished Girl, Interrupted and was given four books by Hannah. (Some traveling math: Left with two pairs of shoes. Came back with five.
Left with one book. Came back with five.)All about the state of female adolescence. Books about, as I see it, why I’m such a mess. And conversations I had are starting to process. Processing a conversation I had with Hannah. Processing what’s wrong with me.
On top of learning that Mike L. Fry died. Mike Fry, if you don’t know, was the original Happy the Hobo of Happy’s Place. And the news to me was like hearing part of my childhood, part of who I was. So that on top of processing things that were awful in my brain. Brings me to some train advice.
When traveling by train always choose a seat next to the cute nerdy type.
When traveling by train the appropriate way to ask if a seat is available is to say “Will it ruin your life if I sit here?”
When traveling by train eavesdrop. (I heard someone say “I used to study Internet.”
When on a train it may rock back and forth suddenly and drastically. This should always be as scary as heavy turbulence. It won’t kill you. The train won’t derail. Unless it does. And then it might kill you.
When traveling by train bring a book that is longer than 169 pages.
When visiting the city borrow books from friends because you were an idiot and ignored the 169er rule.
When on the train sobbing is not advised.
When taking the train hold it.