A Sentimental Train

"So how far you goin’?" I think I’ve been asked that question at least 20 times since September. It’s just how everyone knows to start a conversation when you’re on a train, I guess. If I’m just sitting there looking out the window, that question means it’s time to make a new acquaintance. If I’ve got my nose buried in a book or magazine, I can feel a little intruded upon I suppose. They might be bored or lonely, or they might be drunk and crazy. Or just crazy.

This route was the one that really got me into train travel. It took me on my first trip to Chicago, where I moved a six months later and have lived for the past six years. It takes me back to D.C. every year to see my family, too. I’ve met a blind novelist who lived with the Hell’s Angels, and a retired man who travels the country to go fly fishing and happened to go by the name “Midnight.” I’ve played cards with a young girl from a farm moving to Chicago for school, a father going to D.C. to see his 30-year-old son for the first time, and a tow truck driver taking a weekend trip to Indiana to see his army buddies and “get so fucked up I reenlist.” He won most of the hands, by the way.

I’ve been sober on this route and I’ve drank two bottles of wine on this route. At least ten books have been read and, in particular, I’ve listened to Robyn’s entire discography. I’ve been completely alone on it— tired, feverish, starving… sated and jubilant, too. I’ve even been on this route while in love.

This one means a lot to me.