[I posted this on my music blog a while ago and was just wondering why I didn’t also post it here. It is, after all, pretty personal.
It’s not uncommon for Americans to go over to Europe and ride the rails all over but most haven’t ridden this nation’s rails extensively.
From September 7 to 10, 2003, for three and a half days I rode trains from Boston to Emeryville, changing trains once, in Chicago. I moved to California on those trains. I had known Boston as home for four years and Pittsburgh before that. Three thousand miles away, the Bay Area was almost a complete unknown. It was to be a time of new friends, new living arrangements, new streets, a new school, new supermarkets, and a new barber. I left half a day after a friend’s wedding and leaving that wedding was sort of like my farewell moment for most of the people I counted as friends there. I got on board with an ipod with only a few hours of battery life, my laptop with even less, two suitcases, a guitar and a backpack.
I didn’t have a cell phone and the train rarely stopped for long enough to have meaningful contact with people outside the train. I was very isolated for those few days.
I wrote down some thoughts at the time, when I was on the train. A few distinctive names and details have been changed to protect the innocent and I edited some small sections to make it easier to read. The rest appears as typed at the time.
Vernon L Sutphin – Lost Train Blues (mp3)
Dido- “Thank you” (ha!)
my shoulder hurts like the dickens. I strained it getting my 75 lb. bag into the rack above my seat. I just remembered that I have vanishing scent ben-gay and I applied some. I hope it helps because right now I can’t move my right arm without it hurting. this happened in san torini too.
been reading some of naked by david sedaris. the first three or four pages are so amazingly annoying but then he settles into a style that is acceptable. he has these ticks that sound similar to those that the narrator has in motherless brooklyn. maybe he’s tourrettic.
they sell beer on trains. how about that? it’s also like $4.50. maybe I’ll get some in chicago and bring it onboard. I wonder if that’s allowed.
it’s remarkably quiet here. it’s so much quieter than a plane and it’s probably a bit quieter than a car. I have my headphones set to a level a little louder than I would in [my old room] 42 with a bunch of computers. the vibration isolation is not so hot though. walking toward the cafe car I basically fell into the wall because of some side-to-side shake.
Deer Tick – These Old Shoes (mp3)
I got out in Albany because they gassed up and added cars there so it was a half an hour stop. I should tell Am I’ve been to Albany. there’s this strangely shaped church tower right outside the train station. it reminds me of a rocket ship.
9:30 am (CST)
Bob Dylan – “When the Ship comes In”
we should be in Chicago, but we’re not. I don’t think we’re in South Bend yet either. oh well. I’ll have a couple less hours in Chicago. I’m going to try to hit the Art Institute of Chicago, get a pizza and check my email using someone else’s wireless.
the Impressions – People Get Ready (mp3)