Okay, back to my Amtrak trip. Did I mention that we boarded in the rain…the pouring-down, watch-out-the-dam-doesn’t break, get-the-kids –to-the roof -type of rain? Did I mention that our car was the last one on the train and that there was no cover over us as we walked to our car so that we looked like drowned rats by the time we got on board? Never mind. That was probably the highlight of the trip, (After the bacon episode, of course.)
If you’ll recall, we were discussing inspiration the last time we met. How do we come up with something to write about when confronted with a blank page and a deadline? The lesson I learned on the Amtrak trip was that everything is fodder for examination, no matter how frustrating, boring or incongruous it may seem.
Take for example, the rain. We sloshed to our seats, brushed off the water from our heads, faces, and clothes as best we could and sat down…squishy shoes pushed to the side to dry. That is pretty much a universal experience (unless you live somewhere that it never rains…if so you should quit reading right now.) So, inspired as I am to tell you about how uncomfortable we all were, you can sympathize because you’ve been there too. You may not have ridden on Amtrak in the rain, but you have probably been caught out without an umbrella once or twice.
Then the experience (mentioned on Monday) of having 50 Girl Scouts on the train with us. Now, I was a Girl Scout. And I was a Girl Scout leader. And my daughter was a Girl Scout. So, I have NOTHING against Girl Scouts. And I love their cookies. Especially the Thin Mints. But being cooped up on a train with 50 young girls who have been eating heaven-only-knows what but Michelle Obama probably wouldn’t approve, (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t apples) is a trial.
To be honest, it was a trial for their leaders also, because after we were into the 12th hour of a 5 hour trip to Chicago (don’t ask but it gave me lots of inspiration), one of the leaders came back to the snack bar. She looked at the attendant and said in a very calm voice, “Do you serve alcohol on this train? I don’t care what kind.” We could sympathize as the conductor shook his head “no,” and I thought I saw a tear coursing down her cheek.
Do you see what has happened here? Without even trying, I have found inspiration in the simple exercise of rail travel. I have stories that would curl your hair from this trip. Stay turned for the next time I need inspiration. Thanks Amtrak.