I'm sitting in the train in the station in Pittsburgh, waiting to leave for home and my cousin's wedding, where I will return to the world of performance violin for one brief weekend. The train is spacious and wide and comes with an on-board magazine. The seats are comfortable and MY FEET REACH THE GROUND! Because my ticket was cheaper than the bus (and because my window has curtains), I have decided I will never again take a Greyhound when I go home. Additionally, there seems to be magical free wi-fi on the train. Apart from these wonders, I have seen the following things:
1. The electronic check-in kiosk, buried beneath an enclave of old yentas eating donuts and gossiping. I needed to use this kiosk because I just can't wait in long lines in the earl morning when technology is available. When I climbed over the yentas and their belongings to print my electronic ticket, they all exclaimed, "Well look at that! She got her ticket from a machine!" Everyone within earshot came to watch. I became a novelty act. I sort of expected applause when I finally left with my receipt.
2. A man and his wife with huge Yafa blocks filled with apples. The apples were all different shades and sizes. They rolled the blocks behind them on those portable dollies. I wonder where on the train they will stash their loot. Perhaps the baggage area?
3. An Amish family with one stroller full of babies and another filled with food and blankets. I wonder if they have been here for the Children's hospital and are now returning to Lancaster?
4. A man so drunk I gagged on the fumes coming off of him. Beside him in the boarding room was, of course, the only available seat. When I took it, he began a long discussion with me over the joys of playing instruments. My violin case reminded him of the days he used to play the guitar. He had a smooth southern accent and was taking a train for work. "I can't fly, you see, because my id got all fucked up."
"Of course," I told him, nodding. "That happens sometimes." He works for Wal-mart at night, remodeling storefronts and laying tiles. He hates working at night and has to drink a fifth of vodka at 6am or he won't be able to sleep during the day. His great hope on this trip is to secure a sleeping car en route to the next Wal-mart.