Train (incomplete observational)

Posted: June 7, 2010 in Uncategorized

As I boarded the train with four heavy bags in tow, I took pause and looked around at the passengers sharing the small space with me. An old man in dark green and blue jeans, hands folded patiently with no distractions to take the time of his journey away. A middle-aged man with dark sunglasses despite the overcast atmosphere and headphones snaking under an over-gelled haircut. A young mother dressed in purple and a fashionably efficient haircut, a faux-eighties rocker type with long curly hair and boots, and an older woman who looks like she ghostwrites for Sue Grafton all traverse the aisle looking for food or a bathroom or an empty seat.
My seat-mate is older, with a somewhat straggly beard and a bad cough. He nods at the scrubland emerging beyond the window as we exit another tunnel. “Coyote country,” he says, and I nod politely as we meet with cookie-cutter suburbia on the fringes of a wild animal frontier.
“Simi Valley,” crackles the announcer in his metal speaker, and the old man in dark green and blue jeans stands to leave. A younger woman takes his place, spunky with a blue/green plaid shirt, white scarf and a bright emerald shamrock tattooed behind her ear. A teenager passes me with a blue sweatshirt and trendy oversized prescription glasses that make her eyes beady with impatience as she makes her way to the snack car.
“Twenty-five minutes to Camarillo, twenty-five minutes,” he crackles again.
I am a solitary traveler. One will often find me more with my nose in a book rather than someone’s business. For that reason, I was glad that the man beside me was not chatty.
At that moment, the train jerked violently; perhaps a small imperfection on the railing.
The man next to me rubbed his elbow, which had collided with the window. “Damn train. Must be something with the rail.”
“Mmm,” I said noncommitally, turning a page in my book.
“Wonder if this thing ever derailed.” He turned to me. “What do you think?”
“Hopefully not.”

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