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Posts Tagged ‘via rail’

The Great Train Ride of 2014

Posted on: January 29th, 2014 by brendanmckeigan

 

So, it finally happened. It took twenty-eight days, but it happened. I forgot to put up my daily entry. I had an idea of what to write about, and I’d love to give an excuse as to why it wasn’t posted, but that would just be to make myself feel justified for forgetting. Keep in mind, it’s now 1:27am, and I woke up in bed and had a “Home Alone” moment. You know what I mean; where you sit up frantically and yell, “BLOG!” or “KEVIN!” I hope child services doesn’t take my blog away. The point is, I may be late, but better late than never? You can decide if this counts.

Monday evening, I returned home after spending close to two weeks in Toronto doing shows. Before the train ride home, I decided to buy a lottery ticket in the hopes that I would win and not have to take a train with people on it ever again. When I asked to sit with a young man, he politely responded, “Of course!” He was around 25 years old. He was skinny, with dirty blond hair, glasses and a bit of that classic nerd to him. His face buried in a copy of the novelization of “Jumper,” based on the obvious Oscar robbed movie. I knew it would be an awkward trip when I put my coat in the overhead compartment, and my bag on the seat along with the lottery ticket from the pocket of my jacket, and immediately he chimed in a giant smile with, “Hey! Lottery ticket?” Like this somehow meant that if I were to win, I would obviously share it with this odd man sitting next to me. I didn’t win on the lottery ticket. I’m almost relieved.

The man just grew more into watching everything I did. I pulled on my laptop and checked my Facebook and emails. He didn’t just glance over like we’ve all been guilty of. He full blown leaned in, resting his weight on his arm rest and just perusing my screen. Not a fan. I brought up my writing file for which I bring to you this blog and he asked if I was a writer. I responded with, “No, it’s just for a blog.” I realize I missed an opportunity for a daily reader, but something tells me it’s probably safer that way.

I finished my blog entry and posted it, being quick to hide my name visible on the screen. I put my laptop away, put my earphones in, and pulled out a book. I might as well have been reading him a bedtime story. When earphones go in, it’s common practice to understand that a person would like to be left alone with your thoughts. I know I probably sound rude when I say all of this too. He was being very polite, but had no concept of personal space.

Halfway to Ottawa from Toronto we arrived in Kingston, and guess what? A seat opened up. Like the spawning of a clam containing a rare pearl, FOUR, yes four chairs opened up at the back of the train car. I seized the moment. I didn’t think. I just acted. It was the single greatest decision of my life. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but I had four seats to myself! Two front facing seats, and two rear facing seats became my own personal living room on this train. I waited until we pulled away from Kingston to set up shop. I sprawled all over those four seats like a cat does to a new scratch pad covered in catnip. It was fantastic.

Across the aisle from me, a mother was traveling with two young children. Her son, no more than 7, and daughter who was more than likely under 2 years old were my new travel companions. I didn’t speak with them at all, and I have to say, that mother did an amazing job. I don’t have any children, but I know it can be tough to get them into a car to go run errands. She managed to get TWO of them on a train, AND they were well behaved. It was incredible. The youngest had a couple little yelling fits, but nothing majorly disruptive.

I looked over and saw the mother having herself a beer. She definitely earned it. Your kids were being great, and you probably were under a lot of stress to have to travel alone with them. I was going to buy her next one if the cart came around again. Alas, it did not.

I thought I overheard them speak with an attendant that they were passing through to Montreal. Turns out right before I got off the train before the downtown Ottawa station, I wanted to do something to make the trip easier and burned them “The Amazing Spiderman.” The boy looked content watching movies the whole time, and who doesn’t love Spiderman.

I may have fibbed and told the mother I had a copy of the movie file and had no use for it on disc. But I didn’t want to be weird like my former seat-mate. As I got off the train, I was relieved to be home. But more importantly, I was realizing that once again I might have access to decent wifi. Seriously Via Rail, you need to get your internet together. Although, I do find it incredible you found a dial-up cable that stretches across an entire province.

And yet, I still look forward to the next time I have to take the train.