Today’s post comes from Barbara in Robbinsdale
As you may have guessed if you follow this blog regularly, I barely got started talking about the 1998 Rail Pass trip in the post of 2/20/16. As I was reading through my journal while writing it, I came upon many of my encounters with the other people on the train, some of whom I can still recall without prompting.
Day 1 on the train, in coach seat: This is my first taste of freedom and anonymity – I remember this feeling from when I began living in San Francisco – my first time in a large city. I’m resisting the temptation to pipe up and join in ongoing conversations that I can overhear. I want to stay single, independent, anonymous.
Day 2: There are people from all over – speaking German, Polish (?), an Oriental language. It’s very beautiful to hear… And it’s fun to watch the various couples, being not part of a couple, for a change. The similarities (playing cribbage) and differences… The sweet things they sometimes do for each other, the bossiness, the assumed closeness, the laughter, and the frowning. It’s quite a phenomenon.
Day 5: It really is different being a single traveler. Ate in the dining car at same table with three Japanese young adults who cared not a whit about me, made no effort to engage a conversation. (Only one spoke much English.) I finally asked them at meal’s end where they’re from, etc. – a minute or two – then left it alone.
Other non-USA riders (a Londoner in Canada, a couple from Luxemburg) have been equally un-curious. Is it that I look uninteresting? Or is it just an American trait to be curious and nosey? I guess I was hoping to tell a lot of people about this adventure I’m on.
Day 18: There’s a little girl sitting somewhere behind me – probably 3 years old or so – who sings delightfully … would love to have her voice on tape!
Day 19: Have had some delightful conversations with various women in the last few days; just breakfasted with three generations from Beaumont, Mississippi – artist types – and asked them about how to learn perspective (in drawing).
In Observation Car: Two little girls have met here on the train, found each other (no doubt to their parents’ delight).
Day 20: Had a lot of fun drawing with a little boy named Kris. He has a cat at his grandma’s place called Shockamo-doo-da-day. I gave some drawing paper to the family with an almost-two-year-old, across and behind me – little boy who gave his momma such a sweet hug.
One southern woman knows how to have fun with that 3-year-old grandson. He’s in her custody, she tells me… and she’s also going to adopt a baby – she’s 52 and rides a motorcycle!
Day 23: Worked a crossword puzzle with a very nice kid (11-ish) en route to church camp.
Day 28: Ate in the dining car with another vital grandma traveling with her daughter and grandson – a widow full of life and actively seeking a good time – on a trip to Canada to study genealogy with her cousin.
What’s your modus operandi when traveling? Anonymous, or “out there”?