please stop tickling me

In which we laugh and laugh and laugh. And love. And drink.

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Location: Portland, Oregon

Otium cum Dignitatae

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Greetings from the Emerald City

I had just received my bag of Fritos brand corn chips (who once employed what I feel is the greatest slogan ever: "I know what I like AND I LIKE FRITOS CORN CHIPS") from a vending machine in the train station in Salem, Oregon. I left the building just in time to see the back of my train, departing without me.
Well, I thought, with characteristic trooper-ness, at least I don't have to sit next to that woman with the eye melting down the side of her face from a stroke she, at some point, had suffered. She also had that unmistakable smell of adult diapers. I had been sitting there talking to someone who had been slowly shitting their pants, and that fact was difficult to ignore, and thereby maintain friendly relations.
The problem was, my posessions were on that train, and Amtrak is notorious for not being able to communicate with itself. When I told the station employee (the only other person there) what had happened, the scared look he got on his face didn't help. I proposed that there was probably someone I could talk to at the station in Eugene, where I was headed. For some reason, he chose to email the next stop, in Albany. He sent them some note that I could not see, and I had a sneaking suspicion that this would lead to my things getting off at the wrong stop. He hadn't even asked for a description of what it was that I had left on the train. This was rapidly getting Kafka-esque. I was also thinking: what if this was actually an emergency, instead of mere inconvenience? What if they needed to say-oh, school bus stuck on the tracks; pass it on? It would seem that they could not, even though they all worked on the same system. It didn't make sense.
So after a few minutes, I again asked if maybe there was an actual number I could call, at the Eugene station. I received a number, with the weird frightened look again, and a caveat; "I don't know if they'll be answering the phone this time of day..."
But we must try, sir, I thought, and dialed. I spoke to a perfectly nice lady who told me that the conductor could very easily get my stuff off of there in Eugene, but was my name in any way on my luggage?
No, I said, but I could easily identify its contents, including two packs of Nat Sherman Havana Oval cigarettes, one copy of "The Story of My Life", by Clarence Darrow, a New Yorker magazine bearing the mailing address of..."Alright. That's enough." she said.
I am fortunate, on these occasions when I leave the subterranean honeycomb of tunnels I reside in, that my support system is so vast. My Dad lives in Salem, and gave me a ride to Eugene, where I received by belongings with little (aside from having to politely avoid the efforts, made by a man with running sores on his face, at friendship) to no difficulty.
There are other things that have happened to me while being here, but they are none of your fucking business. I'll be back tomorrow. I love you all.



Blogger tallywacker jesuseyes said...

ah yes, trains. I miss them. I love them. when I lived in New Jersey it seemed my whole life was spent on commuter trains--from Bradley Beach, NJ to Hicksville, Long Island.

Amtrak, I think it's run by elderly men who can only speak in grunts (this is a reference to the one I found in the Newton, Kansas station at 1:am several years ago). what a thing of beauty that station was. I take that back, all train stations are a thing of beauty. if I could as little as take a leak in them all.

let me offer you this: Union Station, Chicago. I witnessed a homeless gentleman who understood your pain. he wandered around the station moaning and wailing and crying out "OH AMTRAK!!!!" until the cops took him away.

4:33 PM  
Blogger baby bulldog said...

the last time i was on a train i somehow became designated as the luggage guarder for 12 other people. this meant i had to sit on a suitcase in the little room between cars surrounded by backpacks and such and keep an eye out for gypsies.

7:33 PM  
Blogger carrier said...

They say you just can't trust gypsies. Especially the kind that ride on trains. Lets face it, taking advantage of public transportation is really just mailing it in for a gypsy.

5:51 PM  

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