Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The other thing that happened that sounds made up and isn't

Okay, the second thing that sounds made up but isn't (first one here) happened last week on my train ride back up from Chicago to Minneapolis. I vastly prefer the train over the car for a number of reasons:

A) It's 6 or 7 hours of uninterrupted reading time.
B) It's cheaper and more earth friendly than driving.
C) I'm a crap driver.
D) The last time we took our 14-year-old car in for weird sound investigation, the mechanic refused to take it on the highway due to concerns for his personal safety. (NOTE: this does not stop DH from driving it on the hwy whenever he gets it in his head to.)

Train car of hell

Usually my Amtrak experience is totally pleasant, but this ride was shockingly awful. My car was full of people eating smelly food, kids fighting and babies crying, and, while I can roll with those things, as they do not specifically prevent reading, I was getting SUPER annoyed at the people behind me playing DVDs really loud, some sort of movie with lots of talking.

I tolerated several hours of this by a kind of fierce concentration. I was finishing Anne Aguirre's sci-fi novel GRIMSPACE, and absorbed in it, so that helped, though I sure wished those DVD people had brought earphones. And so did the people around me.

Anyway, around Tomah, WI, I was relieved when the movie sounded like it was over, and I figured they'd shut the thing off. By that time, I was finished with GRIMSPACE and was going on to Kesley Cole's DARK NEEDS AT NIGHT'S EDGE.

And they put in another movie--a kid's movie with bells and horns and screechy mouse voices. So I'm like, fuck this, I'm outta here. I grab my purse and my backpack and my water and M&Ms and go in search of a new seat in a totally new car. Which you're NOT supposed to do on a train. So I walked through the sleeper car, the lounge car, another crowded car, and then I come to this one really nice, quiet, non-food smelly car that had one whole double open seat.

Train car of heaven

I sit down, and open my book. Just then the train stops and my new car empties out even more, and becomes even more quiet. So I'm reading in perfect peace for an hour, and this fresh faced young college boy across the aisle asks me where I'm going and I tell him and I ask him, etc. He's going to some college named St. John's in St. Paul, he tells me.

We proceed to have this pleasant little train passenger conversation, and while we're talking, all these wholesome, fresh-faced college boys pop their heads up around me. They all seemed to know each other, and they were all smiling and SO sympathetic to me being in this other car. Now, I'm past the age of getting that kind of attention from college boys, so I was like, this is weird.

Then they're really keenly interested in what I'm reading. Which was slightly embarrassing, considering the cover. I give them a kind of G-rated version of the plot, explaining that it's a very exciting story about a ghost and a vampire. They all seem to find crazy-fascinating.

Finally I'm like, St. Johns? And they're like, Seminary School. They're studying to be priests. I almost spit out my M&M's. And I'm like, whoa. Cool. And I'm thinking, gee, I'm really glad I didn't go into any kind of detail on the whole vampire chained to a bed and amorous ghost plotline.

We talk a bit more, and then we all just go back to our reading. The thing was, they weren't trying to talk to me about religion or anything. I think they were just really heavy into human kindness. Maybe that is the first level of priest study. I can't say how pleasant it was. Car of heaven.


Christine said...

That's too bad about the first half of your trip. I sometimes will listen to Yo Yo Ma on my ipod to drown out annoying sounds so I can read in noisy places, but it doesn't always work.

Glad you found some peace among the seminarians. ;)

Christine said...

I forgot to ask: what did you think of the books?

Carolyn Jean said...

An ipod would've been good, but then it's hard to read. I liked Grimspace, and will probably blog about it later. I'm still in the early phases of Dark Needs, but so far it's fabulous.

Holly said...

Ok, wow. I'm seriously cracking up about the Seminary boys. I mean, isn't that just fitting when you're reading a dirty romance novel? haha That's almost as good as nuns.

Really am sorry about the first half of the train ride, though.

Anonymous said...

"They're studying to be priests." - Oh, that cracked me up. :)

And although I'm sorry about the train car from hell, LOL about the train car names. Heaven and hell - how fitting!

MaryKate said...

Fresh faced, sweet priests? Well...the world needs more of those, I think. Glad you gave them the "G" version of the KC story!

Glad to hear you enjoyed Grimspace, and are enjoying Kresley's book too.

Tracy said...

OMG that's so hilarious! I'm sorry the first half of the trip sucked but it sounds like the last part of the trip more than made up for it. :)

Carolyn Jean said...

Holly: It was so funny. I sort of wished I was still reading Grimspace, which at least looked a bit more respectable.

Taja: I even thought, this car is like heaven.

MK: The books were both from heaven, of course.

Tracy: It made me appreciate what I had on the second half even more.

Tumperkin said...

Aw - nice post. Made me smile. I thought you Americans were all confrontational though (with the DVD hogs I mean)? No? That sounds like a classically British 'can't complain' scenario.

Carolyn Jean said...

You know, T, I think it's a Midwestern thing.

Kristie (J) said...

ROTFL - Oh that is funny - trying to explain the story line to young men going to be priests!!!
That much uninterrupted reading time sounds heavenly. To bad it was ruined for you - the first half anyway.

Liza said...

I think it's crazy not to have headphones/earbuds for any dvd player when on the road. I even make my nieces wear them in my car so I can listen to something besides their movies. Glad the second half of the trip was better.

I usually have my ipod with me on trips. I can listen to music and read, I just really don't hear the music, more for drowning out the background noises.

Sarah said...

hehe. The best train ride ever! What nice boys!

Carolyn Jean said...

KJ: thanks, and I love your new little avatar thingy.

Liza: I should probably just get headphones myself. Usually people on the train are so much more considerate.

Sarah: Indeed!!

writtenwyrdd said...

Seminary students! Bwahaha! That was a clue from on high. Maybe.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know I'm having a contest in honor of my 2nd blogaversary and hoped you wouldn't mind spreading the word!


Ellen said...

Theory: the DVD and stinky food offenders come from cities (like ours) with only nominal public transportation--and therefore they simply didn't know how to behave. When K & I were scooting around on the Montreal subways last month, we noticed that no one chewed gum, ate food, drank beverages (not even bottled water) or listened to anything without earbuds. The subways didn't seem to be patrolled. It was as though everyone just...knew.

Aymless said...

Almost snorted my tea when I read about the seminary guys! LOL

alecia said...

Honey, they thought you were cute - and maybe safe (you have a wedding ring on!) But the compliment is deserved - and so much fun! ads

alecia said...

Honey, they thought you were cute - and maybe safe (you have a wedding ring on!) But the compliment is deserved - and so much fun! ads

naida said...

sorry about the bad part of your trip.
glad it got better.

I got the nancy drew bag in the mail today...omg it so cute!! my daughter loves it.
thanks so much :)

little alys said...

Oh my, that was some trip. At least it was exciting, right? *g* Think there's going to be a next time? Maybe next time, it'll just be a simple mundane...human car ride. >_<