Swimming with the Razorfishes

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I am in a train somewhere in the middle of New Jersey, heading south. The train is stuck, has been for about 15 minutes, waiting for some "signal problems" to be sorted out.

That is not-so-good.

Making things even worse, it is (apparently) National Train Day, or "get your choo choo on" day, or something like that. There seem to be quite a few slogans.

And there are two elderly volunteers walking up and down the aisles, canvas tote bags stuffed with all sorts of pamphlets and books explaining the history and virtues of America's trains. Patches sewn onto the sleeves of their khaki shirts tell me they are "official train information volunteers." Which seems dangerously close to "sadistic brain-eating cult." To me, at least.

I pay for business class seats to stay away from the rabble, dammit! Go give your pamphlets to someone in coach!

One of the volunteers is standing at my seat, asking "can I get you anything, sir!? Sir? Anything?" He is holding his bag open, displaying its contents, and fanning out leaflets in one hand, like some kind of demented card dealer.

I'm ignoring him, but I don't know how much longer I can keep this up; he seems to be getting agitated.

No, you have nothing I want in that tote bag, and keep your damn brain-eating fingers away from me!


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