20 August 2008

Motion For the Sake of Motion


I get sort of pent up sometimes, writing wise. There's a lot to say but the words are colluding to evade deployment, battening down the hatches and drawing the blinds, so to speak. And then I can't figure out how to put it all down. I do this fairly often. I need a respite, a break, a change in scenery before anything will come out. To be honest, I need the change in scenery just to want to get anything to come out.

So now I am writing this from a quiet, air-conditioned commuter train that is slicing it's way though the Maryland summer to Baltimore. I never realized how soothing it was to just sit here and look out the window while the country side slides past. It makes me jealous of people who have a commute that includes this quiet train ride. I know that people who actually commute are probably raising their collective voices as they read this, ready to beat me with suitcases and rolled up copies of the Washington Post or the Express, but I maintain that this quiet slice of heaven is not a bad way to spend your evening hour after work. Plus, I like trains.

We are sliding into Baltimore now, skirting past the industrial suburbs by the airport, and into neighborhoods that used to be outlying country towns before the Baltimore/Washington corridor ate them up. Wide porches and bungalow fronts used to house industrial workers, and now house the people who I am riding this train with. Apparently most of their careers involve dressing poorly and reading trashy novels. Postal Inspectors? Assistant Archivist III at the State Department? Secretary to a nameless guy at the Internal Revenue Service? I assume the worst, but most likely they are people like me who are going home to barbecue and read a book and maybe have a shower. But I like to assume that they are nameless drones that get no satisfaction out of life. It makes my wry observations more wry. And that's how I like my observations.

West Baltimore looks like life has been rough; ridden hard and put away wet. At one time I thought we might like to move to Baltimore, to live in a house I could actually afford and have a yard and a dog and be super bohemian in a city that wavers between dark depression and exuberant assumption. I thought maybe I would ride my bike to this very train station to ride this very train south to earn a good salary in DC, returning each night to sit in the backyard and drink beer and roast meat on a grill. I still maintain that this is not the craziest of ideas, however the expression on J's face every time I bring it up conveys a different story. But it does seem like a quaint and distant notion now.

We slip into a tunnel and spend a few rumbling minutes in the dark, flashing past florescent lights that line the wall. And then we are in the sunshine again, in Baltimore.

I'll buy a drink at the train station bar, if there is one, and spend twenty minutes wandering around before getting back on the southbound 4:55, returning me from my pointless trip, back to where I need to be.

6 comments:

HRH King Friday XIII said...

No jumpers?

but really this was a good post.

Princess Amber said...

Trains, as you say my dear friend, are radically awesome. Much like that feeling you get when the plane takes off of 'Well, there's nothing I can do about it now, I'm just going to have to sit here till they put me down again', trains kind of absolve you of responsibility. Unlike planes they also give you something to look at out the window. They're a superior mode of transport in every way. How many good sleeps have you had on trains with that gentle rocking? Amazing. Having said that, I rode an overnight train last week and dreamed I was in an earthquake that wouldn't stop, but that's the exception to the great sleep rule I think!

Spit Up said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Spit Up said...

Kansas is calling!!! Are you there Brock? It's me, boring wonderland of fun family! Blog worthy adventures to be had. Cute niece and nephew need a dose of UB.

echidna girl said...

I'd love to take this one someday. You'd have plenty of time for ruminating during this journey:

http://www.trans-siberian.com.au/

english guy said...

This is a beautiful post. Have you been smoking crack again? You get all poetical when you've been honking on a crack pipe. It suits you though.

Seriously, reminds me of riding the trains in Asia with you. Aaaah great times, good to hear you've still got the itch...