Monday, October 11, 2010

Ticket to Ride

I am just off a two-day, Boston to Denver, train ride. It was good. It was awful. Good means that I saw the country from a different perspective, neither highway nor sky high. The opportunities for people watching stretched across the continent. Not so good were wearing the same clothes for two days and sleeping--sort of--in a recliner that reclined about three inches and featured a foot rest too short for even me. And the coach the first night was chilly. (Note to all train travelers: take a blanket.) The bathrooms are tiny. I am not tiny. It's hard to read when the rails are rough and the page bounces around.

After a layover in Chicago, I boarded the California Zephyr. It didn't feel the least bit breezy, but at least the seating gods blew some luck my way. One of the two seats in my row was defective, so I got the remaining one and was able to use the broken one for my stuff. I needed stuff--snacks, a magazine, pens, a notebook, and a system that involved sheets of yellow lined paper, folded in thirds like a letter, but with the writing perpendicular to the lines. These narrow columns gave me a better grip when the coach rocked. It rocked a lot. Somehow, though, I made notes, a lot of notes. And it felt good. Now I must decide what to do with them. If nothing comes, at least I practiced noticing, and that's an important skill to nurture. Ginsberg said, "Notice what you notice." I noticed myself noticing.

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