So when was the last time you took a longggg train ride and had to pay coach because you didn't have enough money for a sleeper and rationalized the whole experience before you went because trains are so romantic and you'd be unplugged from the world and the scenery was gorgeous and, and, and....
Well, I'm here to tell you whoever does PR for trains is a genius. Or else we are all romantic suckers.
Sure it was fun. Yes, I had an adventure. The scenery was to-die-for, but it's two weeks now, since I came back from Eugene, Oregon and I am STILL TIRED.
I might as well begin at the beginning.
Since I was a little girl, some 100 odd years or so, I had a fantasy about leaving on a train trip from downtown's Union Station.
When I finally got the opportunity, a few weeks ago, to attend a women's festival in Eugene, I jumped at the chance to take a train instead of a plane or a car.
In my mind, such as it is, Clark Gable would come walking through the Beaux Art doors. Mink clad starlets would be carting huge trunks. Men in tuxedos would be sipping martinis.
Clearly, I am a Pisces, with a vivid imagination who lives in a dream world and most likely will be visiting Mars very soon.
This is what really happened.
My friend Peter walked me in. That is after he paid $3.00 to park for 20 minutes. The station was really humid and hot. No air-conditioning in ANY ORIFICE. As I sat there (in the big sticky leather chairs) waiting for my train to come, the guy sitting across from me in the lobby was picking his pimples. Several other families were mulling about, each member either talking on their cell phone or listening to their Ipod. When I went to get a snack - I had to wait 10 minutes in the gift shop line, because most people were buying lottery tickets.
Yep, this was Union Station. And I really don't care how many movies they make there - the station needs a TUNE-UP. Are you listening? Do you hear me? Does anyone know Councilwoman Jan Perry?
It needs to be rescued by non-dreamers.
Finally when I hopped on the train, I had another reality. There is no such thing anymore as being unplugged. EVERYONE (but not me, of course) was on their cell. Even though in most places the reception was AWFUL.
"Hi Mary, this is Harry. MARY. MARY? What do you mean you're on a raft in the river? You're 80!" yelled my seat mate Harry when he called his girlfriend Mary.
Then there was the conductor repeatedly yelling over the loud speaker, "Remember the buzz won't make you wiser!" As passenger after passenger bought wine, beer, whisky, gin - you name it. I was on board with a bunch of drunken sightseers.
I, on the other hand, was reading one mystery after the next. In record speed. Sitting in my seat minding my own business. Until, it was time to go to sleep. And then it hit me. I was on this train for 24-friggin-hours each way, and I had to sleep in a seat, not a sleeper.
That is when I realized I needed to be a contortionist on Ambien. Wiggle this way. Woggle that way. Put my head where? Go to the bathroom when?
What does this lead up to? After 24 hours on a train - returning smelly, without a shower for two days, and blurry eyed - Union Station is sensational. And forget what I said before. I lied.