OK, so my friend Gary is very involved in community low-power FM radio and helped found a station here in the Falls of Bellow, WOOL-FM (http://www.wool.fm). He's started this cool mini-programming thing called PHONE IT IN, where one can have a regular slot for three minutes of opining about any old thing. Because I like Gary and he plies me with Malbec, I have agreed to Phone It In. I've done three and it occurred to me today, as I ranted about how much I despise Twitter, that I might as well post these to the Blog. Although Blogger denies that I actually have ever had a blog, I've managed to re-access my account. Hot-cha! Here's the first Phone It In I did, about taking the Amtrak up to Montpelier a couple of weeks ago.
I love trains. I can bore people to death in the space of five minutes talking about trains. So I’m going to try to bring this in in four.
The other day, I was invited to Montpelier. The train’s been operating on time out of Bellows Falls recently, and I thought, “hey, why not take the train up, spend the night and then come back the next day?”
So I called my friend Julie to make a reservation. Julie’s the automated voice at the 1-800-USA-RAIL Amtrak number. People think I have a crush on Julie, but that’s not true. Julie told me it’s be $20 each way and that the northbound train was running 8 minutes late.
I went down to the station. The train arrived on time. The conductress, who looks like Debbie Harry if Debby Harry had chosen to be an Amtrak conductor instead of doing that rock star thing, said that the rate for travel within the state of Vermont was $12 each way.
We rode, majestically, up the Connecticut River Valley, past the floodgates of the Bellows Falls Dam, over the High Bridge on the Sugar River, past the worlds longest covered bridge and the very fetching piles of rubble that constitute most of what one sees of Windsor. It got dark soon after that.
The next morning I was back at the Montpelier station for a 9:42 am departure. The train was pretty full - I heard Debby Harry saying they had 72 passengers on board out of Montpelier and that they’d be full by Hartford.
Vermont looked sparkly and beautiful and watching it spool by made me happy to live here. In White River Jct. two callow college students got on board. They sat down in back of me and started listening to rap music on their computer.
Their conversation went like this:
Listen to this. I like this song.
Heh heh heh.
This song is good.
I got this album - the carter family reunion. it’s stupid. it’s an entire album by people whose last name is carter.
This is like my favorite song.
heh heh heh.
They were wearing headphones and weren’t being loud, but I wanted to kill them, just on principle.
Of course, my contempt has to be leveraged with the fact that back in college my roomate Jerry and I thought “Your Love Is Like Nuclear Waste” by the Tuff Darts was a good song.
We didn’t giggle like that, though.
We pulled into Bellows Falls right on time at 11:45 am. I said goodbye to Debby, and blew a kiss to Julie as the train disappeared into the tunnel, North-by-Northwest style.
Okay, I can sense that your eyes are starting to glaze, so I’ll stop here. Just a thought, though - think about taking the train on your next little jaunt upstate. It’s fun, and you may get to learn about some new music.
And kiss Julie for me. Ooops. Well, never mind. Just don’t believe a word she says about the cost. Or whether the trains on time or not. She once left me shivering in the cold in Elko, Nevada for three hours in the middle of the night. Julie. What a gal.
Talk to you later.