Choo-Choo to You

I just ordered tickets to Texarkana aboard Amtrak. This is a first for me, the riding Amtrak thing. Leaving Saturday morning at 9:30, arriving at 9pm. Coming back 5:30am a week later on Sunday to arrive home at 7pm. After being a rail afficionado for a lifetime, I finally have the opportunity to ride the rails. I’ve heard it’s classier and more comfortable than Greyhound; I can leave my seat and walk around, and there’s food available onboard. It’s just that in this part of the country, it takes forever to get anywhere.

Amtrak, in Texas, has to share the rails with freight trains, which get priority; Amtrak just leases time and space. So the trips promise to take longer than marked on the schedules. And god help us if there’s a train breakdown somewhere on the tracks, or a train hits a car; that’s at least a 3-hour stop. And nobody can leave the train except at the rail stations. Good thing I don’t smoke anymore.

So I’ll be staying at my cousin’s place, on the couch. Her housemates are night-owls. There’s pets and smoking and alcohol and cold conditions. My mother, who lives in the apartment out back, has promised to let me use her car when necessary; hopefully there won’t be too much inconvenience on either part. This’ll be my first time in Texarkana without the available use of my own car since I moved back from North Carolina in ’98. I’m not used to that level of living, coordinating with others to get around instead of hopping into my car at-will. Get settled in my ways, y’know?

Also, this’ll be the first time I’ve spent a whole week in Texarkana since I moved to Austin. Usually I’m ready to return to the comfort of my own bed after four days, so it’ll be a stretch. I may hate life after the week is over, I may find myself, I may cancel the train reservation and hitchhike back home. I don’t know. Hopefully it’ll go well.

So this is a warning to those of you in Texarkana who are my friends and family (and who still bother to regularly read my mostly-dead journal): I’m coming to Texarkana for the Thanksgiving holiday. Prepare your tables.

Published by Shawn

He's just this guy, you know?