You must be a horrible judge of character because I’m a terrible conversationalist.
Does where you deeply find joy ever change over the years?
Put me on a train and it’s as if I have an IV drip of joy seeping slowly into my veins. All becomes well with the world. My pores open up and I feel the warmth of sun on my skin. My ears open and I follow conversations next to us that I wouldn’t even hear. The walnuts taste freshly picked, water is fresh from a stream and the hills might as well be the set for the Sound of Music.
In fact, they should just pipe in mood music and I’ll prance through the train in a frock and fleet and flitter like Tinkerbell. I’ll smile and I’ll probably get tackled by a few roughnecks who think I’ve been smoking crack. They’ll wrestle me with ease to the floor and I’ll keep laughing because the joke is, truly, on them.
It’s not the Trans Siberian Railroad for 11 days of forest and soup out of a tin. It’s not the luxury line of the Blue Train in South Africa complete with prancing antelope. It’s not even the cloud-scraping Canadian Rocky Mountain Railroad from Vancouver to Banff. It’s not exotic, it’s not expensive, it’s not 18 timezones away. It’s in my backyard, it’s heading down California, it costs $53, I think, and it’s all mine.
You must be a horrible judge of character because I’m a terrible conversationalist. — Overheard when a woman allowed a man to sit with her at her table in the panorama viewing car of the train. The man was terribly … entertaining.
Today I’m sharing the trip with my father and I couldn’t choose another human on the planet I’d rather be with. We chat about everything from AirPlay-enabled speakers to almond crops to March Madness brackets. We talk health, kids, and mathematics. It’s my little heaven and I’m enjoying every slow swaying moment of it.
It’s important to note that my dad and I will, most likely, never take the Trans Siberian Railroad or go to South Africa or even Canada. Where we are right now is where we have to make our dreams come true and the time to do that is not an imaginary point in the distant future but today. You don’t have to go far or need suitcases of cash. What you do need is imagination, $53, and a single day of your life.
I try to look ahead in the future and from that perspective see if I will remember this day. For this fine Thursday, I believe that even 20 years into the vast expanse of future time, I will look back and although I might not remember the almond crops, the salt mountains, or finally seeing the ocean at Pismo Beach, I’ll remember that my dad and I spent the full day together on the train without much a care in the world.