Sunday, September 17, 2006

Public transit story #11: The answer is in the question

Okay, first off: I feel slightly disingenuous about calling this a Public Transit Story, as it took place on Amtrak, which is not exactly public transit. But now that I've made this disclaimer, I feel a whole lot better.

So, without further ado, I present the following tale:

We went up to Sacramento this weekend for our anniversary. Neither of us had ever stayed in a place that cost $300 per night--at least not on our own dime (or 3000 dimes, as the case may be)--and so our one night in this gorgeous B&B was a little overwhelming. In a nice way, of course, but still.

An important aspect of this trip was taking the train from Berkeley to Sacramento. I love Amtrak. It might be slow and occasionally expensive, but often the tracks run through some really neat areas. I am fascinated by the sorts of things that are built right along railroad tracks--and sometimes I'm more fascinated by the things that are falling apart than the things that are well maintained.

Of course, Amtrak also provides ample opportunity for people-watching.

On our return trip, we were across the aisle from a pair of students. These girls were fairly loud (or was it merely that the rest of the train was fairly quiet?), and their conversation topics included boys, girls, parties, hard classes, easier classes, wanting to go to the gym more, and wanting to eat less junk food. Pretty standard for college students, really. After a lot of loud conversation, they finally agreed to do some homework.

The glorious silence was burst, much too soon, by "Hey, do you know what 'esoteric' means?"

Her friend didn't know.

I bit my lip. It was all I could do to keep from (1) blurting the definition across the aisle or (2) peeing myself with appreciation of sweet, sweet irony.

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