September 25, 2011

In Praise of The Train, Trust & Love.

Perfectly Harmless.

There is nothing like feeling The Trust. It very often leads to feeling The Love.

My project, 25 Days, is going to take me to 15 cities across the U.S. this year. I am on my way to my fourth city, Austin, Texas. I thought I would express my enthusiasm for my mode of transport between cities: the train.

I have spent a lot of time on Amtrak for the 25 Days project. The more I travel by Amtrak, the more I love it. I have come up with a list of the top ten reasons why Amtrak is so awesome:

  1. I can take toothpaste and all manner of other toiletries with me, and actually use them while traveling.
  2. The people who work on Amtrak are quite lively and personable. At the end of a recent ride, the conductor told us, “okay folks, this is the end of the line. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!” So funny.
  3. I can do yoga poses in the aisles and no one seems to care that much. In fact, sometimes little kids join me or show me how much better they are at yoga than I am. Which is an added bonus you don’t usually get in the yoga studio, children walking up to you and telling you, “you’re not doing it right.”
  4. People talk to each other. In general, people aren’t as cranky as they are on planes, probably because they haven’t been strip searched, and I have met many very cool and interesting people while traveling.
  5. The ability to walk around while trying not to fall on people for long stretches of time. This in itself strengthens my yoga practice.
  6. The view of the passing landscape is often breathtaking.
  7. The seats are actually comfortable and well-suited for sleeping.
  8. You meet a lot of old people. I am one of those people who could live in a nursing home for the rest of my life and be perfectly happy just listening to the stories old people tell. Even if they do tell you the same one over and over, it is really quite soothing.
  9. It forces you to slow down. Amtrak doesn’t own its own rails, so sometimes trains have to stop and wait for cargo trains to pass. You must come to a point where you accept where you are while you are there.  It is a good practice in patience.
  10. People trust you. When you travel by plane, the government and the air lines are telling you, through their treatment of you, that you are not to be trusted. You are not allowed to take certain items with you, you must take off your shoes and jacket to get through security, and you must be patted down or x-rayed to get through as well. I find this ironic because it wasn’t me who messed up on 9/11. It was the people who are now treating me as if I can’t be trusted. It is the height of irony and hypocrisy that the people who dropped the ball so badly ten years ago are now treating me as if I am the problem. Get a clue, U.S. Government, I am not the problem. I am too little to be much of a problem to anyone.
Wow, where did that come from? Well, anyway, That is why the train is great. It is a moving environment where trust and communication flourish. Evidently, it is also a place where I can feel safe enough to articulately express my feelings of agitation regarding flying.
I will meditate in a minute.
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