Railway termini are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return. (E. M. Forster)
Traditional motivational children’s story:
A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill "I can't; that is too much a pull for me," said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. "I think I can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I--think--I--can, I--think--I--can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could." [I have always loved this story]
Trains fascinate me, as do aircraft (another day I will relate the story of the helicopter). I find their power exciting. Train journeys are still a novelty for me. I am sure if I had to commute to London everyday, the sense of adventure might wear thin.
Things to do on a train journey:
þ Ignore the tinny music which must be blasting the eardrums of the wearer of the ipod earphones.
þ Catch random snippets of people’s conversations, write them down and create a modern poem or use them in your novel.
þ Catch someone’s eye and smile… and then nonchalantly deal with the uncomfortable-ness of being in each other’s proximity for the remainder for the journey
þ Read your book and look up just as a passing train whooshes past right next to your face causing you to go “wahhh!!!” very loudly and drop your book. Again nonchalance is needed to deal with the strange looks from fellow passengers.
þ Sing along to the music playing in your ipod earphones. I haven’t tried this yet, because my singing needs some (!) ‘polishing’.
þ Make small-talk with an African man with braids and loads of big shiny bling, who has his feet on the seats and from whom everyone else has moved away. Smilingly accept his facebook name from him on the back of a torn receipt, and say yes-you-will-definitely-look-him-up-so-you-can-listen-to-his-rap-compositions-that-he-has-posted-on-Facebook.
þ Notice the incongruity of the trainers on the feet of an otherwise elegantly clad woman in the seat opposite you.
þ Ignore the snores of the stranger who has fallen asleep on your shoulder.
þ Become so engrossed in your play script that you are reading, that you almost miss your station.
þ Drink a takeaway Costas vanilla latte.
þ Enjoy the ride.