I cannot even begin to count the benefits of taking the train to work. It’s relaxing, environmentally friendly, easy on my car, and has both Wi-Fi and a little snack bar where I can purchase miniature cereal boxes.
Okay, I can count the benefits. There are five. Five benefits. Ah ah ah… (thunder)
Anyway, public transportation also comes with risks. In my case, people like to talk to me (I mean really like to talk to me/at me). When I worked as a background actor, they were mostly other extras who felt I should know all about their kids and their PTA group and their dogs and their dreams deferred, all in one breath.
On set, I was trapped in a holding area; on Amtrak, I’m trapped in the belly of a 60+ ton steel earthworm.
Sometimes, though, this knack comes with benefits (Six. Six benefits. Ah ah ah…). For example, while riding home from Smile TV one evening, an old ranch hand from Paso Robles turned and unleashed the tale of how he had just given up his ranch to marry a woman in San Diego. I thought that was a bold move and wished him good fortune. Then he asked what I do.
This ranch hand from Paso Robles knew all about Smile TV. He loved it. How the heck does that happen? Well, we’re on PBS, but that’s not the point. He then proceeded to encourage me to keep doing what I was doing and even gave me a motivational book to read. That was nice. I needed that, random though it was. Or was it?
Some call this sort of thing “serendipity,” others “destiny,” still others “creepy.” I haven’t read the book yet, but it reminded me of other experiences in public transportation, such as the homeless woman on an LA bus, who claimed she didn’t know either her origin or destination. Every so often, she would lapse into an incoherent chant that she said was given to her by the angels. Then she pointed out the “light” in my eyes and asked when I would heal the world. I told her I’d get right on it and got off the bus.
I need reminders like these from time to time. It’s easy to stray from our chosen paths in life, yet the world seems full of little reminders of how to get back on track. Train track.