09 February, 2012

An Ohio Valley Yankee in Virginia, Part 2: Overnight Train Station Updates

"Your trip was  long,illimitable, you came to this raindrop called your life, and it call it yours -- we have purposed that you vow to be awakened..." -- Kerouac

Not pictured: butt receptacle that looks like a free-standing dildo .
Good morning, Dear Friends:

My night in the Richmond Amtrak Station * passed peaceful and quiet, with no real problems. I was able to stretch out and get some sleep, though I was jolted awake by some commuter businessmen who turned the television up to catch their fill of last night's disasters on the early morning news.

I try not to watch or listen to any news when I first wake up. This is not out of apathy. It's out of survival. Early morning news is either:

  1. A verbatim rehash of the news from the night before; or
  2. A litany of disasters and death that occurred over night that no one can do anything about.

There's enough time in the day to hear about all the things beyond my control, and hardly enough to hear about the things I have control over. I choose, when I have control over it, not to expose myself to the news of the weird, the tragic, and the stupid until I choose.

That notwithstanding... I was actually able to get some more sleep until the snack shop opened and I paid $2 for a $1 cup of coffee.

As for overnight excitement, there was an instance where the cops were called. At first, I wasn't sure what they were here for. Two showed up and walked purposefully out onto the tracks, where a train -- that was already 30 minutes late -- was preparing to pull out of the station. It was the southbound train, final destination - Miami. When the announcer finally called the train, the waiting area cleared out -- everyone's heading south, it seems. Them. The birds. I was going to head south after visiting my daughter, but the fare would, at this point, cost me more than I want to spend.

For that reason, I'm thinking of visiting Washington D.C. and then New York. I have friends in both cities. Also, I haven't been to the capital since I was 13 or so. And that was on a church choir trip. (Yes. That's right. Church Choir. We all have a right to be a dumb ass when we're 13.)

But when I expected to hear the train roll on out, nothing happened. In a few minutes, a THIRD cop arrived and walked -- this time in a slight rush -- out to the tracks. What sort of problem, I thought, could they have that it required three cops?

Well, Richmond is a small to medium sized city; could've been a drunk, or drugs. Maybe a fight.

But wait... this IS the south. And not the south like people sometimes mistake Kentucky for.Virginia is historically and geographically, The South.

And what problem required three white -- did I mention they were white? -- cops, all with similarly douche hair cuts with the slightly upturned bangs? (I guess Richmond has metrosexual metro cops. Who knew?) 

The problem that was holding up the train?

A scrawny, pissed off black woman.


The cops were easily a foot and a half taller than her. And no, they didn't man handle her or treat her badly. They seemed amused by the entire thing. Apparently this grandmother -- seriously, I think she was --  had rubbed the conductor the wrong way... the conductor being taller, broader, and substantially heavier than any one of the cops. And I remembered at one point, the conductor waddling in, asking about someone's seating arrangements. 

The woman wanted to simply board a different train; but since the conductor booted her, she was welcome on none of them. The cops had to talk her down a little, because she was talking loud and saying she might (gasp!) call to complain. They gave her the train station version of "You don't have to go home, but you can't stay here." Eventually, they found her a cab that would take her to the Greyhound Station for $15. This amount seemed like a favor on the part of the cabbie.

After that, I was able to sleep.

Next stop: Norfolk.

*While it is more comfortable to travel by train, amenities cost more. Not only did I have to spend $4.95 to have access to wireless in order to communicate with you all, but if I wanted wireless on the train, I'd have to pay for that. This doesn't put me off train travel. But it does make me appreciate the customer care Greyhound Bus Lines takes in offering free wifi.

[If you like what you read here, you can help by:
  1. Passing the link around.
  2. Graciously donating to the cause using the button on the right hand side of the screen;
  3. Contact Catherine Sellers at Greyhound, 415-331-6049. Tell them you are asking about a sponsorship when the operator picks up. Show them what happens when I don't write about them. Exert pressure. Remember: you are The People.

Thanks for reading.]