Monday, November 15, 2010

Trains!


No security check! (They don’t even pretend to look in your bags. You just walk on! No stress! So easy!)

You can bring your own food! Your own drink! Your own bottle of wine!

Big seats with foot rests!

No seat belts!

Walk freely!

Cell phones permitted!

Views! Views! Views!*














Dining car! Snack car! Beer! Wine! Mixed drinks!

Faster than a car! 7.5 hours to Chicago!

Affordable!


Lounge car!




















Power outlets for every seat!

Conductors!

Better for the environment than cars OR planes! By A LOT!

*I didn't actually see a buffalo hunt** from the train, but I bet someone did once see a buffalo hunt from a train. 

**I DID see this excellent buffalo hunt diorama at the chicago field museum, which the train made possible.

Friday, April 30, 2010

(working on) sometimes leaving

making lists.
ignoring ists.
loosing lists.

piling piles for over there.
talking about packing.

tripping over piles here.
thinking about packing.

writing instead.

reading instead.
reading about travel
(not instead).

leaning way back.
working hard
to keep the momentum
of this thing
from pushing me flat
on my smiling face.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

context

i will not watch the twilight zone again.

the matrix is out too.

55 plus hours of international travel/ails later, and i’ve had a lifetime worth of alternate realities.

on a good day international travel can be trying.

lines to be waited in.
pages to be stamped.

add a ten-hour initial flight delay.
followed by a missed international connection.
and you are time-traveling. on mars.
there are three of you. the sky is green.

i. it all begins innocently enough.
(it always does).
you arrive.
pass through security.
stand in your first line.
(doesn’t look so bad).
note the people standing around you in line.

ii. then reality begins to shift.

you notice an eerie minor chord playing over the intercom.
the line is disbanded.
rumors fly.
flight delayed?
cancelled??

iii. an excruciatingly long series of events then follow.

lines. wait.
more lines. wait.
take a number.
wait. wait. wait.

these events all feel random at first.
you feel this is all happening just to you.
but you slowly start to notice the same cast of characters reappearing in each new terrible reality.
you begin to suspect the conspiracy may be much bigger than you initially guessed.
that’s the same guy i was standing next to nairobi.
what is he doing eating dinner at the same place as me in amsterdam?

right.

iv. repeat.
repeat
repeat

v. contextualize.

you are returning from a country where people deal with injustices
ten-times
no - one-hundred times
no - one-thousand times the magnitude of your inconvenience
each and every day.

where each day is simply one long series of injustices.
and each week is just a series of these days.
each month a series of these weeks.

the electricity is out. again.
the water is filthy. always.
your mother has died.

so.
you admit.
this international flying business of yours is a drop in the bucket.
and maybe even a good drop in the bucket.

a personal reminder:
of your lack of control.
that things almost always go your way.
of how damned lucky you are.

vi. you land.
call your mother.
return to your house.
where the water is clean.
where the electricity runs.

breathe a sigh of relief.





Saturday, November 14, 2009

coming and going

european nascar fanatics.

exist.


i know.


i sat in front of at least 10 of them on my flight from houston to amsterdam.

drinking as many miller lites as the flight attendants would give them

wearing leather cow boy hats

and t-shirts with girls on harleys

and ball caps with flames

and oakleys

talking too loudly in german(?)

reliving every lap
every beer
every girl

trying to hold onto the last bits of their real-live gas-drenched american experience.

willing the plane to just turn around and take them back to texas.

willing the plane to do anything but drop them back in western europe. the land of organic everything. and tiny cars.

but land we must. and land we did.

i got a yogurt and espresso.
watched the rain fall on amsterdam.
waited for my connecting flight.

Sunday, November 2, 2008