John Mc

This is a collection of my thoughts. Some of the thoughts that I once had, I no longer do. Some thoughts I have now I have never had. Yet none shal be discounted. This blog is soley for the enjoyment of the author and the readers. On occasion the views expressed are overly exagerated in order to prove a point. Also there may be a dirty word or thought in some of the posts. Grow up and take this for what it's worth - a blog that barely anyone will ever see.


3 = 6

So, I have recently enjoyed a ride on Amtrak. Wait, let me rephrase that. So, I have recently taken a ride on Amtrak. That’s more accurate. I went from Effingham to Chicago on Amtrak. What is normally a 3 hour trip became a 6 hour. Why? Because the train sucks.
It also doesn’t help that the fellow passengers are, for the most part, dumb asses who never shut up. First, about 10-20% of the train’s passengers are wearing sweats and have all of their worldly possessions in a manila envelope. These are the prisoners from Centrailia. Apparently when you get out, they give you an envelope and a one way ticket out of central Illinois. Which means that they are spending their first few hours of freedom with you. What a privilege, huh? Well, the train also serves beer and wine. You are also sharing their first drink in 5 to 10 and it is usually not a socially acceptable scene.
Then you have the regular passengers. Some of these people are college students. Some are families on vacations. But, most of them are idiots. I heard yesterday someone say one of the dumbest things I’ve heard in a long while. I wrote it down so that I made sure I would get this right for you. Someone a few rows ahead of me said “I kinda like Amtrak. It’s like a lower version of the plane.”

Go ahead and stew on that one.

As soon as I heard that I could feel myself getting dumber. I had never felt that before yesterday. And I’m sure that most of you are feeling the same damn thing.
So, when I sit down, I am by myself. No nut job next to me. Thank God. But, knowing my luck, that won’t last long. Of course it didn’t. Billy Bubba Joe asked if he could sit next to me. What the heck do I care? It would be difficult for this train ride to get any worse. For some reason the air conditioning in our car wasn’t working well. So, EVERY person that walked through our car had to comment on the climate differences in between the cars. EVERY FREAKIN’ PERSON! “Wow, it’s much warmer in here.” Guess what, we get it. We have been to the other cars, we have felt the comfort of their air conditioning and wished we were there. However, we are not. We are here sweating our asses off. Thanks for rubbing it in. Go get your $12 glass of merlot (actual value $2.87) and leave us alone!
So Billy Bubba Joe leans over and asks “What you reading there? A book on chess?”
“Nope,” I said without taking my eyes off of my book. “Biodiesel. But close!”
“Huh. I’ve heard about that. What’s it say?”This book is 300 pages long and is not interesting to the average person. I’m not about to give Mr. Toothless the low down. “It’s about how to take our dependence off of foreign oil and grow it here.”
“Oh.” He then paused for a bit. He was probably wondering if he should say what he blurted out next. I’m assuming that his mouth made the decision before his brain could make up it’s mind. “I hope they don’t weigh my luggage.”
I hadn’t looked up from my book until this point, but he got me. For the first time, I was curious what some of the passengers on the train had to say AND encouraged a conversation. “Why?” As soon as I asked the question, I decided that I might have just made a big mistake. One day I could be testifying against him saying that I had “prior knowledge.” But, the cat was out of the bag.
“Because each one is about 130 pounds.”
Despite my fears from earlier, my brain’s curiosity pushed me further. With all the evidence mounting up against me asking a follow up question I asked “Why are they so heavy?”
“They are filled with my tools. My drills, hammers, hack saw. Stuff like that. I’m goin’ to my in-laws house to fix some things.” I thought to myself – they don’t have hammers in Homewood? Why the hell is he bringing all of this crap?! But, more importantly, WHY was he let on the train in the first place?!
But, I had my answers and went back to my book. He didn’t talk to me for a long while. He just put his hands on his knees, which were bent at a 90-degree angles and stared straight ahead. Very little blinking too. So, I start thinking “GREAT! I just angered someone who is off in the head AND within reach of a hacksaw. Wise move.”
So, this guy is a smoker, and the stop in Champaign is an extra 5 minutes so people can stretch their legs or smoke. As soon as Champaign came up, he jumped out of his chair and said, “I will be right back. Save my seat.” Which I agreed to immediately because I assumed that this guy has killed before, and will probably kill again. And I don’t think that Amtrak wants my blood on their beautifully upholstered seats.
So, during his absence, a beautiful blonde in her early to mid 20’s walks by, stops, turns around and points at the empty seat next to me and asks “Is that seat taken?” Did a ring check and her hand was clean and all other signs pointed to single. So, I was about to say “Nope” despite my love for my life. Heck, at least the last few minutes would have been enjoyable. She was so hot that it might have been worth it anyway. But, of course fate intervened again. “It’s taken” I told her as I watched the Beverly Hillbillies extra coming down the aisle.
The thing that sucked the most was she looked disappointed. She WANTED to sit next to me. Perhaps I had met my future wife, but had to give it up for fear of dying.
So, nothing else was said by the weirdo next to me. He remained in his rigid position all the way up to his stop. He then turned to me, held out his hand and said “Well, good meetin’ you” and then pulled his two extremely heavy suitcases down from the rack.
Well, at least I’m done dealing with weirdness on the train for that day, right? Of course not. Right as I was deciding to figure out what happened to my little blonde friend, Napoleon Dynamite sits next to me. Not the real Napoleon or the guy that played him, but the guy that Napoleon was probably based off of. I should have looked harder for Kip in hind-sight. But, this guy came complete with the fuzzy hair and glasses. Was expecting the boots, but instead sandals. Did have a fannie pack, though. Not sure if Napoleon had one or not, but I think I remember him putting Chap Stick in it. The icing on the cake was he had some foul gas.
Thanks Amtrak! Oh, and it is also a wise idea to have the train arrive at union Station at 9:30ish. The train right before that one is the 8:30. The next train is at 10:30. So, if ANYONE is getting a connecting train, Amtrak has decided that it will schedule it’s arrival at one of the most inconvenient times. I wonder if there is ANY other time during the day where Metra’s schedule has a 2 hour gap. (Metra is Chicago’s commuter train company) The only thing that Amtrak should do to make this even MORE inconvenient is to have their train show up at 8:31. Damn. I just gave them another idea.
So, surely my bad experiences with trains is now over. Of course not. After waiting an hour in Union Station on a Saturday night, I get on a train filled with people who have attended the Cubs versus Sox. They saw the game at about noon. It was so long ago that this game took place, I finished watching it in Effingham. So, what do most baseball fans do after a big win or a big loss? I’m guessing it isn’t taking in The Field Museum.
These slobs were bombed out of their gourd. So, they fit in with every other responsible commuter/drinker who filled the halls of Union Station. They had reason to battle because both team had played that day and the beer that they had enjoyed for the past 6 hours was really fueling their fights. What was added to the mix was a St. Louis Cardinals fan who wouldn’t shut up about how great Pujols was which angered all of the rest of them.
I was really hoping that a fist fight would break out. At least that would be interesting. Instead, they just got louder and more annoying.But, I’m back home. I’m enjoying myself so far. And, as you have probably guessed, I’m looking forward to doing it all over again to get back down to Effingham.


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