I write this while taking a train from Chicago back to Los Angeles. It’s cool. I’m alright. I could be convinced to do this again… particularly if I could get another $175 ticket. It’s the not the hell I was expecting. It takes a bit of adjusting and a bit of patience but it’s all good. Right now, however, I am in the observation car and there is a loud, ghetto Black woman speaking in her stadium voice on her cell phone while eating spaghetti out of a Styrofoam container. She looks like she’s in her 50’s, long copper colored weave, tied into a loose ponytail on the back of her head and large gold door knocker earrings. So far what I learned about her is that she did not appreciate having to sit next to a fat Mexican with dirty chinos on this train, her church is located on a hill, Jean don’t need no help, she cool, she good right now, no thanks to Eric, that motherfucker… she got something for that nigga.
When I first boarded the train, we sat in the depot for a good two hours and I was so lucky as to be sitting directly next to one of the most bitter old men I have ever met in my life who started his trip in New York. While I was trying to find my seat I turned around and saw him and happily declared, “Oh! I guess I’m with you!” He looked up for nanosecond, didn’t make one single, solitary sound, then returned to his crossword puzzle. When I sat down I accidentally sat on his raggedy old suit coat which pissed him the fuck off and I’m sure if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m big and black, he would have cursed me out… verbally. Instead, he wisely opted to curse me out in his head and through his eyes. This is when I noticed that he didn’t really pack luggage, what he opted to do instead was hoard all of his shit into piles of grocery bags creating a cave of shit that crumbled into my area. There was literally a pile of pants where my feet should be. Then the cursing started. Every time the conductor apologized for another delay he piped out, “Fuck you motherfuckers!” like he had Tourette’s.
“C’mon get this fucker going motherfuckers!” he yelled then finally asked, “What’s your name?”
I happily responded, “Breeze!” determined to get some lemonade out these… shit covered limes.
“Belize?” He said.
“Yeah, that’s close enough.”
“C’mon motherfuckers! Get this thing going!”
Other people in that area had to have heard him. At the time the car was relatively empty but even still, they had to have heard him.
Once the train finally took off, he decided to get up and go to the diner car… leaving behind the prominent smell of sour ramen noodles, garlic and despair. While he was gone, the person in the café car made an announcement over the speakers that anyone caught with their own liquor will be removed from the train during the next stop. You know it was that old guy! You know he pulled out a flask! I’m thinking that was the passive aggressive verbal warning to him and the final warning for anyone risking bringing out their own flasks (…and no… I did not bring mine out of fear of vomiting up homemade martini on a 42 hour train trip).
Sour Patch came back hussing and fussing, “You know Belize,” he told me, “there are some assholes on this train! Motherfuckers!”
He climbed over me, got into this weird fetal position where he was able to crawl into the cave he made for himself and do his crossword at the same time. I moved to the empty seat directly in front of me and a little later one of the train operators told me that on the next stop everyone is going to have to go to their assigned seats because it’s going to be a full train. We get to said stop, he comes and tells me to move back. A couple does indeed fill the seats right in front of me but another young black guy across from me is peacefully sleeping across BOTH seats.
We got to a point nearly outside of Illinois where they were having problems with a switch and had to wait for another train to pass before we can move. “Cocksuckers! Get this motherfucker going!” I look over at the young cat sleeping… and I am so incredibly jealous. I look him with puppy dog eyes with a look of desperation that pleads… “save me”.
The train moves again and someone from the dining car says that they will be serving dinner in 30 minutes, “Fuck you! Give us free fucking meals for making us wait!” he yells. It is here that I am overcome with an intense feeling of anger. It took this long for my shining optimism to be flushed out and I’m pissed at him for putting in the effort to flush it and I’m even more pissed at myself that I was giving him that power. All I wanted to do was sit in my seat and write. The coach seats are rather spacious and had more than enough room for me to sit comfortable, pull down the dinner tray, place my laptop on it and go for it. There was even an outlet at each seat. Mine, however, was next to Sour Patches and all of his shit. In my mind I imaged that at one point I was going to have to plug in my laptop and he was going to say something about the cords getting in his way and I immediately imagined me screaming at him in the loudest most violent nigger-coon-gangsta voice I could conjure up, hopefully inciting the attention of some train attendant,
“LOOK HERE YOU OLD COOT! YOU HAVE GOT ALL YOUR SHIT PILED UP OVER HERE! IT’S EVEN IN MY AREA! YOU HAVE DONE NOTHING BUT BITCH AND MOAN AND COMPLAIN THIS ENTIRE TRIP AND I HAVEN’T SAID A WORD! NOW I’M GOING TO PLUG MY LAPTOP INTO THAT OUTLET AND YOU’RE GOING TO SIT THERE AND DEAL WITH IT OR SO HELP ME GOD I’M GOING TO GRAB YOU BY YOUR MOTHERFUCKIN COLLAR AND THROUGH YOU OUT THE GODDAMN EMERGENCY WINDOW!”
I imagined him crying. I really did. Or being so intimidated that he would have got an attendant who would totally believe that the big black ape threatened him with bloody murder and kick me off at the next stop. I grabbed a book and just started walking, musing that there HAS to be some sort of lounge area or something for people with coach tickets to go to get away from their seat mates who just happen to be elderly New Yorkers with Tourette’s.
That’s when I came upon this little slice of heaven… the observation car! A train car filled with large windows that curve up and almost meet the center of the roof, plenty of wide open seats that face these windows and several large booths in the back. I got my book, sat down, exhaled and just… thanked God. I stayed here for a long period of time before the freezing air circling my neck was just too distracting to ignore. I went to my luggage and found my sweatshirt. I then grabbed my laptop and my down coat.
“You getting off Belize?” Sour Patches asked, his entire bony body spread across both seats.
“No” I responded coldly before heading back to my beloved observation deck… and have been ever since.
It’s been pretty smooth sailing. I actually slept here last night and plan on sleeping here again tonight actually. I haven’t got as much writing or reading done but that’s cool… I haven’t really been in the mood to write or read. Well, I take that back, last night when I first got here I pretty much read half of “Aristotle’s Poetics for Screenwriters” in one sitting. I popped open my laptop and even began taking notes. Somewhere around 4:00 a.m. I just conked out and I haven’t been in too much of mood to do anything except chill out and watch the scenery go by. Watched a ton of music videos. I have spent an inordinate amount of time deleting the porn from my video playlist out of extreme fear that some hardcore man on man butt-fucking scene is going to accidentally pop up while some kid walks by.
By the way… the Amish were on this train today! That was so cool! I always thought they were an urban myth! Nope… the Amish actually exist! Can you imagine if one of them walked passed with their kid and saw a video of 6’ tall Black guy sticking his arm up the butt of some 7’ tall Black guy… whose sitting on the face of some twink White boy with… nipple piercings? I think I would be cause for the Amish to exist for another generation. I would be the urban legend for them, “Yes brothers and sisters! Hedonism does exist! This is why you must stay Amish! The world outside of these borders are filled with chubby middle aged Black men who watch these sinful movies of, of… I CAN’T EXPLAIN IT TO YOU BROTHERS AND SISTERS! BUT BELIEVE ME! HOLD YOURSELF TIGHT HERE!”