After waiting until the very last second to decide to go watch history being made, thereby ensuring that I missed every single decent airfare, I managed to find a decent train fare by leaving at the arse-crack of dawn Sunday morning and returning at a similarly ungodly hour Tuesday morning. It's about a 7 1/2 hour train ride, when you take the local (Motto: "We stop every 15 minutes!") from Washington, D.C. to Boston. For good measure, I made sure to drive to and from Philly (six hours, roundtrip) on Saturday, to see Number One Daughter be inducted into an honor society (making me a very proud mother!) returning Saturday night around midnight.
Saturday: drive to philly, eat very sad vegetarian dinner at catered induction ceremony, cry when daughter gets inducted, drive back to D.C., arrive home at midnight.
Sunday: Wake up at 4 a.m., drive to Union Station, for 5:20 a.m. train to Boston.
I was a wee bit tired. So I asked a friendly and helpful Amtrak employee where the "quiet" car was—that would be the car without the endless clang of cell phones and witless conversation that goes with them. He replied, "Did you pay for a quiet car? No? No quiet car on this train!"
Apparently it costs more money to NOT HAVE NOISE. Tell me, please, how is noise less expensive than not noise? If I had had my wits about me, I would have asked him that very question. Alas, I did not have my wits about me, and I was very soon to lose the few wits I had left. But! Amtrak employee said the very last car was sometimes quiet-er.
Just let me sleep. Please.
There was a woman with a kid sitting in the first, spacious row and I asked her if she was planning on using a cell phone because I needed to sleep. She said, "How should I know? I'm not making you any promises." People! Ya can't live with 'em... etc. I trudge to back of car.
Sleep, just let me get back to sleep.
Sleep was elusive. But! I had cleverly stashed some Tylenol P.M. for the journey.
The stuff works like a charm. Usually. I took two. Without water. Something I don't really recommend, since I now had two pills stuck in my throat. I thought I would die or throw up. But! Friendly helpful Amtrak employee was coming my way!! Yay! I asked, "Does this car have a water fountain?" He said, "Yes, there's a water fountain in every single car. But, you don't want to drink the water on this train. It's poison. It will kill you." (I am so not making this up.)
So, I waited until he left the car and then went forward to the water fountain and drank the poisonous water. Amtrak employee saw me from the next car and came back to warn me again.
It's against this backdrop that the first "incident" occurred. I wobbled my way back to my seat and—you know how above the seats is a rack for your luggage? Yeah? Well, in my semi-alive state I smacked the side of my head into that mother like I was tackling it. I think little musical notes circled around my head like they do when Bugs Bunny bumps into something.
1. I have pills stuck in my throat.
2. I have swilled poisonous water.
3. I have hit my head like a linebacker going in for the kill.
I curl my 5'9" body on the two seats where it does not fit, plug in the Nano, and listen to Yoga Nidra, my guaranteed sleep potion.
Which, after listening to it several thousand times, I concede is not working.
At some point I stumbled forward to use the facilities.
And, on the way back, I had to move aside to let the conductor through. As I stepped into a spare seat, what did I forget?
Luggage rack. Located approximately 5'7" from the floor.
This time, I smacked my head against that thing so hard my teeth shook. In the exact same spot as the first time.
I spent the rest of the journey wondering what a concussion feels like. In fact, here I sit, four days later, and I'm still convinced I have loosened a blood clot, and will probably have a stroke in bed tonight.
It's been nice knowing you!
Coming up ... part two, wherein your heroine gets cold!
(Davie the Clown, one of my gracious Boston hosts.)